Moscow show recalls fashion behind the Iron Curtain

Mon May 14, 2012 11:31am EDT
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By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A sweeping new Moscow fashion exhibit illustrates the evolution of Soviet couture behind the Iron Curtain from the post World War One era to Perestroika.

"Fashion behind the Iron Curtain" at the 16th-century Tsaritsyno estate on Moscow's outskirts spans seven decades of female coquetry, describing how Soviet women made do with silk night gowns for theatre, acquired designer items and scrounged for fabric to satisfy a hunger for style in spite of shortages.

The retrospective offers glimpses of the sophisticated, Western-inspired dress of the Communist-era elite.

Elegant crepe-de-Chine dresses, furs, evening gloves, hats and designer heels worn by famous ballerinas, actresses and other personalities draw an arc through history displaying over 1,000 looks from 1920s to 1990s.

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's daughter Galina shocked her peers with a risqué floral mini dress, while ballerina Galina Ulanova wore Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, inaccessible to most at the height of the Cold War.

Visitors have flocked to the exhibit open through mid-June to see other looks, such as the sexy red strapless dress that earned Soviet actress Klara Luchko the nickname the "Red Bomb" at the 1962 Cannes film festival.

Fashion is a rare window into history that speaks to the modern-day, style-conscious public, exhibit curator Irina Korotkikh said.

"The main purpose is to show to the young and those who lived under the USSR that fashion did exist," she told Reuters.   Continued...

An employee keeps watch near exhibits at the "Fashion behind the Iron Curtain" exhibition in Moscow April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Nastassia Astrasheuskaya