In May I was lucky enough to visit the fashion exhibition "Grazyna Hase. Always in Vogue" in the Museum of Warsaw. Grazyna Hase is recognised as one of Poland's pre-eminent fashion designers. Her style is characterised by the latest fashion trends, practicality, emphasis on excellent cuts and fabrics. Her success is a result is her awareness that fashion is a vital and yet undervalued element of culture.
The clothes, designs and photographs on display at the exhibition prove this beyond all doubt: Grazyna Hase is always in vogue.
The Girl of the Thaw. The first photos of Grazyna Hase as a model were executed in 1957. This is when she took part in photojournalist-style photo shoots posing for her photographer friend Wanda Gawronska, who was preparing a human-interest story about everyday life in post-war Warsaw. Hase appeared on the covers of popular Polish weeklies, such as Przekroj, Kobieta i Zycie or the teen magazine Filipinka.
Grazyna Hase, 1957
Professional Model. Grazyna Hase began her professional modelling career in 1958, when she was hired by Central Laboratory of Cooperative Labour in Warsaw, promoting latest fashion trends in the offerings of clothing cooperatives. One of her first commissions was the participation in an international fashion show in Budapest. The modelling work at that time mostly involved long hours of posting in dressmaker's workshops, much less frequently models would appear at official fashion shows or special photographic sessions.
Grazyna Hase at a photo shoot for the Leda fashion house, 1965
Grazyna Hase and Andrzej Kurylewicz at a photo shoot for the Przekroj magazine, 1966
Grazyna Hase became a model at the age of 18. She exuded youthful charm, which distinguished her from the image of a cool, mature woman prevalent at the time in fashion magazines.
In the West, youth and youthfulness were-just beginning to make their way to fashion magazines - this new development reflected changes in the lifestyle of the rising post-war baby boom generation. The rebellion of its representatives against the ideals, customs, and fashion of the older generation became a sign of the new times.
In 1955, Warsaw hosted the 5th World Festival of Youth and Students. Thousands of young people from all over the world brought new energy, music, dance and entertainment to the city, reviving a general interest in the West.
Grazyna Hase actively participated in Warsaw's cultural and social life, which thrived in popular cafes, jazz cellars or at the swimming pools of Legia sports club.
Grazyna Hase at a photo shoot for Warsaw Clothing Manufacture Company, 1966
Przekroj Magazine. In 1960, Grazyna Hase began her collaboration with Barbara Hoff, a journalist and very popular young adults fashion designer, who between 1954 and 2002 wrote a fashion column for the Przekroj weekly. The magazine published photos featuring Hase presenting Hoff's "own collections". In these photographs Grazyna was always signed with her own name, and during the sessions she was often accompanied by well-known actresses and actors, musicians and her husband Wowo Bielicki, the co-founder and director at the Bim-Bom theater. The couple married in 1967 - during the ceremony the bride appeared in dresses of her own design and a coat presented by Jadwiga Grabowska.
From the left to the right:
Dress with frills, 1961, designed by Barbara Hoff, made by Grazyna Hase.
Grazyna Hase's pink wedding coat, 1967, designed by Jadwiga Grabowska, made by Moda Polska.
Grazyna Hase's pink wedding dress, 1967, designed by Grazyna Hase.
Grazyna Hase in the courtyard of the Historical Museum of Warsaw, 1958
Grazyna Hase in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, 1957
Kozak Look. In 1967, Grazyna Hase produced a collection drawing upon Russian history and culture. As part of the events marking 50th anniversary of the October Revolution a show of her designs was planned. The presentation of the collection took place in the student union Dziekanka. The collection was a success. Polish and foreign press commended the witty references to Russian traditions as well as the modern form of the garments.
