SUMMARY
Summary

The Fashion System. A seminal text in fashion theory, this book marked a key turning point in the study of costume. For the first time, the study of fashion as a phenomenon became a legitimate exercise, with dress and the system of values it promotes being seen as independent phe­nomena. Two features of Barthes’ work are perhaps most noteworthy: it established fashion as an independent analytical discipline, whilst at the same time evaluating dress within the framework of the concept of language. Language and fashion were seen by Barthes as an ideological system connected with the production of repressive meaning. The book gave rise to a long-running debate on the possibilities of the linguistic method, and on the possibilities of the structural treatment of fashion, per se. The critical debate engendered by The Fashion System perhaps holds an even more important place in fashion theory, than does the original text itself. Ekaterina Vasilieva’s article analyses Barthes’ con­cept of fashion and language, looking at the analytical vectors born of The Fashion System.

This issue’s Dress section opens with Richard Wrigley’s Revolution­ary Relics: Survival and Consecration. The paper looks at the turbulent political and social landscape of revolutionary France, in which dress played a major role in defining and displaying new identities. What people wore was, in fact, a vital symbol of their allegiances and beliefs. In the political culture of revolutionary France, dress played many com­plex and powerfully symbolic roles, but the costumes, clothes, badges, and insignia themselves have all but disappeared. This absence is not, however, simply the result of a gradual and inevitable process of ma­terial disintegration and accidental disposal. There is a history to be reconstructed, which embraces the transformation of dress from an active ingredient in political culture, and a means of representing that culture, to a conservable and collectable object. In practice, this encom­passes a transition which moves from the domain of the personal pos­session, passed down either through networks of family, friendship, and shared allegiance, or through a commercial market, supplying pri­vate collections, which were in turn often donated to public museums. Under what conditions, and by virtue of what attitudes and values, did dress survive or disappear? The answer to this question is not, of course, merely a matter of reconstructing the ‘life cycle’ of clothes, in terms of calibrating their variable material durability, and consequent rarity. It is, rather, a matter of locating the history of such survival, and of attitudes to dress and costume as an expression of the past, within a larger framework of diverse and dissonant attitudes to the Revolution.

Naomi Lubrich in her article The Little White Dress: Politics and Polyvalence in Revolutionary France focuses on the way the slim, sim­ple chemise of the 1800s came into fashion at the outbreak of the French Revolution. Believed to be a sartorial tribute to democracy modelled on an ancient Greek women’s gown, the dress became a staple of neo­classical style. In fact, however, its genealogy is much more complex. It was first worn by the French queen, whose reference was Caribbe­an, not Greek. Thereafter, Napolйon used the dress in an imperial con­text, shifting its meaning from Greece to Rome in line with his political agenda. Women’s magazines depicted the dress in yet another fashion, presenting exotic accessories to go along with the dress, such as liana-vines, Oriental-style tunics, and chain-link necklaces. Looking at these accessories, and at magazine descriptions, backgrounds, and stories, this essay shows how polyvalent the dress was. It brought to discussion a number of changing ideas about social politics, including colonialism, Jewish emancipation, and the abolition of slavery.

Pascale Gorguet Ballesteros contributes Women in Trousers: Henri-ette d’Angeville, a French Pioneer? The story of Amelia Jenks Bloomer and her Turkish trousers figures prominently in discussions of the ori­gins of female trousers. However, the little-known episode of Henriette d’Angeville’s mountain out t sheds new light on this history. Angeville wore trousers in 1838 to climb Mont Blanc as a sensible choice for what was a strenuous enterprise. This early example of a woman wearing trou­sers in a country where women had been officially forbidden to wear them since 1800 seems to have had no political dimension. D’Angeville’s out t was a practical response to the demands of physical activity, rather than a political manifesto.

Yulia Demidenko contributes Petrograd. Fashion. 1917, her analysis of a year’s issues of the capital’s main fashion magazine Vestnik Mody. Modny Kurier i Parizhskaya Moda (The Fashion Herald. Courier of Fashion and Paris Fashion). Demidenko’s commentary on the maga­zine’s illustrations, captions and articles offer a valuable insight into the historical events of the revolutionary year in the Russian capital. Eu­ropean trends, which had many followers in Russia, were at that time represented in the country by London and Paris fashions. Magazines kfrom Germany and Austria, the Russian versions of which had, prior to World War One, been extremely popular in Petersburg, had largely ceased to appear and were, in any case, barely relevant to the current situation in the country. Fashion magazines at that time had little to do with everyday reality in Russia. In Petrograd, there was no place for fashion at that time. People’s appearance was influenced primarily by the shortages, galloping inflation, strikes and overall economic collapse that accompanied the war and revolution.

