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April 20, 2014

Beautiful Women's Fashions in the Soviet Union From the 1960s and 1970s

Fashion in the Soviet Union largely followed general trends of the Western world. However, the state’s socialist ideology consistently moderated and influenced these trends. In addition, shortages of consumer goods meant that the general public did not have ready access to pre-made fashion.

The Khrushchev Thaw brought a greater representation of Western fashion to domestic media. Journalists were sent abroad to report on the latest international fashion trends. However, state-owned fashion institutions and magazines moderated these trends for Soviet audiences. Fashion "crazes" were rejected in favor of classic, long-running styles. In addition, moderation and modesty were stressed.

Coco Chanel’s signature style, for example, was particularly admired as a symbol of timelessness and simple sophistication. An article in the New York Times from 1959 slammed Soviet fashions as unremarkable, "clumsy copies" of outdated Western forms. Availability of these styles, however, was on the rise. Shops like the newly reopened GUM department store now carried the new fashions, albeit at high prices.

By the end of the 1960s, Soviet fashion institutions, like the centralized fashion bureau ODMO (All-Union House of Prototypes), were embracing increasingly novel Western trends. At the same time, there was still a need to establish distinctively Soviet fashions. "Space fashion," for example, fit directly into state ideology by glorifying a triumph of Soviet science.



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