Soviet fashion during 1960-1980

Brezhnev’s era was called a “period of stagnation”, but in the fashion industry this period was even more progressive then Stalin years.

In 1967, the country celebrated a great jubilee – the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. Among the other ceremonial events of this important date, Chanel fashion house was invited with their show to Moscow.

In 60’s  there were a lot of different fairs and exhibitions of Western firms, but the goods from the Western countries distributed among the elite. Closed stores and shopping centers, such as the famous 100th section of GUM “distributed” Western goods, mainly Finnish and Austrian for special coupons. The thing wasn’t valued by its design or authorship, but only by the origin. For example “Italian” or “French” meant automatically “chic”.

There was a network of closed shops, called “Berezka” (Birch). The currency there were special certificates, which were received as a part of their wages some Soviet citizens – embassy staff, members of Aeroflot, sailors, etc.

Open Soviet trade was something quite depressing – both in service and assortment of goods, but rather – in their total absence. It was a time of “deficit.” If product of interest appeared in the shop, no one would say about it “in sale”, it was called “thrown” and the thing was sold within few hours. Long queues were a part of the process..

The idea of fashion as a whole was not encouraged by official ideology as it was considered unnecessary, even harmful and corrupting.

The advanced in fashion industry in USSR countries were Baltic republics – Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius had their own successful fashion and model houses, but also published their own fashion magazines. The most famous was Tallinn magazine “Silhouette” – without exaggeration one can  call it the Soviet “Vogue”.

Fashion show, GUM 24th July, 1960. Moscow.



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