It has been described as a “golden crown, a rococo flourish that sets her far apart from the jowly men she has challenged.” And in fact this crown—the braid that adorns Yulia Tymoshenko, who played a key role in the overthrow of the post-Soviet government in Kiev—was a style calculated to appeal to Ukrainians during the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005.
The braid was a key factor in Tymoshenko’s move from energy oligarch to political powerhouse. Needing to distance herself from accusations of elitist privilege, her image consultant, Oleh Pokalchuk, “created an image of a modest village teacher.” As Pokalchuk explained to the BBC, he designed “a retro image evoking memories of childhood and schooldays… simple clothes, simple haircut, a Ukrainian archetype.”
“It was the image of the poetess Lesya Ukrainka,” Pokalchuk said, “who had a similar haircut and who is a positive image for all Ukrainians.”
Tymoshenko served as prime minister of the Ukraine in 2005 and again from 2007 to 2010. Since 2011, she has been serving a controversial prison sentence, one widely considered to be politically motivated by her arch-rival, current President Viktor Yanukovich. At this writing, in fact, the establishment of free trade between the Ukraine and the EU is contingent her release from prison for treatment of chronic back problems. The EU awaits Yanukovich’s decision and has given him a November 19 deadline.
Meanwhile, fashion waits for no one…braids were seen everywhere in the recent collections, most Yulia-like (if decidedly more just-out-of bed) at Nicole Miller.