Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska is currently visiting the United States at the invitation of First Lady Jill Biden. For her trip, she is focused on ensuring U.S. support for Ukraine amidst the ongoing Russian invasion.
Zelenska is using her jewelry to send a message, choosing pieces by Ukrainian fine jewelry brand Guzema. On the first day of her visit, the First Lady wore a brooch and earrings from a Guzema collaboration collection with Gunia Project. The collection, called “Nezalezhna” which means “Independent” in Ukrainian, feature a pattern inspired by rushnyky—traditional handmade towels embroidered with florals.
She also wore earrings from Guzema’s “I Need Space” collection, a pair she previously wore for her husband Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration day in 2019. The combination of pieces that mean “independent” and “need space” sends a message to Russia.
“Mrs Zelenska says she wears our jewelry with pride [for] the creations of Ukrainian artists and designers,” Valeria Guzema, the brand’s founder and designer, told Town & Country. “On those rare occasions when she visits our showroom, she always chooses the jewelry herself.”
“Guzema pieces are minimalistic and concise,” she added. “Olena is a really modest woman; she says that these jewels allow her to be herself, feel special, and not draw too much attention to her accessories.”
To meet with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, Zelenska chose earrings from the Nezalezhna collection. “We are so proud to be part of her great mission,” the jewelry brand shared on Instagram. “Glory to Ukraine!”
This isn’t Zelenska’s first time turning to Guzema for high-profile events. When she met with Jill Biden during a surprise visit in Ukraine in May, she wore the brand’s “Freedom” heart pendant on blue and yellow silk strings wrapped around her wrist.
The Freedom collection is the newest to be released by the Ukrainian brand. As explained on the website, “Since the beginning of the full-scale war that Russia has unleashed on our native land, every day Ukrainians give their soul and body for the freedom. And freedom has two colors – yellow and blue. That’s why in the Freedom collection we combined gold with textile elements and gemstones in such colors. Let these colors always remind you what freedom is.” The profits from the sales of this collection goes to the Guzema Foundation, to help Ukrainian refugees and the Ukrainian army.
Zelenska wasn’t the only first lady to use her fashion to send a message during her visit. Dr. Biden, too, used her outfit to nod to Ukraine. To meet Zelenska at the White House, she opted for a black Oscar de la Renta dress patterned with sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine that have become a symbol of solidarity with the nation.
Biden last wore the dress during a visit to Bucharest, Romania to meet with Ukrainian refugees.
On her third day in the States, Zelenska addressed members of Congress, saying, “We want every father and every mother to be able to tell their child go to sleep peacefully, there will be no more airstrikes, no more missile strikes. Is this too much to wish for?”