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PRESS RELEASE 17.05.2007

When the model strode the catwalk…”
Retrospective: 50 years since the founding of Tallinn Fashion House
19.05.-22.06.2007


Spring 2007 will mark 50 years since the founding of the long-time centre of the local fashion world, Tallinn Moemaja, which from 1957 to 1992 employed over 30 professional fashion designers and applied artists who graduated from the Estonian State Art Institute (ERKI). The retrospective exhibition gives an overview of the activities of the organization over three decades.

A modern collection with a 50s touch is demonstrated at the opening. The sets have been designed by the MA students of Fashion Design of the Estonian Academy of Arts - Jaanika Terasmaa, Margit Kuusk, Marit Ilison and Lilli Jahilo - in cooperation with Tallinn Recycling Centre. Music of the period is performed by Kaarel Liivan and Joel Remmel.

The exhibition has been organised in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Fashion Designers and the Department of Fashion Design of the Estonian Academy of Arts. The exhibition curator is Anu Ojavee.

You are most welcome to the opening of the exhibition on the 18th of May at 17.00 pm at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design.
The exhibition will be open until 22 June.

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The founding of the TALLINN FASHION HOUSE in 1957 initiated a completely new phase in the development of the Estonian clothing culture.

For those involved the principal strengths of the former centre of fashion constituted a carefully selected team and the consistent inflow of talented progeny from the State Art Institute. Professional pattern-makers, technologists, tailors and seamstresses helped the couturiers put their ideas into practice. A peculiar freshness achieved by national details obviously helped to contribute to the success of their collections.

Numerous shows and invitations were a proof of a fact that the Tallinn Fashion House operating on the borderline between East and West was becoming an established centre of fashion. The collections based on traditions as well as individual work experience of the designers reached as far as London, Sidney, Tokyo, Havana and New York. However, the main task was still to design and elaborate models for sewing factories.

The designers’ creativity found its expression in fashion illustration as well as in collections for fashion shows to introduce new seasonal trends. The names and faces of the models, who presented the newest collections with dignified elegance, are known to this day.

Siluett – a magazine founded in 1958 – began shaping the fashion taste of the Estonian public providing men, women and children with appropriate advice about designs and cuts. Furthermore, Siluett with a surprisingly large circulation found its way across the border, mainly in the Russian language.

As most of the fashion centres decades-long history remained within a closed system of the Soviet Union, international fashion magazines and foreign tourists helped to provide the local designers with the newest trends. The broadcasts of the Finnish Television available on the northern coast of Estonia were another useful source of information. Designers visited the Nationwide Fashion House in Moscow in order to improve and exchange their professional knowledge as well as international fashion conferences, trade exhibitions and -fairs.

The period of privatisation during the confusing times of perestroika and the re-establishment of the Estonian independence marked the beginning of the end: the gradual disintegration of the Tallinn Fashion House and the liquidation of Siluett. Consequently, the Tallinn Fashion House was privatised. Today the former flagship of fashion has become another chapter of the Estonian history of fashion. 

Further information:

Anu Ojavee

phone +372 523 2961



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