Marina Bliumin offers The Kerchief as Revolutionary Banner. In the decades following the revolution, the kerchief in Russia took on a new semiotic status as a marker demonstrating one’s fidelity to the ideals of the new Soviet order. The red kerchief, with its associations with the Phrygian caps of the French Revolution, and with the red banner that the Bolsheviks had chosen to symbolize their struggle for freedom, of course possessed a special significance. In the early 1920s, a new type of kerchief emerged, and quickly became known as the ‘agitation’ scarf. The scarves produced at that time often featured portraits of revolution­ary leaders, elements of state symbols, abbreviations, slogans and his­torical dates, as well as designs linked to agricultural collectivisation and economic industrialization. Thus, a traditional Russian element of dress turned into an ideological tool in the struggle for the new ideals. Whilst demonstrating continuity of tradition in the textile industry, the new kerchiefs also showed an innovative approach to the decoration of products using artistic methods drawn from the most contemporary trends of modern art. A key material memento of their time, these scarves hold a special place in the history of world textiles, telling the story of revolutionary change in Russia.

In this issue’s Body section, Natalia Lebina’s Revolutionary Corporality in Soviet Monumental Propaganda looks at one of the first cultural projects of the Bolsheviks, the monumental propaganda plan that laid the foundations for a system of visual representation of Communist ideology. Examining a range of unique archive findings, the author ana­lyzes the Bolsheviks’ ambitious desire in a short space of time to create a Pantheon of International Culture, or Pantheon of Immortality. Re­vealing the tragic story of the sculptors obsessed with Socialist ideals, who found their expectations betrayed, Lebina traces the development of the artistic techniques chosen to convey ‘revolutionary corporality’, examining their transition from the romantic to the sacralisation of the everyday. The portrayal of revolutionaries and political leaders in a deliberately down-to-earth and detailed manner gradually resulted in the tendency to worship and make a cult out of a real personality, a trend perhaps most clearly exemplified in the subsequent creation of numerous statues of Lenin and, later, of Stalin.

Tatiana Dashkova presents Ideological Non-Obviousness: ‘Strange’ Photographs in Soviet Women’s Magazines of the 1920s. Over the last few years, the study of Soviet visual culture and, in particular, of Soviet photography has developed very significantly. Nevertheless, the process of the Soviet visual canon’s formation remains a little researched topic. In Dashkova’s paper, the ‘pre-canonical’ period in Soviet visual culture (the late 1920s and early 1930s) is examined through photographs from So­viet socio-political women’s magazines such as Rabotnitsa (The Woman Worker), Krestianka (The Peasant Woman), Rabotnitsa i Krestianka (The Woman Worker and the Peasant Woman), and Delegatka (The Woman Delegate). A striking feature of the images offered by such magazines is the high number of ‘unfortunate’ photographs, which shows, perhaps, that no familiar stereotypical, ideologically proven methods of portray­ing reality had yet been formed. Through analyzing the inaccuracies, er­rors, strange features and ideological mismatches present in these pho­tographs from the late 1920s, we can draw some fascinating conclusions on the everyday practices and visual approach of the photographers, as well as on the photographic and magazine culture of those times.

The Culture section this time around opens with Maria Terekhova’s Livery, Frock Coats and Pelisses on the Soviet Screen: The Nationalized Wardrobes of the Sevzapkino Film Factory in the 1920s. The paper represents the first detailed study of a fascinating page in early Soviet history: the appearance at the Sevzapkino Film Factory (later known as Lenfilm) of a unique collection of costumes, consisting of national­ized wardrobes from palaces and residences. This rich array of dress, primarily including uniforms, livery and military outfits, gave rise to the elaborate historical biographical film genre. Established during the filming of the historical drama Dvorets i Krepost (The Palace and the Fortress) directed by Alexander Ivanovsky in the summer of 1923, the wardrobe at Sevzapkino received regular additions of nationalized dress and accessories until at least the end of 1926, when Ivanovsky’s Decembrists was shot. Classics of Soviet avant-garde cinema such as directors Grigory Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg from the Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS) also made use of this treasure trove of au­thentic items. Referring to hitherto unpublished sources, the author of­fers a detailed look at the costumes and accessories used in their film Shinel (The Overcoat) (1926). With time, the nationalized garments began to be altered to suit the needs of new productions. From the 1970s onwards, the remaining items were donated in several stages to Leningrad’s historical museums. The material used by Terekhova in her research ranges from archive documents and papers from the Len-film studio to memoirs, as well as literature and items from a number of state museums in St. Petersburg.

