World fashion of the 1960s returns to Riga

  • 2011-08-17
  • By Sam Logger

RIGA - Have you ever been impressed with the fashion styles which are dictated by society? Moreover, have you been curious if these fashion styles actually portray society? This type of interaction has made mankind dependent on cultural, traditional and social issues, and, therefore, it determines the etiquette of what to wear. The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design offers a great opportunity to feel the vibe of the ’60s at the exhibition “From the mini to the maxi. The fashion of the 1960s.”

The whole fashion collection, put together by well-known fashion historian Alexander Vasilyev, includes more than 10,000 pieces which cover the period from the 18th to the 21st centuries, and which have already drawn the attention of such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Russia and even exotic Hong Kong and Chile. This time Vasilyev exhibits another part of the collection, which shows the fashion of the ’60s, including dresses, costumes, hats, purses and shoes, all of which are created to satisfy the needs of haute couture admirers of the time. Thus, all visitors are invited to enjoy works of high fashion houses like Chanel, Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Nina Ricci, Jean Lanvin, Pierre Cardin and many others. The tendencies are seen in the clothes which were worn by the movie stars Leslie Caron and Natalia Fateeva, as well as Russian divas Ludmila Lopato and Olga von Kreutz. Additionally, the exhibition welcomes an evaluation of fashion photos and popular music of the 1960s to completely dive into the feeling of that time.

Alexander Vasilyev, the owner and curator of the exhibition, is a significant person in the global fashion industry. Born in 1958 in Moscow, he has created decorations for ballets, operas, movies and theater during his lifetime. Vasilyev’s ambitions have taken him to various corners of the globe, including the Royal Opera of Versailles, National Theater in London and Asami Maki Ballet in Tokyo. Naturally, his journey and experience now lets him give lectures about fashion history and stage design, in four languages, at universities and colleges. Amongst the many prizes received from Russia, he has also been named ‘fashion legend of 2010’ by The World Fashion Awards for his contribution to fashion history. With his books, articles for magazines and participation in television shows, he has become a true component of today’s fashion industry. Another fact, which obviously pleases both the exhibition and the personality of Vasilyev, is his book “I am in the Fashion,” which has been recently released in the Latvian language by publishing house Jumava. It answers many questions related to him and fashion around him, and hence paints the collector inside and out.

It may seem that the collection’s owner is far more interesting than the works he presents. Yet, understanding his personality is a good way to anticipate the fashion at the exhibition hall. They all highlight glamour, beauty and uniqueness. Even more, the clothes show the collector in a flash, probably better than any book ever could. However, in the end, the emphasis of the exhibition is still on fashion. So this is a chance to explore something new, or remember something old. The shiny colors of yellow, red and purple are supplemented with the elegant colors of grey, brown, white and black. The classical long costumes and dresses, which cover the legs, are shortened into costumes, dresses and coats above the knee. This is a really great fashion show reflecting the pluses and minuses of both the maxi and the mini. And all visitors can find answers, in the case that size matters.

Finally, this is not a simple exhibition of women’s clothes. It gallantly displays the masterpieces of fashion history, and supposedly the ‘mini-maxi’ show can be attractive for women and also men. Vasilyev’s collection is very popular, as can be seen in the statistics. According to data of the Museum of Decorative Art and Design, the previous two exhibitions, which were also outlining fashion, reported the number of visitors at more than 25,000. There is reason to think that this exhibition is just as excellent!

The exhibition will be open till Oct. 2. Ticket price is 1 lat (1.42 euros) during Riga 810 celebrations on Aug. 19 – 21.