House gowns and aprons worn by Soviet-era women
From 17 th May to 30th September the Tallinn TV Tower presents an exhibition on the panoramic 21st floor: “House gowns and aprons.”
The exhibition takes a look at the household garments worn by women in the 1970s and 1980s. Along with the exhibition in the tunnel “No Bananas. Time travel to the Soviet everyday life”, the exhibit on the 21st floor also examines daily Soviet life.
The exhibition was organized by Estonian Academy of Arts fashion students and features interesting finds from the wardrobes of homemakers in Soviet Estonia. Most world fashion retrospectives focus on haute couture. But what did our mothers and grandmothers wear while doing household chores in 1980s Estonia?
Nostalgia now surrounds that decade, and some may recall that era of shortages – when everything existed but nothing was available – with a wry grin. As it wasn’t easy to obtain clothing, the house gown came to the rescue, a cover-up that was allowed to wear and tear and become stained. That didn’t mean that such a garment was something boring and workaday, worn only in the privacy of one’s own home to keep from ruining better clothes. On the contrary: lack of other possibilities brought out women’s resourcefulness and sense of aesthetics. A basic cotton print fabric was decorated with whatever lace, borders and buttons were available in commerce. The magazine Siluett provided stylish tips and patterns.
The exhibition also looks at aprons, the edge of which might be used to wipe a child’s jam-smeared mouth or for drying hands while in the kitchen. We will introduce exhibition goers to the specific patterns of the era, the bold colour combinations and resourceful design ideas that thanks to diligent mothers, grandmothers and other familiar faces were saved in closets and cupboards.
The exhibition was created by second-year fashion design students at the Academy of Arts under the supervision of Maiu Rõõmus. This exhibition is the third exhibition produced in collaboration between the Estonian Academy of Arts Department of Fashion Design and the Tallinn TV Tower.
The exhibitions at the Tallinn TV Tower will run until 1 October. Ticket information can be found HERE