The Danish multi-hyphenate took on an exciting project as she acted as the guest curator for the ‘Wearloom: Ukrainian Garments’ exhibition that celebrates traditional Ukrainian dress
Danish supermodel, photographer and former Vogue Scandinavia cover star Helena Christensen has expanded her list of many talents, curating the latest exhibition for The Ukrainian Museum in New York City. Titled ‘Wearloom: Ukrainian Garments’, the show provides a fresh perspective on traditional Ukrainian embroidery and costumes, exploring the aesthetics of historical attire and accessories through a contemporary female lens.
Highlighting the exquisite craftsmanship of the country’s many regions, such as Poltava, Hutsul, Bukovyna, Polissia, Volyn, and Lviv, the exhibition features a variety of garments, from embroidered shirts, woven sashes, skirts, sleeveless jackets, scarves, and more. Upon browsing the show, visitors will, according to Peter Doroshenko, director of The Ukrainian Museum, sense how clothing, including traditional festive clothing, empowers women. “It becomes obvious that women have, and have traditionally had, a very special connection to and interaction with clothing,” he says. “And that dressing for a special occasion can be an almost ritualistic experience.”
Christensen, who currently lives in New York, has always been very fond of historical garments and vintage fashion (her mum has been running a vintage shop in Copenhagen for years), making her the ideal person to curate this exhibition. Doroshenko reached out to her via a mutual Ukrainian friend, who suggested Christensen for the role. “I have been involved in fashion almost my entire life and have always been fascinated by the stories told by garments, especially traditional garments,” the supermodel says. “This exhibition gave me a unique opportunity to explore traditional Ukrainian garments, and I invite visitors to join me on this fascinating journey.” The multi-hyphenate also says she has been infatuated with embroidery from a young age – a passion perhaps stemming from her Peruvian heritage from her mum’s side of the family.
Curating the show was a significant experience for Christensen, not only due to her personal penchant for historical fashion but also because of the current prevailing situation in Ukraine. As a nine-year ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Christensen travelled to Ukraine in 2017, meeting the locals and hearing their stories. A keen philanthropist, Christensen is always looking for ways to make the world a better place, be it through her work for the UN, raising funds for breast cancer, or fighting climate change through partnering up with the non-profit organisation Oxfam.