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Exhibition from the collections of Alexandre Vassiliev "Children’s World. 18th – 20th Century"

August 1, 2017

The exhibition from the collections of the internationally renowned fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev and Latvian museums “Children’s World. 18th – 20th Century” is on view at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga (10/20 Skārņu Street) from 3 August to 1 October 2017.

In co-operation with ABLV Bank and Alexandre Vassiliev Foundation, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design is hosting already the ninth exhibition from the collection of the celebrated fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev (Александр Васильев). This time the display showcases a wide range of kids’ clothing and accessories.

Kids’ fashion, as we perceive it today, did not exist before the late 18th century. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), a French philosopher and writer of the Age of Enlightenment was the first one to point out the fact that a child is not a “reduced” or “miniature“ copy of an adult, but an independent developing personality. This opinion influenced and formed a more comprehensive public understanding of the child’s special clothing needs well into the next century.

First of all, the exhibition provides its viewers with a possibility to trace changes – all the trendy twists and turns in children’s fashion dresses beginning from the end of the 18th century to the mid 20th century. Apart from that, the title of the exhibition shows that kids’ clothing in the course of the time, as a matter of fact, has demonstrated different attitudes towards children and childhood adopted by community.

The display is based on a chronological principle, and it is aimed to show children in different life situations: at home, walking outdoors, at school, during family holidays and recreation, and other activities. Toys, household items and a dozen of Latvia’s culture celebrities’ childhood photos, borrowed from other museums, supplement the unique Alexandre Vassiliev’s children’s clothing collection.

The title of the exhibition has been chosen to call back into our minds the famous Riga’s department store Bērnu Pasaule (Children’s World). The store’s central shop window with moving puppets grouped by theme had a huge popularity among the little citizens. It was designed by artist Adrians Pabians, and sketches, photos and toys, made by him, are exhibited in the museum for the first time. Another part of the exhibition comprises garments manufactured at the Soviet time, as well as individually tailored clothing, which characterizes public taste and understanding of the beautiful of the corresponding time.

From 17 July to 9 August 2017, at the shopping centre Galerija Centrs (Riga, Audēju iela 16) visitors have the opportunity to see historical images selected for this exhibition: postcards, photographs of different periods, showing important Latvian cultural workers in childhood as well as the design of the legendary shop window of the Children’s World department store.


Alexandre Vassliev (Александр Васильев) is a famous Russian and French fashion historian, an internationally acclaimed costume, set and interior designer, collector, author of the popular books and articles, lecturer, television anchorman, and tireless fashion promoter. He is the honorable member of Russian Academy of Arts, the Head of Russian Fashion Academy, the founder of the international interior award Lilies of Alexandre Vassliev, as well as the President of the Alexandre Vassiliev Foundation.

Alexandre Vassliev was born on 8 December 1958 in Moscow into a famous theatrical family. In 1982, Vassliev immigrated to Paris where he began to work for French theatres. Alexandre Vassiliev has created more than 100 stage designs for leading ballet and opera theatres, as well as theatre performance and movie designs for different companies in 25 countries of the world. He has collaborated with Théâtre du Rond-Point, theatres Le Lucernaire and Cartoucherie, L’Opera Bastille in Paris, Avignon festival, Ballet du Nord, New Ballet of France, Royal Ballet of Versailles, Royal Opera, National Theatre in London, Scottish Ballet in Glasgow, Latvian National Opera and Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Masako Ohya Ballet in Osaka, Asami Maki Ballet in Tokyo, Nevada Ballet, Opera and Ballet of Santiago, etc.

Alexandre Vassliev is holding master classes and courses on the theme of fashion in Russian universities and colleges. He communicates in four languages and teaches college and university students the history of fashion and stage design all over the world.

Alexandre Vassliev has written many books and has worked also as a special Paris reporter doing Russian language editions for such outstanding fashion magazines as Vogue and Harper’s Bazzar. Since the year 2000, he has been the leader of the Fashion festival Povolzhskiye Seasons by Alexandre Vassiliev, held in Samara (Russia). Since the year 2002, he has been participating in the creation of TV shows playing the key role. In October 2003, the design studio Alexandre Vassiliev’s Interiors was opened in Moscow.

For his contribution to the development and popularization of Russian art Alexandre Vassiliev received several awards: the Diaghiliev Medal (Paris), the Vaslav Nijinsky Medal (Warsaw), order Patron, and Gold Medal of the Russian Art Academy. Alexandre Vassiliev has been honored twice with the TOBAV Prize in Turkey. In 2010, The World Fashion Awards conferred the title “Fashion Legend of the Year” on Alexandre Vassiliev.


Alexandre Vassiliev (Александр Васильев), fashion historian, President of the Alexandre Vassiliev Foundation
Irēna Bužinska, Exhibition Curator, Latvian National Museum of Art
Ph: (+371) 65 802006, E: Irena.Buzinska@lnmm.lv

EXHIBITION COORDINATOR in Museum of Decorative Arts and Design:
Inese Baranovska, Head of the Latvian Decorative Arts and Design Department

Photo: "Bērnu pasaule", Kristiāna Zelča

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