Revolutionary Costume – Soviet Clothing and Textiles of the 1920s
“Today’s clothing is the workman’s overall,” declared the Constructivist Varvara Stepanova in 1923. This statement did not predict a world of automatons; rather the Soviet state planned to set about creating a new society that would introduce itself in “new clothes: and whereas “bourgeois: fashion dressed the showy woman, Soviet costume represented freedom for a a strong and harmonious body.
The decoration of fabrics was also a field of action of figurative renewal and the application of agitational art. Soviet textiles in the 1920s thus combined the whole repertoire of industrial imagery—pulleys and cogs, blast furnaces and construction sites—with the subjects of the new daily reality—tractors, airplanes, radios, cars and political and sporting events. All were reminiscent of conventional attractions using a language that echoed the stylistic elements of the historical avant-garde. Consequently, it is possible to now rediscover Cubist, Cubo-Futurist, Supremist and Expressionist fabrics.
This volume documents the powerful contribution of Soviet clothing of the 1920s to the birth of new aesthetic of dressing.