Grazyna Hase in the skirt suit Lenin at the show of the Kozak Look collection, 1967;
Lenin skirt suit - replica from the Kozak Look collection, 2003; Tie-cravat, 1995
Model Izabela Lapka in the Tsarevna dress at the show of the Kozak Look collection, 1967; The Tsarevna dress and cap - replica of an outfit from the Kozak Look collection, 2003; Design for the Tsarevna dress, 1967
Show of the Kozak Look, 1967
Golden winter boots from Kozak Look collection, 1967
The Military-Style Collection. In 1968, several months after her debut, Hase designed a military-themed collection. The work of these projects was preceded by her visits to the warehouses of the Polish Army Museum. A series of costumes was produced referring to uniforms from various periods. The collection was showcased in the form of extravaganza directed by Wowo Bielicki and immediately gained recognition in the press. The designer recalls that when this line hit the shops, it sold out within an hour.
Design for the skirt suit "The Duchy of Warsaw" from military-style collection, 1968
Preparations for the in-house presentation of the military-style collection, 1968
Photo shoot for the military-style collection, 1968
Cora Clothing Manufacture Company. Grazyna Hase's collaboration with Cora Clothing Manufacture Company became formalized in the early 1970s, when she joined the factory's team of designers. Before long, her name became the company's trademark, also in foreign contracts - Hase's collections were successfully presented in Paris, Hamburg, Moscow and Toronto. In 1972, the designer invited Malgorzata Krzewinska (latter Malgorzata Niemen), who became Poland's most famous model, to cooperate with her. When in imitation of the Western boutiques Boutique Cora was opened in Warsaw, Hase took it under her patronage. The designer's cooperation with Cora continued into the mid-1970s.
Photo shoot for CMC Cora, 1968
Green jumpsuit with a sailboat applique, 1972, Cora Clothing Manufacture Company
Orange coat, 1972, Green trousers, early 1970s, Orange hat, 1980s, CMC Cora
Sailor beret and Blue outfit with a sailor collar, 1972 CMC Cora
Checked jacket, early 1970s, CMC Cora; Trousers, 1995, Grazyna Hase Gallery
Photo shoot for CMC Cora (model Malgorzata Krzewinska), early 1970s
Black sailor beret, 1980s, Gallery of Grazyna Hase
White coat with a hood, 1970s, CMC Cora; Coat with a belt, early 1970s, CMC Cora
Design for a sweater and fringed skirt, and for a blouse and skirt, made during Hase's stay in London, 1970
Elzbieta Dmoch, member of the band 2 plus 1,
during a concert at the Sopot Festival, in a costume designed by Grazyna Hase, 1975 and 1978
Polska magazine, 1969. no4
Cepelia. In 1969, Grazyna Hase designed a collection of sheepskin coats for the prestigious New York showroom of Cepelia (central Union of Folk Art and Handicraft Cooperatives). Her cooperation with Cepelia continued during the following decade. On commission from Cepelia's subsidiary Moda Damska (later renamed Moda i Styl) cooperative, Hase executed a series of outfits for young women. The designer juggled freely with elements drawn from folklore, throwing into relief the artistic values of folk handicraft. The clothes she designed on that occasion, contemporary and functional, produced in small batches, were available, for example, in the boutique on the corner of Chmielna and Nowy Swiat streets. They tied in well with the fashion for folklore and "hippies" style, which were hugely popular during the 1970s. Grazyna Hase returned to these ideas in the 1990s.
Photo shoot for the collection of silk dresses, mid-1970s
Photo shoot for the a Cepelia collection in Lazienki Krolewakie (Royal Baths Park), 1975
Photo shoot on Plac Konstytucji (modelled by Malgorzata Krzewinska, with Grazyna Hase behind her), 1974
The New Generation. In 1975, Hase designed a collection of clothes commissioned from Centrum Department Stores. She called it Blue Arrow, as it was dominated by blue knitwear, bringing to mind the highly fashionable denim. As genuine Levi's or Wranglers were hard to come by and pricey at the time, shops offered a very limited supply of teksasy, Polish imitations of these trousers. The slim-fit jackets, bell-bottomed trousers, shorts and hats designed by Hase appealed to young people. The presentation of the collection was entrusted to fashion models from the Nowe Pokolenie (New Generation) team. Conceived and managed by Grazyna Hase, Wowo Bielicki and Agencja Reklama, Nowe Pokolenie was a group of young people selected in casting calls and trained to participate in a variety of shows, including fashion shows or TV shows.
