The private collection Alexandre Vassiliev was initiated in the mid-70s in Moscow. At that time, the young boy gathered primarily historical objects related to the Russian fashion. Financing was effected by the generosity of his father, a painter and decorator renowned in Russia. At late 70s, the collection already interested in the Soviet media, and some countries in Eastern Europe devoted her reportages. In 1982, she began a new era, Alexandre Vassiliev emigrated to Paris, where he began a career as a professor of the history of fashion, especially in the famous school ESMOD. By his education and opportunities offered by Paris, the collection will bring out related to the French fashion pieces. Drouot auction houses and flea markets in Paris, was his new prospecting locations. Introduced into the closed circle of white Russian immigrants, he meets several remarkable figures like the designer Erte, artist Dimitri Bouchene, singer Ludmilla Lopato and some representatives of various Russian royal families, models and fashion designer they will do him donations. He also will frequent the older dancers of the Ballets Russes as Irina Baronova, Ida Rubnchatine, Tamara Karsavina, Tatiana Lescova Rostislav Doboujnsky, Serge Lifar and Xenia Tripolitove. This last will make him besides the donation of all his trunks containing costumes shows using for the Tripolitoff Ballets between 1930 and 1950, thereby enriching significantly its fund for Russian ballet.
Alexandre Vassiliev’s first book and bestseller, “Beauty in Exile”, published in Russian in 1998 and English in 2000 by Abrams New York, became an instant hit; from the first Russian publication, it was rereleased an additional seventeen times. Since his initial success, Vassiliev has written dozens of books dedicated to fashion history, a great number of them also becoming bestsellers in Russia, such as “Russian Hollywood”, “The Russian Interior Photo”, “150 Years of Russian Fashion”. He has also written books from a more international perspective, such as “Three Centuries of European Fashion” and “Studies on Fashion and Style”. Due to his charismatic writing style and fascinating books, Alexandre Vassiliev is now recognized as “the reference” for fashion history in Russia.
The Foundation organizes several thematic exhibitions, most notably “120 Years of Russian Fashion”, shows put on for the anniversary of the Gum department store on Red Square, with up to 40,000 visitors, and “The Art Deco Style in Fashion”, presented across Australia, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Istanbul, Venice, Paris, Chile, and Moscow. “The Victorian Fashion” exhibition, attended by over 80 000 visitors, “New Art and Fashion”, which has claimed more than 200 000 entries, “From War and Peace”, “From Mini to Maxi”, and most recently, “Revolt in a Boudoir” and “70’s Glamour” are some of Vassiliev’s most stunning exhibitions.