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Odessa stories: how fashion trend was set in the 19th century


The world of Odessa fashion in the 19th century stood on three pillars. The real names of these tailors were: Lazar Moiseevich, Lev Naumovich and Abram Gnatovich. But their public names were: Tesier, Dutfua and Morishansky-Morishar.

Since the rich ladies wanted to be sewn by French craftsmen, becoming a Frenchman was a necessity for an amitious tailor. But becoming a tailor in Odessa could be also a big problem.

It all started with the French mayor of Odessa, Count Langeron. The trendsetter of fashion, as was the use in large cities of the Russian Empire, was usually the wife of the mayor. In Odessa too. And the showing off of styles took place at balls or in masquerades.

Moreover, under him, Odessa acquired the status of “Porto Franco”: tax exemption on imported goods (duty free). The duty began at the border: on Staroportofrankovskaya street. It was impossible to smuggle the scarce fabric across the border without a duty, and therefore the fabric in the form of dresses began to be carried by enterprising Odessa citizens. The imported fabrics were accompanied by French fashion magazines.