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I copied all the leaves and flowers in Ivanovo: how Vyacheslav Zaitsev discovered Russian fashion for the world

Date: March 20, 2023 Time: 19:12:19

Vyacheslav Zaitsev prepares to celebrate his 85th birthday.

Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

According to a long tradition, Vyacheslav Zaitsev will celebrate his birthday with a show from the “Many Faces of Fashion” clothing collection. This is a retrospective of the models of the Slava Zaitsev brand, starting in 1988, when the fashion designer showed his first author’s collection “Russian Seasons in Paris”.

The press was not invited to the screening: “The event is closed and exclusive,” said the organizers. Entrance only by tickets (1000 – 5000 rubles). Filming is prohibited, even on mobile phones. Hmmm … They say that, despite a serious illness, 85-year-old Vyacheslav Zaitsev will still appear in the show. Let’s hope that the holiday will turn out, but, of course, not the same as when Vyacheslav Mikhailovich performed his shows with artistic ease, enthusiastically talking about the latest fashion.

As a child, Slava Zaitsev dreamed of becoming a military pilot, which is understandable: his childhood was in the war, or … an operetta artist. In Ivanovo (where the future fashion designer was born), musical theater was especially popular, performers were in short supply. Slava’s parents took part in amateur performances, his father worked as an animator in the city park. It is not surprising that, entering the first grade, Slava began to sing in the school choir, where he was the most vociferous student.

She received her first prize in life, which turned out to be incredibly connected with her future profession – a piece of fabric for a school uniform, which she received while participating in a city amateur art competition. Her childhood literally passed with the song. And what is especially surprising: I was never drawn to drawing.

Viacheslav Zaitsev in 1972. Photo: Albert Pushkarev / TASS News

After graduating from the seven-year plan, he went with a neighbor to enter the College of Chemical Technology. Together they applied to the Faculty of Applied Arts. In the creative exam, Slava Zaitsev was the only one who got an A for a still life and a drawing of a plaster head of some Greek god. At the technical school, he studied as a textile artist and painted a lot of leaves, flowers, cucumbers – to the point of stupor … As he later said, there was no plant in Ivanovo that he did not copy: “I could draw a red currant brush so naturally , what is inside each berry, the seeds were visible to light. And if it had not splashed on the paper, it could have burst under the pressure of the images found on it. He graduated from technical school with honors and continued his studies at the Moscow Institute of Light Industry.And only there he decided to become a fashion designer …

Back in the 60s, his first collection consisted of experimental models made in a workwear factory, where he dedicated himself to distribution. Those same colorful jumpers, padded boots and amazing hats for farm and factory workers, which they argued about much later. In the West, this revolution in workwear would have caused a sensation. But in the Union for three years not a single model invented by Zaitsev went into mass production. And he felt sad, it was a true drama of the artist.

She went to the All-Union House of Models on Kuznetsky Most, hoping that there her creative search would find understanding and application. For thirteen years, she has offered hundreds of clothing models: from coats to underwear, from everyday wear to evening dresses. It was at that time that she got the noisy fame of her. Her models became a sensation at international exhibitions. They wrote about him in the Paris Match magazine: “Glory Zaitsev dictates fashion to Moscow.” In the Western press, they called it “Red Dior”, oh, this love of labels. In Moscow, he was discovered by Pierre Cardin, Marc Bohan (Dior) and Guy Laroche and recognized as an “equal among equals” (this is what the masters of the fashion world call themselves).

1984 Vyacheslav Zaitsev – head of the Moscow Fashion House. Photo by Yuri Vendelin and Viktor Rudko /TASS Newsreel/

He became the leading couturier in the Soviet Union. His outfits were worn by: Alla Pugacheva, Edita Piekha, Lyudmila Zykina, Muslim Magomayev, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Iosif Kobzon … He sewed costumes for Time Machine, he dressed the Na-Na group. As a costume designer, he designed many performances. But everything that Zaitsev came up with could be seen on the podium or on the stars, but not on ordinary people on the street. These were the “laws” of fashion in the Soviet Union. The situation changed during perestroika, when the Vyacheslav Zaitsev Fashion House and a salon where clothes were sold were opened on Prospekt Mira. But here, before his foreign colleagues, he was like the moon. If, under the licenses of an old friend Pierre Cardin, clothes were sewn in a hundred countries of the world, and in France more than 6 thousand stores sold things of this brand, then this did not happen with the Slava Zaitsev brand. It was not possible to become a fashion empire…

A few years ago, Vyacheslav Zaitsev was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. His health has deteriorated markedly in recent years. He now lives outside the city in a three-story mansion, from where he hardly ever goes anywhere. He handed over the leadership of the Fashion House to his son Yegor. The media have written many times that the Zaitsev Fashion House is making heavy losses. The company has accumulated huge debts, including for renting land in the center of Moscow. No orders from the artists, the masters of cutting and sewing fled…

Not so long ago, an indecent scandal broke out when for the next birthday of the fashion designer, where his friends Alla Pugacheva came, Maxim Galkin * (recognized as a foreign agent), sold tickets for 15 thousand rubles. Zaitsev did not seem to know anything about this, but his entourage knew about it … Then a video of seriously ill Vyacheslav Mikhailovich appeared on social networks. It was filmed by the Garafutdinov family for TikTok, they posted the video for everyone to see. There have long been rumors about the tense relationship between the fashion designer and his only child Yegor, and the son is no less tense with his eldest daughter Marusya. True, in one of the last interviews with him, Vyacheslav Zaitsev denied this gossip, they say that they all have an excellent relationship. And in general, they have a team: “I, Yegor, Nastya, Marusya (Zaitsev’s granddaughters. – Ed.) We are preparing a new youth collection that will be successfully sold.” He called the rumors about the bankruptcy of the Fashion House stupidity … Let it be so, especially on the birthday of the Master, who opened Russian fashion to the world.

*recognized as a foreign agent in the territory of the Russian Federation.


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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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