A new exhibition opened at one of the pavillions of the VDNKh park in Moscow, presenting an overview of Russian fashion in the last 100 years. VDNKh is called “park” somewhat euphemistically: designed as a permanent kind of world fair to show the merits of Soviet agriculture and other aspects of the economy (such as radioelectronics and cosmonautics), the territory of the park is larger than the municipality of Monaco, and comprises over 400 buildings.
A place for architects to go all out on facades
In its heyday the park was a popular place for leisure, exhibitions and conferences of all kinds, and was an experimenting ground for some of the best architects of the Soviet Union to go all out in designing exquisite facades. Since the fall of the Soviet Union these unique structures fell into decay and the park itself turned into a shady market-place. Luckily, the VDNKh is now being restored in its former glory, and is yet again becoming the home of many interesting exhibitions.
If you have time for fashion, you’re not working hard enough.
The exhibition “100 years of Russian fashion” is located in the former pavillion of Leningrad, as St. Petersburg used to be called, and shows items from the impressive personal collection of fashion historian Alexander Vasilyev. A balanced travel in time, starting with the delicate evening wear of the Russian beau monde slightly before the October revolution, and ending with recent creations of contemporary greats like Ulyana Sergeenko.
Not so uniform afterall
Displays with accessories show typical items from USSR fashion history, such as shoes of cloth, as well as items imported from Europe and China. The image of uniformity stuck to the Soviet period seems to be based mostly on the Stalin era, in which the idea was formulated that a woman who pays too much attention to her appearance is not working hard enough. Even in this era, however, Russians found a way to work around the crack-downs on clothing ateliers and beauty salons.