The Russian Fashion Blog

I’ve been preparing for a talk I’ll be giving at the Antique Textile Fair in Manchester on Sunday.  The subject is ‘Ivanovo – the Russian Manchester, and the story of printed textiles in Russia’. I was looking on the web to see if there was anything about Russian textiles being used by contemporary designers and didn’t find much, apart from references to Slava Zaitsev, about whom I’ve written before. But I had a lovely time finding out about the Russian fashion industry. Yes, I realise this was largely procrastination! One positive outcome was that I discovered The Russian Fashion Blog, all of which I found fascinating, but particularly the posts about historical dress and textiles.  Here are a few highlights:

A Brief History of the Sarafan

Russian Embroidery

Soviet Textiles: Wearable Propaganda

Traditional Russian Scarves

The Kokoshnik Story

I think my idea of finding information for my talk about new designers using specifically Russian textiles, with references to traditional Russian motifs and forms, is unrealistic. It seems this approach is out of date. In the last quarter of the 20th century many Russian couturiers did base their collections around references to their own style heritage.  I don’t think this was because they were somewhat insular, but rather that they had their eye on potential foreign customers – that they were aware of the West’s fascination with the exotic East (ie Eastern Europe, rather than the Far East..), and love of the folk/ethnic/peasant look, that never seems to go away entirely. But now Russian designers aspire to succeed in the global marketplace without drawing attention to their ‘Russian-ness’.

The Russian Fashion Blog reposts a September 2011 article entitled ‘No more Gzhel and fur hats!’, about the fashion designer, Igor Chapurin. (Gzhel is the distinctive folksy blue-and-white Russian china – ie a possible source of inspiration for artists in other fields, such as fashion.) Chapurin was asked:

Are you annoyed about the exploitation by Russian fashion designers of their Russian roots and national identity? Maybe they should become more West-oriented?

IC: I’m sure that the West is no longer interested in Russian dolls, traditional primitivistic style or ear-flapped fur hats. The world fashion industry is ready for the period when Russian designers will be judged not only by ethnographic factors but from a perspective of their topicality, relevance, quality – that is, the same which applies to Holland, Belgium or Italian fashion designers.

I like the comments of the Russian Fashion Blog blogger, who is clearly much younger than either Chapurin or me. She refreshingly suggests that this looking back – even mentioning it in order to dismiss it – is irrelevant (and irritating) to today’s fashion scene in Russia.

My good friend Djurdja Bartlett, who lectures at the London College of Fashion and has written extensively about fashion in eastern Europe and its relationship with the West, began her own blog in 2012 with a post discussing this issue of ‘ethnic style’ – ‘Is there time and place for national aesthetics in fashion?: the case of Russian fashion designers’.

 

mercedes-benz_fashion_week_russia2

The designer of this poster references Gzhel blue-and-white china

model-2-zaitsev_1549008a

0e0c4b4ede3299b2f8957497005a68e7

Two designs by Slava Zaitsev

vika-5

Designs by Vika Gazinskaya (click on her name to see an article from the Calvert Journal)

 

- Are you annoyed about the exploitation by Russian fashion designers of their Russian routs and national identity? Maybe they should become more West-oriented? – I’m sure that West is no longer interested in Russian dolls, traditional primitivistic style or earflapped fur hats. The world fashion industry is ready for the period when Russian designers will be judged not only by ethnographic factors, but from a perspective of their topicality, relevance, quality, that is, the same which applies to Holland, Belgium or Italian fashion designers. – See more at: http://www.russia-ic.com/ppl_articles/interviews/1450/#.Uw9hQF6t5xM
- Are you annoyed about the exploitation by Russian fashion designers of their Russian routs and national identity? Maybe they should become more West-oriented? – I’m sure that West is no longer interested in Russian dolls, traditional primitivistic style or earflapped fur hats. The world fashion industry is ready for the period when Russian designers will be judged not only by ethnographic factors, but from a perspective of their topicality, relevance, quality, that is, the same which applies to Holland, Belgium or Italian fashion designers. – See more at: http://www.russia-ic.com/ppl_articles/interviews/1450/#.Uw9hQF6t5xM
- Are you annoyed about the exploitation by Russian fashion designers of their Russian routs and national identity? Maybe they should become more West-oriented? – I’m sure that West is no longer interested in Russian dolls, traditional primitivistic style or earflapped fur hats. The world fashion industry is ready for the period when Russian designers will be judged not only by ethnographic factors, but from a perspective of their topicality, relevance, quality, that is, the same which applies to Holland, Belgium or Italian fashion designers. – See more at: http://www.russia-ic.com/ppl_articles/interviews/1450/#.Uw9hQF6t5xM
- Are you annoyed about the exploitation by Russian fashion designers of their Russian routs and national identity? Maybe they should become more West-oriented? – I’m sure that West is no longer interested in Russian dolls, traditional primitivistic style or earflapped fur hats. The world fashion industry is ready for the period when Russian designers will be judged not only by ethnographic factors, but from a perspective of their topicality, relevance, quality, that is, the same which applies to Holland, Belgium or Italian fashion designers. – See more at: http://www.russia-ic.com/ppl_articles/interviews/1450/#.Uw9hQF6t5xM

 

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply