“FASHION IS MY PASSION! Fashion Industry of the 1970–1990s: Belarusian Format”, 21.10 — 07.11

Photographer – A. Schukin, model – A. Maliboga, photo session for the Belarusian Fashion Centre, 1997

Photographer – A. Schukin, model – A. Maliboga, photo session for the Belarusian Fashion Centre, 1997

The idea to create an exhibition about fashion industry in the BSSR and in the first years of the independent Republic of Belarus was born after our personal acquaintance with Tamara Honcharova and Jury Kot. We had certainly heard about charming Tamara, one of the first Belarusian models, before we met her. Jury’s rare visits to the Museum for a cup of tea and his stories about his creative path from the Soviet Union towards the brand name in France, as well as his memories about the twists and turns in a hidden industry of contemporary Belarusian fashion became the starting point for our work on the project. It turned out that up to now in Belarus without unnecessary publicity some of the world’s leading brands, such as, for example “Sonia Rykiel”, sew their collections. And one should not forget that the shop “Berghaus” that enjoyed respect and popularity in the early 1990s used the Belarusian “Elema” factory to make its clothes.

“FASHION IS MY PASSION” presents a first attempt to look at the history of the Belarusian fashion through a collection of personal stories and memories (by means of narratives) the active participants of those events share. How was the Belarusian fashion industry functioning in the period from the 1970s to the 1990s, and who was at its origin? Obviously, in the late Soviet period fashion was still a “ceremonial portrait” of the Soviet state, a part of the ideological concept of the utopian project of ‘the bright future’, which despite the long-term total domination, was already in crisis. How did fashion change in the BSSR? Did the independence gained in the 1990s become a catalyst for radical changes?

Within this exhibition we suggest talking about fashion as about a sign system, focusing on the study of the field of fashion industry in Belarus: institutions and key players, relationships between them. In this case photography becomes both a “document”, illustrating the system of signs and images, and a specific language of narration. Thus, we are trying to answer the question: how is it possible and appropriate to speak about the Belarusian fashion-photography as a phenomenon?

Olga Rybchinskaya and Hanna Samarskaya

The project became possible thanks to Tamara Honcharova, Jury Kot, and Andrew Schukin.
Curated by Olga Rybchinskaya and Hanna Samarskaya

21.10 — 07.11
Museum of Modern Fine Art

Niezaležnasci Avenue, 47
11:00 – 19:00 (ticket office till 18:30)
Tuesday – Saturday
Standard ticket price ― 30 000, students ― 15 000, school children ― 10 000

Museum of Modern Fine Art, 17:00