Miss Ukraine Unveils Amazing “Warrior of Light” Costume for Miss Universe

The war in Ukraine has ravaged the country for over 300 hundred days. During this time, Ukrainian artists have found both a comforting space and a platform for their unbreakable spirits in their creations, which range from paper art and photography to large installations and heartbreaking illustrations. Now, the strength of the Ukrainian people will make it to one of the world's biggest stages via an empowering outfit. Miss Ukraine, Viktoria Apanasenko, has unveiled the costume she will wear at the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, and it truly encapsulates her homeland's relentlessness.

The costume, titled Warrior of Light, was brought to life by Ukrainian designer Lesia Patoka of Patoka Studio. The project took her four months, which included extended periods with no electricity and having to work by candlelight and fighting the cold as the sirens wailed in the streets. “In this image, there is a reference to Archangel Michael, the guardian angel, who protects Ukraine with a sword,” writes Patoka. “Viktoria has a weapon in her hands, her body is in stylized armor, while at the same time she brings light through this total darkness, metaphorical and literal, that has come to our lands with the aggressor.”

Rather than putting the pain in the spotlight, the team behind the costume went for an outfit that represented valor and hope for a brighter future. “In this difficult time for our Motherland, we thought for a long time: what should be the image that symbolizes our country? What ‘message' should he carry to the whole world? What should its details tell about? We even held a vote among the public for how they want to metaphorically see our country: to recreate the tragedy of the Ukrainian present or to show Ukraine in a bright image that will demonstrate the Ukrainian spirit and strength of our people. The majority will vote for the second version,” said Anna Filimonova, president of the Miss Ukraine Universe contest.

These choices informed the final design, which is comprised of five elements that marry high fashion and Ukrainian traditions. Apanasenko dons a golden jumpsuit that emulates a full-body armor. On top of it, she wears a white dress with puffy sleeves and a skirt made out of 10 meters (32 feet) of fabric. The most striking part is the wings, which the designer describes as “scorched in battle, but unbroken.” Encased in blue and gold armor, they are decorated with gleaming motifs. Ukraininan corn makes an appearance both on the headpiece and the lower part of the wings.

“In this costume, I wanted to put the idea that war cannot break our strength and discolor our hearts,” Apanasenko wrote on Instagram. “Even on a fire, like a Phoenix, Ukraine will blossom and shine with bright rays of kindness and faith.”

Apanasenko will wear the costume at the Miss Universe gala, which will take place in New Orleans on January 14, 2023. While the winner of the National costume contest is still up in the air, she has achieved a victory in becoming a symbol of resilience.

Miss Ukraine, Viktoria Apanasenko, has unveiled the costume she will wear at the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, and it's a statement-making piece.

The costume, titled Warrior of Light, was brought to life by designer Lesia Patoka of Patoka Studio, and embodies the strength of the Ukrainian people.

Miss Ukraine Universe: Instagram
Lesia Patoka: Instagram
h/t: [Neatorama]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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