Svitlana Bevza Brought Ukraine to the 2023 Met Gala Carpet

The designer's Met Gala look honored her home country.

BEVZA founder Svitlana Bevza behind-the-scenes for the 2023 Met Gala.

Lena Shkoda

Attending the Met Gala is an honor for anyone, but attending in a look that honors your home country? Well, that raises the stakes, as fashion designer and Bevza founder Svitlana Bevza tells InStyle. Bevza attended the 2023 Met Gala with Ukrainian fashion model Pasha Harulia (they were invited by Balenciaga) and knew right away that she wanted both their looks to not only honor Karl Lagerfeld, but also bring awareness to the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

BEVZA founder Svitlana Bevza behind-the-scenes for the 2023 Met Gala.
Lena Shkoda.

"Both our looks contain nods to Karl Lagerfeld as one of the most significant people in fashion history, but also symbolism [to bring] awareness towards Ukraine," Bevza tells InStyle, adding that the two looks also "complement together totally. The story is about life and death, the value of life, the hope for a new peaceful life, and about bringing peace to our fertile fields."

Svitlana Bevza andPasha Harulia’s 2023 Met Gala sketches by Daria Yeremenko

Daria Yeremenko

To honor Lagerfeld, both Bevza and Harulia's Met Gala looks adhered to his signature black-and-white color palette. Both women wore floor-length BEVZA gowns with very special meaning sewn right into the bodices. "The cups are shaped like seashells. I strongly believe that every woman is precious," says Bevza. "It’s also a symbolic dress for Pasha. She's originally from Crimea, the region which was occupied by Russia since 2014, and the national emblem of Crimea has a seashell on it."

Pasha Harulia wears BEVZA custom jewelry to the 2023 Met Gala.

Getty Images

Both women also incorporated accessories that represented the struggles faced by their fellow Ukranians. In 2019, BEVZA began producing spikelet jewelry representing spikelets of wheat. "Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of wheat in the world, and last year when Russia bombed our fields and burned a lot of wheat, this caused a food crisis in many countries," explains Bevza of the spikelets found on Harulia's custom necklace. "Like our burned fields, this necklace is totally blackened," she says of the statement piece, which took about two and a half weeks to assemble.

Svitlana Bevza's 2023 Met Gala look.

Bevza is also proud of the fact that their looks, including accessories, "were done in Ukraine, a month ago, during this war," including her dramatic white cape and both ladies' egg-shaped bags. "I'm excited the most about the wings," she says, "because I know the amount of work that it took for our atelier to do. There are thousands of hand-cut silk feathers that were carefully assembled together and then put on the basis."

Svitlana Beva's 2023 Met Gala look

Lena Shokda

The message behind the cape is one of hope for Bevza. "It symbolizes hope for peace and hope for freedom that we are all praying for in Ukraine now," she says.

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