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PRESS RELEASE 07.08.2017


Framing Fashion in Soviet Estonia. Photographer Boris Mäemets


Boris Mäemets was one of the most important photographers in Soviet Estonia capturing the architecture and applied art being at the same time the main fashion photographer whose approach to the collections of the 1957 founded Tallinn Fashion House and the shootings for the magazine Siluett (Silhouette) founded the base for the Estonian fashion photography. This again shaped the overall understanding of the meaning of fashion most widely.

A young man who studied commerce at Tallinn Technical Institute, Mäemets worked in the Estonian Consumers Cooperative Republican Union from 1954, where the first advertising bureau in the ESSR was established in 1959. Known as an amateur photographer among his colleagues, he was invited to work as a professional photographer for the new bureau.

Around the same time, Mäemets also began to take photographs of exhibitions and interiors, and thus also became known in art and fashion circles. Tallinn Fashion House, which was founded in 1957, signed a contract with Mäemets at the suggestion of Valter Muruk, technical editor at the fashion periodical Siluett, in 1967. Siluett had an Estonian print run of more than 50,000 copies, while the Russian edition ran to 300,000 copies – a large number of which were sold in other socialist countries.

Mäemets was associated with the fashion house until 1975, after which he started taking photographs for the Leningrad fashion house.

Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design houses a comprehensive collection of Boris Mäemets’ fashion photography from the 1960-1970s. The selection has been made and curated into an exhibition by Anne Vetik.

The exhibition “Framing Fashion in Soviet Estonia” presents a broad overview of the work of Mäemets from the 1960s and 1970s, displaying photographs that received editorial praise and made it into the magazine as well as those that were not published and only the photographer himself could enjoy. The latter offer a record of his life behind the scenes, and are all exhibited here for the first time.

Curator of the exhibition is Anne Vetik, exhibition architecture by Johan Tali, graphic design by Helene Vetik, music compiled by Sander Mölder. Main supporter of the exhibition is Tallinna Kaubamaja.


Anne Vetik has studied art history at the Estonian Academy of Arts, has since 2008 written both art and fashion criticism. She is the founder and editor of the alternative fashion magazine Slacker and presenter of the National Broadcasting’s fashion and design series „Kapist välja“ (Out of Closet).


More information:

Anne Vetik
tel 5573343

Kai Lobjakas
tel 56486977


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