10 January 2017 | By Guest
09 January 2017 | By Guest
19 November 2016 | By Guest
17 November 2016 | By Guest
15 November 2016 | By Guest
31 October 2016 | By Guest
02 August 2016 | By Guest
02 August 2016 | By Guest
18 May 2016 | By Guest
17 May 2016 | By Guest
13 May 2016 | By Guest
31 March 2016 | By Guest
13 January 2016 | By Guest
27 October 2015 | By Guest
28 July 2015 | By Guest
06 July 2015 | By Guest
05 May 2015 | By Guest
11 March 2015 | By Bazarov
16 February 2015 | By Ivan Sollertinsky
16 December 2014 | By Isabel Stockholm
11 December 2014 | By Bazarov
15 October 2014 | By Mollie Arbuthnot
25 September 2014 | By
13 August 2014 | By Bazarov
07 August 2014 | By Eugenia Ellanskaya
29 July 2014 | By Alex Chiriac
21 July 2014 | By Alex Chiriac
12 May 2014 | By Rachel Hajek
28 April 2014 | By Rachel Hajek
14 April 2014 | By Josephine Roulet
08 April 2014 | By Alex Chiriac
24 March 2014 | By Renée-Claude Landry
19 March 2014 | By Rosie Rockel
10 March 2014 | By Bazarov
03 March 2014 | By Rosie Rockel
24 February 2014 | By Ellie Pavey
17 February 2014 | By Robert Chandler Chandler
10 February 2014 | By Bazarov
03 February 2014 | By Paul Rennie
27 January 2014 | By Bazarov
11 December 2013 | By Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky
05 December 2013 | By Bazarov
05 November 2013 | By Bazarov
28 September 2013 | By Bazarov
31 July 2013 | By Richard Barling
25 April 2013 | By Richard Barling
18 April 2013 | By Richard Barling
17 May 2016 | By Guest
Being a press genre of a generally unpolitical nature, fashion magazines very rarely instrumentalise political symbolism for their purposes, with the exception of fashion journalism in the era of the Soviet Union, when it was internationally a common practice to mock the "Comrades" for their lack of attention towards fashion and female elegance. When Stalinism was flourishing in the 1930s, American Vogue published what must be the wittiest illustration the periodical has ever produced, depicting an imagined conversation between the dictator of Soviet Russia, Stalin, and the dictator of Paris Fashion, Elsa Schiaparelli. Published in the mid-June 1936 issue, the "Impossible Interview: Stalin versus Schiaparelli" illustrated by Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias shows the protagonists in a heated dispute over the Soviet woman's entitlement to fashion:
Stalin: What are you doing up here, Dressmaker?
Schiaparelli: I am getting a bird's-eye view of your women's fashions, Man of Steel.
Stalin: Can't you leave our women alone?
Schiaparelli: They don't want to be left alone. The want to look like the other women of the world.
Stalin: What! Like those hip-less, bust-less scare-crows of your dying civilizations?
Schiaparelli: Already they admire our mannequins and models. Sooner or later they'll come to our ideals.
Stalin: Not while Soviet ideology persists.
Schiaparelli: Look below you, Man of Steel. Look at the beauty parlours and permanent-wave machines springing up. The next step is fashion. In a few years, you won't see kerchiefs on heads any more.
Stalin: You underestimate the serious goals of Soviet women.
Schiaparelli: You underestimate their natural vanity.
Stalin: Perhaps I had better cut your parachute down!
Schiaparelli: A hundred other couturiers would replace me.
Stalin: In that case, cut my ropes!
Other than serving a merely satirical intention, this Vogue page pinpoints a development in Soviet dress behaviour in the years following the systematic undermining of fashion and sartorial luxury in the 1920s and hints at Elsa Schiaparelli's attempt to dress the Russian woman in 1935. Being criticized by fashion journalists for being poorly dressed, female workers of the USSR required a helping hand, which the Soviet government planned to provide in Elsa Schiaparelli. In winter of 1935 she was invited to visit Moscow and design suitable workwear for the female population of Russia, coinciding with the opening of the Dom Modelei (House of Prototypes). Following this invitation, Schiaparelli set out for Moscow in November of 1935, accompanied by British photographer Cecil Beaton, to present her capsule collection, attend social functions and even visit the Kremlin’s treasury. For dressing the Soviet woman, she had envisioned a practical black wool jersey dress with a little turn-over collar of white piqué and a box calf belt, combined with a simple three-quarter coat of red felt with large black buttons, both with a little knitted hat reminiscent of a military pilotka cap. At the first Soviet Trade Fair in Moscow (the first capitalistic exhibition of its kind in the USSR), Schiaparelli’s inventions were presented to their target audience, failing to cause the expected enthusiasm about a leading Paris couturière designing for Russia's women. Schiaparelli’s coat and dress ensemble never went into production for authorities saw a danger in the big pockets on both garments and predicted that they would most likely attract pickpockets on the Metro. While the Paris designs eventually missed their intended effect on Russian dressing habits, the Russian capital seemed to have made a visible impact on Schiaparelli. Returning to Paris, she introduced parachute-skirt dresses in her spring 1936 collection, inspired by the parachute jumpers she saw during her trip to Russia. American Vogue concluded: "Practically every single time that Schiaparelli buys a railway ticket, there are fruitful consequences for this world of ours".