Museo di Palazzo Palazzo Mocenigo

Mocenigo Palace

ALEXANDRE VASSILIEV. ELEGANCE IN EXILE. Between fashion and costume, the Diaghilev Era.

Alexandre Vassiliev

Alexandre Vassiliev (Moscow, 1958), world-renowned fashion historian and collector, set and costume designer, lecturer and author of many books and articles devoted to fashion history, has lived in an intensely theatrical world since childhood, “breathing” the atmosphere and cultural ambience typically associated with the Russian intelligentsia. A child of the theatre – his father was a designer at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and his mother an established actress – through his continual contact with the Bolshoi, Russia’s leading theatre, and his in-depth studies in this area, he learned its history and came to appreciate the beauty and creativity of theatre and ballet costumes. Since his youth, this passion, united with that for the history of fashion and costume, led to his creation of a private collection which, in time, became a precious historical archive of over 10,000 works, comprising costumes and objects from Europe and Russia from the eighteenth  to the twentieth centuries, portraits of noted dancers and choreographers, photographs of ballets and operas from the most famous theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg, and costumes from Serge Diaghilev’s famous Ballets Russes, of which a significant selection of works are presented in this exhibition. The figure of Diaghilev and the story of the Ballets Russes have been a constant point of reference for Maestro Vassiliev (who still remains a passionate promoter of Russian culture), so much so that Moscow’s “Diaghilev Foundation” awarded him the Diaghilev Medal for his untiring dedication. He has mounted and curated exhibitions dedicated to the history of costumes from the 18th to the 20th centuries, the most important of which took place in Paris, Moscow, Antwerp, Sydney, Santiago, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Tokyo, Riga and Vilnius. He is the author of books on the History of Costumes: “Krasota v izgnanii” (Bellezza in Esilio), Slovo Mosca 1998; English edition, “Beauty in Exile”, Harry N. Abrams Inc., Publishers New York 2000; ”Evropejskaya Moda. Tri veka” (European Fashion. Three Centuries), Slovo Mosca 2006; in addition, he has also given lectures and conducted courses on the History of Fashion and Stage Design for famous institutions, including Columbia University (New York), The Royal College of Art (London), Esmod Fashion School (Paris), Glasgow School of Art, National Superior School for the Visual Arts (La Cambre) Brussels, Mode Gauken School (Tokyo), and the State Moscow University amongst many others. Alexandre Vassiliev lives and works between Moscow and Paris.