Anna October was leafing through her rails of subtly detailed lingerie-like dresses, and happily introducing her new tailoring in a showroom in Paris. “This collection is very evening-ish, with a purpose,” she said. “I think this is the spirit: We fight, we live today, we fight again.”
Every stitch of October’s work is a part of the unbreakable resistance of Ukrainian youth against Vladimir Putin and his war on their country. While listening to her speaking about how, where, and why her fall collection was made, the more that dawned.
The last time October was able to be in Ukraine was on New Year’s Eve. “I was at a rave in Kyiv. Clubs are working during the day,” she related. “It was a beautiful crowd of young people dancing and celebrating life—even while outside it’s air raid alerts and people fighting. At midnight, everyone started to sing the national anthem, and it was so strong. I felt so lucky to be there, lucky to feel it.” Entrepreneurial kids in the city have been setting up clubs and places to eat despite everything, she added. “To donate to the war effort.”
Since the Russian invasion a year ago, October has been living between Paris and Ukraine. She travels by train to be with her team in Kyiv who continue to work their incredibly finessed sewing skills under daily Russian bombardment. Every bra-topped dress, minutely-detailed for exuberant enjoyment, has been made that way.
Another thing October determined to do while she was in Kyiv was to forge a relationship with the top tailoring company in the capital. “It’s this amazing three-story atelier that makes suits for Zelensky. And all of the strong men in Ukraine.”
Volodymr Zelensky hasn’t had much use for suits recently—the world recognizes how he represents Ukraine’s war-footing situation with his combat-casual fatigues at every appearance. By contrast, everything October does might seem female-centrally frivolous. Not so. With every resilient fiber—be it her tailored Kyiv-made suits and coats implanted with sexy hook-and-eye corsetry or her live-for-the-moment party dresses—she’s standing up for Ukraine every bit as strongly as her compatriots. “We will win this war” she said. “We don’t know when it will finish. But that we will win, we have no doubts.”