Princesse Tania de Bourbon Parme is a direct descendant of Louis XIV and cousin to almost every European king or queen. Behind her title is a charming 55-year-old brunette, who owns her own fashion brand, and an ambassador of couturier Denis Durand fashion house. She is also President of the French L`Art Autrement Dit Association. She recently joined her husband, Louis Arnaud L`Herbier, in visiting Belarus for the first time, joined by old friend Denis Duran, to launch the French-Belarusian Mir Couture fashion event, and to tour the princely home of the Radziwiłł family.
Princesse Tania de Bourbon Parme and French couturier Denis Durand during the grand opening at Mir Castle
Before visiting Mir, the Princess examined her family tree and found that she is related to this family too. She notes, "Sources lead to the line of kings of Denmark and Greece. My aunt, the granddaughter of George I of Greece, is Tatiana Radziwiłł. When Denis Durand told me that the exhibition of his dresses would be held in the castle once lived in by the Radziwiłł family, I decided that Fate was commanding me to attend. I simply couldn’t refuse the invitation to visit Belarus.
The master of French fashion first visited our country three years ago, to attend the launch of the twentieth ‘Listapad’ Film Festival. Belarusian stars of theatre and cinema wore his magnificent dresses on the red carpet. This time, the couturier preferred a stationary exhibition of his work, saying, “The collection is being shown exclusively on mannequins, so that visitors can see all the tiny details of fabric and accessories: all that usually goes unnoticed on the runway.”
The ‘Mir Couture’ exhibition is being located under the arches of the castle, in the attic, but not because the main reception rooms lacked enough space for fifteen dresses. Monsieur Durand asked organisers to find him something traditionally Belarusian, and notes his delight, commenting, “This intimate atmosphere helps the dresses to sparkle; in a big hall, they’d be slightly lost. Besides which, there’s an authentic atmosphere within these walls.”
The Embassador of Belarus to France P.Latushko at the presentation
The French-Belarusian project involves Minsk fashionable designer Apti Eziev, as co-author of several silhouettes. His task was to supplement the classical style of Durand with elements from leather and metal. Meanwhile, jewellery brand Zorka has also joined the project, in addition to designer Oksana Vinogradova, who heads the ‘Heartiness’ hand-weaving label. The couturier has created a modest, but stylish wedding dress from their fabric. Denis Durand has also created one more dress, which was introduced by Princess Tania Bourbon at the exhibition in Mir.
The Princess noted, “I’ve liaised with Denis for many years. How many of his dresses are there in my collection? About ten, I think. But I hope that more are to come. In everyday life, I prefer to dress modestly. I spend a lot of time at my desk but do wear refined evening dresses on occasion, so it’s a pleasure to wear those made by my friend Denis.”
It is planned that, after Mir, the dresses will travel to the French Riviera of Cannes. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to France, H.E. Pavel Latushko, also attended the grand opening in Mir, commenting, “It’s symbolic that two major projects in the field of culture are being held in Belarus and France simultaneously. On the same day, during the 1st Belarusian Theatre Season in Paris, our Kupala Theatre introduced a performance called ‘Art’, while here, at Mir Castle, we have an exhibition by French couturier Denis Durand. Minsk has also hosted Belarusian-French consultations by our ministries of foreign affairs. All this shows the dynamics of our relations. It’s important that cultural, economic and political components intertwine.”
By Yulia Leonova
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The exhibition of evening and wedding dresses, ‘Mir Couture’, will be held in the castle until September 15th, 2016. The project will then go to France.