Exhibitions

The Moscow Kremlin museums show exquisite art Deco

The elegance and glamour of art Deco in the Moscow Kremlin Museums

Clothing style art deco from the collection of the Costume Institute of Kyoto and jewelry houses Cartier and van Cleef and Arpels will be available for overview by the visitors of the Moscow Kremlin Museums from September 30, 2016 January 11, 2017. The exhibition is held in the hall of the Assumption belfry and one-pillar chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace. Its full title is “the Elegance and glamour of art Deco. The costume Institute of Kyoto, the jewelry house Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels”.

Art Deco (short form from FR. of “decorative art”), came into use after the “International exhibition of modern art and industry” of 1925 in France, at Les Invalides. This style originated around 1910 years, it became heir of the “new” style of the Belle époque or art Nouveau. By the exhibition it won the world of art (especially jewelry, fashion and architecture). It is firmly blended with the aesthetics of the interwar period in Europe and reigned until 40-ies of XX century.

Merging the splendor of a Museum complex with a dazzling collection gave rise to the wonderful exposition, the availability of which for Russians and visitors to the country have been provided by the General sponsor of the project “Rosbank”.

What is offered to the visitor? First, thanks to the exhibition of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, it closely touches the aesthetics of the first third of the XX century, making possible to see firsthand the style of a bygone era.

Second, in addition to the exterior brilliance, we will have the opportunity to learn a lot, because the collection was prepared by a large Japanese researchers primarily for scientific purposes. Historians, connoisseurs of art, fashion specialists and collectors will discover a whole world here.

And thirdly, the exhibition will show a new perspective of relationships between Russian, Japanese and European cultures. Masterpieces of the largest fashion houses of Western Europe and America are based on Japanese and Russian traditions as well.

PhD Elena Gagarina heads the Moscow Kremlin Museums
PhD Elena Gagarina heads the Moscow Kremlin Museums Photo: PR of the Moscow Kremlin Museums

First of all, we ask for comments to Elena Gagarina, General Director of the Museums of the Moscow Kremlin, which has invested in the exhibition related to her aesthetic, scientific, and Patriotic feelings of art.

PhD Elena Gagarina heads the Moscow Kremlin Museums since 2001, when she was appointed to this post by presidential decree. Graduate of Moscow state University in History. Daughter of Yuri Gagarin, the world-famous space pioneer and patriot of the Fatherland.

E Vesti: Elena, we would like to know Your personal attitude to the art deco style, how close is it to You?

Elena Gagarina: Art Deco is probably the most interesting style of the twentieth century. This is a style that has a lot from the Russian culture, because many of its masterpieces were created thanks to the Russian ballet, staged by Sergei Diaghilev, but also because Russian embroiderers were directly involved in many of the models. Here you can see the patterns made by them – for example, a model which belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna.

This style is inherently revolutionary. And this style, which all enjoy to this day.

But we show in real life things known by feature films. Models from the films were made by fine designers, but these things were not true. At our exhibition they are genuine. In addition, if the costumes for the films therefore were submitted, jewelry and pleasant trifles used by those ladies who could afford it, probably, were not accessible for our understanding at all. The combination of these two things tells us about how this period between the two wars was luxuriously perfect and also functional.

EV: In Your opinion, is this style close to modern women, which focuses on high style?

Elena Gagarina: I believe that any of these items are absolutely functional now.

EV: It is suitable for an independent lady of today from the point of view of the spirit of the age?

Elena Gagarina: Certanly.

The Kyoto Costume Institute at Art Deco in Moscow
The Kyoto Costume Institute at Art Deco in Moscow

We have also asked the Japanese side that provided his most valuable collection for the exhibition, curator Makoto Ishizaki, to give comments.

The Kyoto Costume Institute was formed in 1978 in conjunction with the costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum (New York). The collection consists of 12’000 articles and 16’000 documents covering the period from the eighteenth century to the present. The Institute also publishes a series of publications Dresstudy, and exhibitions are held worldwide.

EV: Please tell me how You managed to bring such a precious collection that probably nobody in Your country did not want to let go?

Makoto Ishizaki: Yes, indeed, it was not easy. And the support of the Museums of the Moscow Kremlin was very valuable for us.

EV: What is the purpose of this exhibition for the Institute and for Japan as a whole?

Makoto Ishizaki: The main reason of our arrival is introduction of our collection in Rusisan. It’s really a fortune experience for us. Our collection is really admired by other museums, the National and International too. So, we would like to display our precious things to Russian people.

EV: This collection is chosen with a special meaning and has a lot of elements of Japanese culture. Do You think that the distinctive beauty of Your collection is a consequence of the Japanese taste?

Makoto Ishizaki: The art deco period is a time of Japanism. And so many fashion designers at that time imported a lot of motives from Japanese culture, watching Japanese kimono. And they combined our culture with European cultures. So, we have a mission, to study and to exhibit, to provide change between Japan and Europe, and we aim at showing how coultries fusion each other in fashion. So, you see a lot of Japanese motives here.

Art Deco dress from Elegance and luxury art Deco exposition in the Moscow Kremlin museums
Art Deco dress from Elegance and luxury art Deco exposition in the Moscow Kremlin museums

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Despite You see in our article photos, believe me, it is difficult to capture in the picture, It gives a very limited view on a fine piece of work and the skill of sewing. Every little item contains invaluable details – and then the smallest diamond suspension on silk shoes, not visible in the photo, and nessesary with miniatures of the highest class, and a cosmetic bag with a watch and luxurious diamond clasp, weightless and delicate dresses with hand embroidery… Only partially on the sketches of the masters hung on the walls, reopened the creative idea. And each exhibit is a story of individuals, whose fate. Visit the exhibition whenever possible.