Soviet Fashion Illustrations (1967)

Continuing with the historic voyage through fashion illustrations, I have found these illustrations, part of an art album dating 1967. They are Soviet fashion illustrations and I have never seen one of these before! It is interesting to see how Soviet fashion saw itself influenced or affected by Western fashion, considering the Iron Curtain effect on the former USSR. As you all may remember, the Cold War was essentially a non-weaponised (no weapons were fired but fear of nuclear attacks were imminent) conflict between the Western capitalist nations (headed by the USA) and the Eastern European countries (starting with the USSR), which were communist.

The cover seems inspired by Constructivism, although Socialist Realism was the art movement in vogue during this period in the USSR.

Doing my bit of research on the Internet, I found out that the Soviet Constructivism movement finalised around the 1940s. Its main goal was to use art for Communist propaganda purposes and mediums such as the poster and flyer were preferred. By 1967, however, when the Soviets seemed to be gaining in the race to reach the moon (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin visited space in 1967– two years before the first American spaceship landed on the moon), Socialist Realism was the main art movement in the Soviet Union.

How curious it is to see, therefore, a Soviet fashion art book with collage-style illustrations that remind us of the earlier days of Communist triumph. Fashion was, if we reason Communist ideals, a ‘bourgeoise’ commodity. I personally doubt it was well represented in Soviet society and I would expect that it was frowned upon by the political leaders of its time.

This is one of the pages of the Soviet Art book with fashion illustrations. Notice the flats carefully drawn below each dress style.

Moreover, the dress style of these illustrations are parallel to Western dress silhouettes. One must wonder if the Iron Curtain was enough to keep Western influence from penetrating through Soviet society, if fashion maybe encouraged mutual comprehension where political and socio-economic ideals prohibit it.

Why use other visual aesthetics that are contrary to what was being depicted in art at the moment? What purpose could these illustrations have beyond their obvious reason for existence? How can we compare them to Western fashion illustrations? DO they remind you of specific illustrations/illustrators? Let me know your opinions!

Another Soviet fashion illustration/art book. This one is from 1968, a year later.

Part of the 1968 Soviet art book.

Jackets, peacoats, and trenchcoats


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