Historical Costume Reconstruction

* blog articles are dedicated to people and projects that actualize the legacy of Princes Ostrozkyi in the 21st Century

Kyiv resident Iryna Pohorzhelska is one of the few artist in Ukraine who is engaged in the reconstruction of clothes exactly of the princes Ostrozkyi’s period of time.

Back in 2016, she presented her exhibition of Ukrainian costumes reconstructions of the 16th-18th centuries, the name of which is "At the court of the princes Ostrozkyi". Thanks to this exhibition, it was possible to show how the family looked like in the 17th century. Children's costumes were similar to adult costumes, and the whole culture of clothing was combined using different traditions of color and fabric. Children's costumes repeated the adults ones when a child was over 5 years old, and girls or boys were dressed alike till the age of five. It was a kind of womenswear. Small children worn on the heads special hats made of cloth rollers so that in case of falling, he or she would not hit. After five years old, the baby girl could already be distinguished from the boy by her clothes. They were wearing things of mostly bright colors, wives usually made own shirts for children and husbands. It is often mentioned that women were engaged in needlework in noble families. In particular, there is much information about embroidered silk scarves that were made by wives for their husbands.

History shows that needlework was passed from generation to generation, and till this day Ukraine is one of the largest needlework centres.

In order to recreate the clothes worn on the territory of Ukraine several hundred years ago, the artist had to devote a lot of time to the study of historical sources. Mostly these were various ancient books, inventory, portrait painting, archaeological research, museum funds. The main source was a detailed description of things, which was dating from 1616, that belonged to the princes Ostrozkyi and was in Dubno Castle. Iryna Pohorzhelska notes that the book contains descriptions of different interesting and strange things that some people still cannot understand what cloth it was and how it looked like.

By formation, Iryna Pohorzhelska is an auditor, but she has quit her job to devote herself to the reproduction of old clothes.