Larisa Kolesnikova’s Revolution and Fashion. Women of the Rus­sian Avant-Garde sheds light on the legacy of two women, Valentina Khodasevich and Liudmila Mayakovskaya. Both artists worked with textiles and dress. In the history of fashion, the years following the rev­olution and Civil War were complex, as even the very notion of fash­ion itself was considered bourgeois. Commissar for Education Anatoly Lunacharsky’s attempt to create the first Soviet fashion design studio, envisaged as a ‘centre for the establishment of new Soviet dress’, was not a successful one. Artists, nevertheless, did not cease to be involved in the development of Soviet fashion, and fashion magazines began to appear. Among those popular in the 1920s was the magazine Iskusstvo Odevatsa (The Art of Dress). Involved in its creation were not only pro­fessional designers, but also artists who had never previously worked in this area. Among them was the talented painter and stage designer Valentina Khodasevich, whose work remains underresearched to this day. Kolesnikova attempts to shed light on this little known stage in the artist’s creative development. Another fascinating artist whose talent developed in the 1920s, and whose work is rightly associated with the Soviet avant-garde, was textile artist Liudmila Mayakovskaya, sister of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. Kolesnikova examines her work in the second part of her paper. A truly unique artist, with the aid of aerography Mayakovskaya created a range of original textiles, which won awards at both national and international exhibitions. Her contribution to the development of the textile industry was a considerable one. Kolesnikova’s analysis is illustrated with drawings from the State Mayako-vsky Museum collection.

In Between Ostalgie and Carnival: Fashion and Dress from the GDR in Today’s Unified Germany, Anna Tikhomirova attempts to answer a range of questions. Following German reunification, did the GDR, with its fashion and dress, become something of a niche interest, which concerns only East Germans? What has been, and is the place of Ostal-gie in the reunified German media space? What is happening to fashion and dress from the GDR nowadays? And what symbolic meanings are nowadays being ascribed to them by consumers? The answers to these questions have been grouped into three parts: 1) the Federal discourse of Ostalgie in Der Spiegel; 2) fashion and dress from the GDR as ele­ments of the past: from collective and individual memoirs; 3) fashion and dress from the GDR as elements of the present: the cultural biogra­phy of an item of Ostalgie.

Linor Goralik presents ‘Without Carryalls, There Will Be No Putin: Opposition Dress at the Protest Gatherings of 2011 and 2012. Among the participants and observers of the opposition demonstrations of 2011 and 2012, the question of dress was a fiercely debated one. Heated ar­guments sprung up around the appropriateness of this or that style in the context of political protest. Was this or that outfit suitable for such gatherings? What were the social connotations of certain items, and with what status did they tend to be associated? Would certain outfits keep the wearer comfortable and safe, given the vagaries of the weather, the risk of aggression from law enforcement and, indeed, the danger of arrest? The heated nature of these debates was, one suspects, due not merely to purely vestimentary concerns, but primarily to the importance of the role of dress in creating the group identity of the protest participants. The establishment of the boundaries of this identity was a painful and lengthy process. In an attempt to clarify and reflect on the role of dress in this process, Goralik examines statements from the protest participants, as well as a range of publications and other material relevant to ‘protest’ dress of 2011 and 2012.

In this issue’s Fashion Practice column, exclusively for Fashion Theo­ry magazine, Ksenia Eltsova interviews Vienna-based designer Lena Kvadrat, the visionary behind the label art point, which she owns.

In the Events section, Ekaterina Shubnaya reviews the ‘Moscow. Fash­ion and Revolution’ exhibition at the Museum of Moscow (5 April — 21 May) in her contribution Canvas of Revolution.

Anna Solo and Tal Amit Granovsky offer Flounces, Ruches and Frills: From Idea to Exhibition, their take on the ‘Zoom In/Zoom Out. Ruffles in Fashion’ exhibition at the Lorber Gallery, Ramat Gan, Israel (25 April — 5 May 2017).

Maria Terekhova visits an exhibition from London’s V&A, ‘Un­dressed: A Brief History of Underwear’ at St. Petersburg’s Erarta Mu­seum of Contemporary Art (29 April — 30 July) and shares her impres­sions in A Visual Guide on the History of Underwear.

In Shoes as an Art of Creating Myth, Maria Terekhova reviews the ‘Manolo Blahnik. The Art of Shoes’ exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (11 May — 23 July 2017).

Ekaterina Kulinicheva offers Balenciaga as a Mirror, her take on the ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ exhibition at London’s V&A (27 May — 18 February 2017).

In A Silken Labyrinth of Herme's Scarves, Anna Davydova reviews ‘Silk Labyrinth. Rare Hermès Scarves from the Maison Carré Foundation Collection’ exhibition in St. Petersburg’s KGallery (3 June — 30 July).

Irina Solomatina offers Herme's and Martin Margiela’s Anti-Fashion, a review of ‘Margiela: The Hermès Years’ at the MoMu Fashion Muse­um, Antwerp (31 March — 27 August 2017).

In this issue’s Books section, Ekaterina Kulinicheva offers Fashion’s Doubles and Where They Reside, her thoughts on Geczy A., Karaminas V. Fashion’s Double: Representations of Fashion in Painting, Pho­tography and Film. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Mary Frances Gormally contributes a review of Amy de la Haye, Valerie D. Mendes. The House of Worth: Portrait of an Archive. V&A Publishing, 2014.

In An Anti-Consumerist Manifesto, Nadezhda Lebedeva reviews Dress Code: The Naked Truth About Fashion by Mari Grinde Arntze. Reaktion Books, 2015 (Russian edition: Dress-Kod. Golaya Pravda o Mode. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press, 2017).