In Memory of Vyacheslav Zaitsev


He is more than a legend. He is the beginning. He was the first to open a fashion house in the USSR. He was the first to sew for the most famous people of the country, from Edita Piekha to Dmitri Hvorostovsky. He was the first to have a personal exhibition in the Hermitage.

He was the first Russian fashion designer to be recognized and loved all over the world.

We were privileged to know the maestro, be inspired by his work, and collaborate on fashion shows. In an interview in 2022 Vyacheslav Zaytsev told COUTURE about his creative path, which, as it often happens with geniuses, went through hardships to the stars. Today, we are providing extracts from the interview to recollect what the great fashion designer was like. To remember, and never forget.


“In 1962, while working on a draft collection, I took an ordinary vest, painted it in the folk style with gouache and tempera, added wide skirts out of colorful Pavlov Posad scarves to them, and to complete the ensemble, I painted valenki as well.

The collection was presented at a combined show. Absolutely no one was expecting the riot of color instead of the usual modest work clothes, and so the reaction was extremely harsh: “Are you making fun of Soviet reality?!” they asked me. And I sincerely wanted to make things better. As an artist, I wanted to brighten up the reality around me.”

CREATED BEAUTY AND STROVE FOR HARMONY                                                        

“I always did everything the way I felt. Back when I first came to Moscow, I visited the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts, where I saw Russian folk costumes from different regions, with their color combinations, decoration and fantastic headdresses. And Russian costume forever became a source of beauty and creative inspiration for me. Seeing the gray streets around me and remembering the bright, colorful folk clothes, I wondered, “Where did they all go?” Why can’t we walk like our ancestors, in colorful, decorative, ornate Russian shirts? I liked creating such clothes, and wearing them, and I liked to evoke the feelings and thoughts of those around me. I was creating Beauty, and striving for Harmony.”


“Taste must be developed from childhood through exposure to the world’s classical art. Few parents and teachers understand and realize this. That’s why there is a lot of tastelessness around. As an artist and a teacher I always say that people should read lots of serious literature, go to the theater and exhibitions, develop their taste, and learn to dress well, so that their life is be bright and full.”