Taking the glamour world by storm

  • 2001-05-31
  • Devyani Banerjee

Nothing is more transient in life than fashion. William Shakespeare has rightly said, "The fashion wears out more apparel than the man."

No one would perhaps agree with these wise words more than Kairi Vilderson, the reputed Estonian fashion designer who is occupied with the development of new ideas in fashion wear for her clients.

Vilderson, delicate looking at 32 years, is today the general manager and designer of the garment company Tallina Moemaja, which manufactures designer women's wear by the brand name of Kairi Vilderson.

Tallina Moemaja was established in 1957. Vilderson, along with her husband Sepo and her sister Siiri Mark, bought the company in an auction in 1995 and since then Vilderson's created a storm in the fashion world with her exclusive designer wear for women.

A graduate in economics from Tartu University, Vilderson has no formal training in dress designing. Although she did participate in some courses of painting at the Academy of Art in Tallinn, designing seems to come naturally to her.

"Dress designing is my passion. I designed my first dress when I was only 9 years old," she said.

Vilderson has three single-label shops in Estonia. On May 19 Vilderson inaugurated a new outlet in Riga's city center. "In the near future I plan to open single-label shops in Lithuania and also in Russia," Vilderson explained.

She exports her designer wear to Finland as well as Sweden and plans to gradually export to other European countries.

At present, Tallinna Moemaja has 55 employees and an annual turnover rate of 15 million kroons ($841,750).

Vilderson said that she does not go strictly by the market demands when designing her clothes. "I follow my instincts and this is what distinguishes a designer-brand-name product from a market-brand-name product," she stated.

Describing her collection in a nutshell, Vilderson said, "Kairi Vilderson is a designer brand name and hence it expresses solely my views of life and style. My designs are for women so there is an element of femininity and romanticism in them."

Vilderson designs informal wear as well as designs for festive occasions with a selection of very special evening gowns for exclusive parties. Although some of her dresses exude a somewhat sporty look, she insists that "the element of classicism is never neglected."

Vilderson's formal wear includes office pants and skirts with jackets, while the informal collection emphasizes skirts, tops, short dresses and a variety of knitted, see-through chiffon garments.

This designer loves to experiment with fabrics. For the autumn collection she used denim, a fabric resembling snake skin and an odd material called "cupra" which can be crushed as desired to achieve different textures. Vilderson seeks out her fabrics in Italy and France.

"My Estonian clients prefer synthetic fabrics while those in Scandinavian countries prefer natural fibers like cotton and linen," Vilderson said .

Her clothes are not the typical all black and gray.

"I also use orange, red and purple in subdued shades although I do enjoy very bright colors," she ventured.

Vilderson organizes a fashion show twice a year to launch her products. The shows are called the Winter/Autumn Collection in January and the Spring/Summer Collection in August.

"I create 150 designs every season," Vilderson said proudly.

Even famous models have participated in Vilderson's fashion shows. In January 2001 London model Kaja Wunder, Miss Estonia Inna Roos and former Miss Estonia Kristina Heinmets paraded up and down the ramp displaying her winter/autumn collection.

Having designed the wardrobe for last year's Miss Universe Estonian participant Evelin Mikomagi Vilderson said, "I designed 30 dresses and 10 evening gowns for her, all of which were highly acclaimed in the contest."

Despite her fame as a fashion guru, she still manages to keep a few secrets, like the fact that she is a pianist. So, although music remains her secret source of inspiration, she is also influenced from traveling and meeting people.

Formal wear with the "Kairi Vilderson" label ranges from 1,500 kroons to 2,000 kroons. The festive or exclusive party gowns vary from between 2,000 kroons to 5,000 kroons and the casual wears are more modestly priced at between 300 kroons to 550 kroons.

"Baltic women are more fashion conscious than their counterparts in neighboring countries" she said, adding that she feels they are attracted to more exclusive clothes. Because of this she says, "one has to work really hard to please them."