Sheepskin coats, Bolshevik military uniform, bast shoes, felt boots, sarafans, Orenburg downy shawls, Ballets Russes, Constructivism, Tsarist Russia, Soviet times, Byzantine jewelry and Slavic folklore – for a talented designer Russian culture is a fount of inspiration.
Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Antonio Marras for Kenzo,Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, all of them were inspired by Russian traditions at different time.
Different reinterpretations have brought many unique and equally stunning Russian themed collections in the history of fashion.
We recall the Yves Saint Laurent’s famous collection of 1976 which Yves himself called it his “Russian Collection.” The collection was tremendously beautiful in its excess and opulence.
Recent Chanel’s Paris-Moscou pre-Fall 2009/2010 collection was an excursions into Coco Chanel’s exotic history with men: Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, Igor Stravinsky and the Russian inspirations -the Ballets Russes and Slavic folklore.
John Galliano’s 2009/2010 Ready-To-Wear collection greatly inspired by Russian-Balkan folklore. The designer took the basic shapes of the national costumes and exaggerated in his own unique way.
The image of a romantic young lady in a linen shirt with embroidery, tightened at the waist inspired Soviet fashionistas and à la russe was demanded in the Soviet Union till the disco- 80th came, which were indifferent to folk and even despised it a little, by announcing it old-fashioned.
In the 90th Perestroika was coming in and everything radically changed. Fashion is a social phenomenon and related to politics too. Interest to Russia increased, because Russia was collapsing and changing. A whole generation of designers began to use Russian motifs to show them to the West, but all attempts to conquer the western clients with Russian folk inspired style continued until the mid-zeros and have by now calmed down.
Souvenirs will be souvenirs. Western consumer has very different requirements- the clothes should be understandable, fashionable, and of high quality. Fashion brand should be French or Italian.
Still…every cloud has a silver lining.
Not properly understood Russian designer turned his eyes on native lands, where felt boots, sheepskin coats, downy shawls, knitted gloves, natural linen are still useful and loved.
We are admiring the designers who manage to create a trendy and modern product, delicately inscribing a folklore theme in it. The designer feels the trends and desires of modern women, who wants to be a beautiful woman, individuality but not an advertisement of her motherland!