Lekazia Turner, embroiderer from Jamaica, 2022

Adele Boriak & Mariia Zalizniak (ukraine)at Council of Europe

FRANCE / 2023
SECTION OF DRESS: Family of Stars

A poignant and meaningful addition to the Red Dress on behalf of all the women at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg

Kirstie writes:

The Red Dress was invited to be on display as part of the 2023 PACE Session on ‘Equality & Non-Discrimination’ at the Council of Europe. Part of the opening of the session involved an event dedicated to the Red Dress Project, where speeches were given by myself, Secretary General Marija Pejčinović, Tiny Kox, President of the Assembly and Béatrice Fresko-Rolfo, 1st Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

Part of the event was also to announce that a new motif would be added to the Red Dress during the 5 day exhibition on behalf of all the women in the Assembly by 2 refugees from Ukraine. 4 year old Adele Boriak has designed the image of a ‘Family of Stars’ representing the 12 stars from the European flag, which were then stitched onto the dress by master embroiderer Mariia Zalizniak.

“This beautiful object highlights the common ground between individuals, bringing together different identities and uniting people,” said PACE President

Tiny Kox. “We are honoured to contribute to it.”

“We can read this dress as if it were a book, telling the personal stories of each embroiderer,” said Beatrice Fresko of the Women PACE group. The stars to be sewn into the dress, of different sizes, represented "all the diversity of our countries and their peoples", she added.

For more info on the Council of Europe: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/

Adele Boriak’s story:

A 3-year-old Adele had a happy and prosperous life with her parents in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Things changed on 24 February 2022 after the full-scale Russian war against Ukraine.

The first day Adele spent in a bomb shelter with her mom, who on the following day decided not to risk Adele's life and left Kyiv as the Russian army was advancing towards the city.

Adele had to run away, hiding from the Russian army and listening to the sounds of Russian missiles and military planes flying above.

Holding her teddy bear, the only thing she had left of her home, Adele and her mom headed toward the border with Poland and spent many hours there with thousands of other Ukrainian girls and boys fleeing the war…

A few days later, Adele came to France, where she was warmly welcomed and offered safety and protection.

Today a 4-year-old brave Adele lives in Strasbourg and goes to school like other Ukrainian refugees in Europe. She plays the piano and does ballet. Her life goes on.

Adele misses Ukraine very much, but she knows that light will soon win over darkness, and she will see her country shine in the rays of victory.

Mariia Zalizniak’s story:

My name is Mariia. I am Ukrainian. I was born in the Lviv region and have lived for many years in Kyiv.

The project Red Dress, initiated by the British woman Kirstie shows that it can unite women from the whole world who still live in their countries or are refugees or displaced persons.

This project shows it has no boundaries and that embroidery has no limits. All women were united by one goal - love for their people, homeland, traditions, and culture.

I contributed to this project as a Ukrainian refugee. I embroidered 12 stars - a symbol of the European Union which unite continents, countries, and people who want to live together in peace without encroaching on anyone's borders, language, traditions and culture.

I am very fond of tender Kirstie, who united us all.

Her project, this dress, is energetically very powerful. It embodies both love and longing for a homeland.

I thank Kirstie very much for this opportunity.

Contact: Please connect with Kirstie at reddressembroidery@gmail.com to put you in touch directly.


A huge thank you to all who have given their time, energy, enthusiasm, advice, experience and financial support to the Red Dress project over the years.

In addition to the institutions below, funding has been gratefully received from a number of private donations and 441 individuals around the world via 2 Crowdfunding campaigns in 2020 and 2022.

Nothing expresses more eloquently the feelings I suspect we share about the importance of embroidery in our lives, and the support we derive from the friendships made through stitch, than Kirstie Macleod’s Red Dress.
Caroline Zoob, Editor of Stitchers Journal 2022
This beautiful object highlights the common ground between individuals, bringing together different identities and uniting people, we are honoured to contribute to it.
Tiny Kox, PACE President at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg 2023
The Red Dress has become an icon of the international textile world.
Suzanne Smith, Textile Society 2022
The Red Dress in its final incarnation, a magnificent, regal robe, symbolises the empowerment of women through the creation of something beautiful, something which began with bowed heads and tired fingers but also with faith and joy, an openness and willingness to be a part of something which they could not see at that time but in which they could believe had meaning and worth connecting with other women around the world.
Lady Alison Myners, Chair of the Royal Academy Trust 2020
The Red Dress is in some respects similar to Mail Art, the populist artistic movement centred on sending small scale works through the postal service. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s – but on a larger scale – the journey of the work is part of its identity, process, and in fact function. A signifier of the temporal and physical nature of the process inherent in the creation of the piece. The surface of the dress layered with embroidery slowly transforming into a specific topographical map – completely particular to the work’s journey – and reflective of the burgeoning sculptural landscape of the object.
Paul Black, Artlyst 2015
It’s her (Kirstie’s) red silk Dupion bodice and voluminous skirt created for the Red Dress that fully demonstrates her commitment to embroidery and the immense respect for the international community of makers.
Denna Jones. Embroidery Magazine 2010
...the fact that they could embroider what they wanted and that it is appreciated has given them some strength, some confidence that I didn’t feel so strongly before they created the embroideries.
Nicole Esselan, Founder of Kisany Africa, supporting artisans in DR CONGO and RWANDA who created embroidery on the Red Dress in 2018
This is both an extraordinary work of collective art and profound and eloquent social commentary. It is also an example of how potent the Attire language is capable of becoming.
Attires Mind (Fashion Blogger) 2020
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