Photo shoot on the rooftop of the Centrum Department Stores, Blue Arrow collection, 1975 .
Photo shoot for CMC Cora, early 1970s.
Photo shoot for Studio Mody (Fashion Studio), 1977.
Business outfits. Clothes designed by Hase were prized for their elegance and practicality, so it comes as no surprise that she was frequently commissioned to design business attire and uniforms for female and male employees of various institutions, especially those striving to present themselves as modern and luxurious. In the 1970s, she was contracted to design official uniforms for the Polish Airlines' crew as well as the hotels Forum, Victoria and Kasprowy. Hase would come back to the theme of business clothes a few more times: she designed outfits for the staff of the Blikle bakeries, a modern milk plant in Warsaw's Wola district as well as health care workers. She also designed sport outfits, including jackets for Polish rally drivers and accessories for the Polish Olympic teams in 2000 and 2002. In 1978, she made a young adult collection, which tapped into the emotions of football fans during the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
LOT Polish Airlines air hostess, 1978
The SPHW Fashion Studio. In 1975, Grazyna Hase began her cooperation with SPHW (Stoleczne Przedsiebiorstwo Handlu Wewnetrznego - Warsaw Internal Trade Enterprise), an institution supervising the supply of shops in Warsaw. This is when Studio Mody (Fashion Studio) with Hase at the helm, was established, with the aim of preparing designs of clothes, which were later made in small batches by various manufacturers. In 1979, a boutique called Bawelniany Swiat Grazyny Hase (Grazyna Hase's Cotton World) opened its doors in the Ochota district, at 22/24 Grojecka Street. Its offer was a result of a collaboration between SPHW and Zjednoczenie Przemyslu Bawelnianego (Union of Cotton Industry). The shop sold a variety of fabrics from several manufacturers as well as off-the-peg clothes designed by Hase. Occasional fashion shows were an additional attraction. The designer also regularly published drawings and comments publicizing her collections in the Sztandar Mlodych daily and popular glossy weekly magazines.
Floral dress, late 1970s; Orange shirt, 1980s; Black dress, 1979; Horn necklace, 1990s; Navy blue dress, 1979; Horn necklace, 1990s.
Hase's Clothing Lines. Grazyna Hase's designs from the 1980s illustrate the paradoxes of Poland's everyday life during that decade - the deepening economic and political crisis and continuous shortages, contrasting with glamour trends making their way from the West. In her designs Hase made imaginative use of unusual fabrics, such as damask used to make duvets. During the late 1980s and early 1990s she created the extravagant carnival collection Piora na schodach (Feathers on Stairs), as well as expressive, retro-style woolen and linen jumpsuits and dresses, evening dresses-tunics made of painted silk, elegant dresses using silk jacquards woven in the textile plant in Milanowek. At the same time, Hase designed a series of ready-to-wear clothing - casual skirts, shorts and dresses in vivid colours and evocative patterns.
Photo shoot for Grazyna Hase's carnival collection (modelled by Malgorzata Niemen), 1981
Brand creator. Grazyna Hase consistently signed her designs with her own name. She made a point of it from the earliest stages of her career, despite the mindset prevailing during the communist era, which deemphasized the role of a designer and sanctioned the anonymity of designs. She negotiated contracts guaranteeing her the copyright of her collections. On account of her involvement in the process of garment making, sale and promotion, Hase's name became something of a brand, widely recognizable and associated with unassuming elegance. This style was personified by the designer herself, who inventively crafted her own look and was open to new trends in fashion and life challenges.
