Exhibition of Russian costume opens in Antwerp

An exhibition of Russian costume "Russian Fashion: 200 Years" opened on Thursday in the hall of the Russian Orthodox Nativity Church in Antwerp. The exhibition which displays women's dresses and accessories worn by Russian women in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries has been organized by the Artgroup International Association which carries out international projects in the sphere of culture.

The display consists of articles from the personal collection of Alexander Vasilyev, a well-known theatre artist and fashion historian. Vasilyev was born in Moscow, but has been living in Paris since 1982. Plays designed by him are staged by theatres in many countries of the world, including in Russia. Vasilyev delivers lectures on the history of costume and fashion.

Vasilyev's collection consists of 500 dresses and costumes, beginning with the 1770s, as well as over 3,000 accessories -- umbrellas, hats, hand-bags, lorgnettes, gloves and other articles of fashion. The large church hall in Antwerp was big enough for only dummies with 60 dresses and show-cases for 200 accessories. On display are elements of festive 18th-century peasant clothes -- kokoshniks (peasant women's head-dresses) and aprons, 19th century clothes of women of the merchant class and of the nobility, elegant dresses of Russian women at the turn of last century. All displays are original.

The artist said that the exhibition is a "patriotic gesture" that allows to show Russia's beauty and that beauty has a history of its own.

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