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Inauguration of the exhibition “Modernism and Fashion”, comprised of dresses and items of decoration of the 1960s, took place at the Heydar Aliyev Center, presented by the Alexander Vasilyev Foundation, October 6.
First Vice-president of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva attended the exhibition’s inauguration.
Speaking at the ceremony, Director of the Heydar Aliyev Center Anar Alakbarov said the Center has become a venue where international exhibitions take place: “We have touched upon the subject of fashion a few times, enjoying the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. A fashion show of Italian fashion designer Renato Balestra, comprised of Azerbaijani ornaments, took place in the Center. At the same time, in 2015, items of jewellery and samples of private dresses of Monaco’s Princess Grace Kelly, and the car collection - presented for the first time in Azerbaijan - were displayed at an exhibition called “Grace Kelly: The Princess and Icon of Style”.
Anar Alakbarov brought to attention that the year 2017 has been a very significant for the Heydar Aliyev Center. In 2012, the Heydar Aliyev Center was inaugurated with participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the number of visitors is growing day after day. During these years, over a million people have visited the Heydar Aliyev Center, which gives cause for saying that the themes chosen by the Center, the exhibitions it has presented have been highly appreciated by both the guests of the city, and also by its citizens.
Anar Alakbarov expressed his profound gratitude to Mehriban Aliyeva for the support she has provided for the organization of such exhibitions and, in general, for the activity of the Heydar Aliyev Center, and the events being held therein.
Talking about the exhibition “Modernism and Fashion”, director of the Center underscored that it took them seven months to prepare for the exhibition. Anar Alakbarov thanked the head of the collection presented at the exhibition Alexander Vasilyev and curator of the exhibition Cyril Gasilin, as well as everyone who has contributed to the organization of the exhibition.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Alexander Vasilyev said his visit to Baku was a great happiness, mentioning: “It is a sunny day, a very beautiful campaign. I see friendly images. All these talk about success. First of all, I would like to thank the Heydar Aliyev Center for creating conditions to demonstrate my collection. The theme of today’s exhibition is conditioned by the fact that we are in a building being a rare example of architecture. Designed by a great architect, this building was recognized as the most beautiful building in the world back in 2014. To be in this rare space, to work here and present an exhibition is an honour for us.
The collection of the exhibition has been gathered in the course of 40 years. We have undertaken trips to various countries, such as Australia, Japan, China, Turkey, France, Italy, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, countries of Latin America etc. in connection with this exhibition. Curator Cyril Gasilin has spent a great deal of time for the organization of the exhibition. I want to thank the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for creating great conditions for the organization of the exhibition. We have a plan to arrange other exhibitions too. We have a goal to display another interesting exhibition in half a year. For the time being, we’ll keep it secret so that you could enjoy this exhibition. What you are going to see at the exhibition may even surpass your expectations. They are the best fashion of that glorious era. Various high quality models of the high fashion brands such as “Chanel”, “Dior”, “Balmain”, “Yves Saint Laurent”, “Balenciaga”, “Nina Ricci”, “Cardin”, “Couregge”, “Laroche”, “Cassini”, “Valentino” are presented. They belonged to stars of the time. Moreover, many accessories, bags, hats, costume jewellery etc. are also displayed at the exhibition. I think they will impact you greatly.”
Alexander Vasilyev brought to attention that this is also a kind of an enlightening exhibition. This exhibition will be a means of enlightenment for Azerbaijan’s designers, artists, film directors, actors/actresses, writers, in short, everyone who wants to delve into the spirit of those years. After all, fashion is also part and parcel of the applied art. This is not merely a commercial matter, but also high culture. He said: “Such an exhibition should take place in a city where sincere approach is shown towards fashion. We would like this aesthetic sense to be always high in Azerbaijan, and you take pride in residing in the capital of this great culture, great aesthetics and beauty, including the beauty of architecture, nature, and cuisine. I would like to thank Azerbaijan’s First Vice-president, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for the support she has provided for the organization of this exhibition.”
Enjoying the status of a building with grandiose architecture, harmonic atmosphere and bright history of creation, the Heydar Aliyev Center has been presented the “Alexander Vasilyev Lilies” Award, in the nomination of the “Style Criterion”. The award presented by Alexander Vasilyev is comprised of the work “Lily”, made of ceramics.
Anar Alakbarov presented an Azerbaijani national dress related to late 19th – early 20th century to the guest on behalf of the Center.
Then guests went up the fourth floor where the exhibition was displayed.
First Vice-president of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva and Alexander Vasilyev cut the ribbon standing for official opening of the exhibition.
Organized with support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, this exhibition is shown in Baku for the first time. 100 dresses and 350 accessories related to the 60s of the 20th century, from the rare collection of the Alexander Vasilyev Foundation, are displayed at the exhibition.
1960s have been considered one of the most revolutionary decades of the last century. Unexpected revolutionary character of this period spurred changes both in the society and in the western world alike. Space flights of first astronaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and first woman-astronaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 have left their trace in the fashion realm, and Parisian designers used the theme of cosmos. Reflected in footwear forms, headscarf and other accessories, the era of cosmos ended by Americans’ landing on the Moon in 1969. Sufficient quantity of dresses, shoes and headscarf reflecting these futuristic ideas are displayed at the exhibition at the Heydar Aliyev Center.
Dresses are demonstrated at this exhibition also from private wardrobes of movie stars Mary Pickford, Gloria Swenson, Lesley Caron and Loren Becol, and prima-ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. The exhibition has so far been shown in Sidney, Istanbul, Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Riga and Daugavpils. But, for the first time, it is displayed with such a big volume in Baku.
Alexander Vasilyev is a collector, fashion historian, interior decorator, theatrical artist, author of a series of articles and books on fashion, an art critic, and a TV host. Having been gathered for about 40 years, his collection includes 50 thousand exhibits covering the period from the 17th century to this day. Among the exhibits acquired from different countries are also high fashion masterpieces made in the best fashion houses of their time.
Established in Vilnius, the Alexander Vasilyev Foundation has been operating in Lithuania and other countries towards preserving, expanding and popularizing the collection comprised of works related to education, costumes, accessories, painting, graphics, photo, decorative applied art, and printed publications, aiming to promote the fashion culture and history.
Arranged at the Heydar Aliyev Center, the exhibition will continue until April 5, 2018.