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IFS: Estonian Ministry of Creative Affairs

Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.

Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.
Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.

Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.
Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.

Photograph by Agnese Sanvito.

26 February 2013
by Osman Ahmed

For former dancer Kristina Viirpalu, her Estonian heritage defines her work. Each of her dresses are made using the Estonian handwork technique in traditional patterns which have been passed down through generations over the last 200 years. “Everything is handmade and made-to-order and a dress can take up to five months to create,” she says. “My grandmother and mother were both seamstress so I’ve always felt as though dressmaking is in my blood.”


Estonia-born, London-based menswear designer Kristian Steinberg’s third collection is on display and he hopes this opportunity will help him develop in the early stages of his business endeavour.  “It’s very exciting for the public to be able to come in and see our work as it gives them a chance to step into London Fashion Week. It’s a chance for me to be a part of something bigger and get buyers and press interested in my work.”


“It is about the relationship between high-tech and natural, mixing the harder plastics and flameproof fabrics with the softer wools and furs,” explains Steinberg.  “It started from looking at the Brutalist architecture in London and translating that into the clothes.”


The exhibition, which takes place at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, also explores the relationship between fashion and film. Curator Helen Sirp took the opportunity to make the exhibition the final piece in the jigsaw for her Central Saint Martins MA degree in Narrative Environments.

“I curated the International Fashion Showcase last year for Estonia and I loved it. This time it is a part of my final project for my MA in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins, so


“I’m exploring the ways in which we cane express fashion in a spatial manner,” she explains. “I’ve done it in a way that displays the pieces in a fashion film concept as we have a video playing throughout the exhibition. It tells the story of the designers’ creations as characters and the fairy-tale stories surrounding them.”