In 1980, Hase founded Grazyna Hase Gallery, intended as her own atelier, a place to design and exhibit fashion. Even though the designer certainly showed her mettle in the role of an art dealer, she continued launching new collections. Her clothes, made in single copies or small batches, were marked with sawn-in brand name tags and labels.
Mustard jacket with large pockets, 1980s; Burgundy skirt, 1980s-1990s; Black jumpsuit, 1970s-1980s; Polka-dot jumpsuit, 1970s-1980s; Amaranth damask jumpsuit, early 1980s; Crushed velvet and damask jacket, the so-called kufajka, early 1980s.
All: Grazyna Hase Gallery
Grazyna Hase Gallery was housed in a townhouse at 6 Marszalkowska steet, in the suite number 2. Its logo, consisting of the initials GGH written in a square, was designed by graphic artist Wojciech Freudenreich. In her establishment, Hase organized exhibitions of paintings and graphics, as well as happenings, balls and social gatherings. Needless to say, fashion shows and photo shoots would happen there as well. In the gallery premises on Marszalkowska steet, or in one of its branches, customers could also purchase clothes and accessories designed by Hase and other male and female fashion designers. By and by, the establishment on Marszalkowska steet became an archive holding the documentation of Grazyna Hase's output.
Photo shoot for Grazyna Hase Gallery (modelled by Ewa Wajnert), 1987
Black jacket with red stripes, 1980s-1990s; Red skirt, 1990s; Black jacket with haberdashery, 1990s; Black trousers with red stripes, 1980s-1990s; "Safari" hat, 1993; Safari-style outfit - a skirt and a blouse, 1993; Beanie with a tassel, 1995; Black skirt suit with bright stripes, 1995. All: Grazyna Hase Gallery
Summer hat, 1990s; Dress with blue checks, 1995; Dress with a shawl;
Black linen dress with polka dots, 1989; Black and white dress, 1989
Dress with a flounce made of feathers, from the carnival collection Feathers on Stairs - Night Birds, 1990;
Hat with feathers, early 1990s
Models in front of Grazyna Hase Gallery, 1991
Photo shoot for Grazyna Hase's Gallery collection, 1990s
Pancake hat, 1990s; Alexis dress, 1990s
Curiosities. During the 1990s, many unique designs saw the light of day in Grazyna Hase's atelier. Predominantly there were impressive evening dresses, often made of silk from Milanowek. The designer had a say in decisions about the colours of taffetas and jacquards, and invented patterns printed on fabrics. Tunic dresses were decorated with hand-painted motifs referencing paintings by Wojciech Fangor, Joan Miro or Paul Klee. At the request of Grazyna Hase, several patterns of pre-war Milanowek jacquards were recreated - ones with motifs of scales, oak leaves and small flowers. Hase used them in her designs of party dresses, eg. the Syrena dress with a flounce imitating a fish tail.
Silk taffeta evening gown, 1990s; Dress with an oak-leaf motif, 1993;
Handbag with an oak-leaves motif, 1993; Syrena evening gown, 1993.
Show of Grazyna Hase's collection in Bialystok, 2012
Black hat, 1990s; Dress with a motif inspired by Joan Miro's paintings, early 1990s; Black toque, 1990s;
Dress with a motif inspired by Wojciech Fangor's paintings, early 1990s; Black hat. 1990s; Painted silk dress with a slip, early 1990s.
The Lecturer. Aware of the prime importance of the designer's technique, Grazyna Hase gives lectures and workshops for students of fashion design. Such courses were held, among other places, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, the Radom Technical University and the School of Form in Poznan. The designer also accepts invitations to participate in events popularising phenomena related the the history of Polish fashion in the second half of the 20th century.
Grazyna Hase for Vogue, 2019; Show of Grazyna Hase's collection in Bialystok, 2012