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Paris – St Petersburg: Three Centuries of European Fashion from the Alexandre Vassiliev Collection

Start Date 12 May 2004
End Date 24 October 2004
Venue Sakıp Sabancı Museum
Location Istanbul, Turkey

Fashion is one of the most illuminating reflections of social and cultural change. In recent years fashion design has received due recognition as an art form, and been the subject of exhibitions at major art museums around the world. Today clothing by such celebrated designers as Giorgio Armani, Issei Miyake and Vivienne Westwood can be seen at the New York Guggenheim, the Royal Academy and Victoria and Albert Museum in London and museums in Paris and elsewhere.

Sabancı University’s Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul hosted an exhibition of three centuries of European fashion. Organized jointly by Beymen and Sakıp Sabancı Museum, the Paris – St Petersburg, Three Centuries of European Fashion from the Alexandre Vassiliev Collection exhibition consisted of nearly 150 garments and 300 accessories.

Alexandre Vassiliev is not only a fashion historian, but a costume and set designer who has designed for the Bolshoi Ballet Company in Moscow, and ballet, opera and theatre productions in France, Britain, Germany, the United States, Italy, Japan, Turkey and numerous other countries. His collection of garments worn by members of European royal families and celebrated stage performers were displayed together with accounts of Russian and European fashions, movements and anecdotes that put the exhibits in context. The collection has been previously shown at the famous Musée de la Mode in Paris, and museums in London, Hong Kong, Santiago and Sydney.

Alexandre Vassiliev comes from a family of Moscow artists, and his interest in fashion began at the age of sixteen. Vassiliev gathered the antique costumes and objects in his collection from Russia, France and many other countries around the world. As well as being a noted interior designer and poet, stage costume and set designer, he is an authority on fashion history, a subject on which he lectures and has written several books.