Fashism

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Published August 20, 2010

The Russian sartorial instinct has always been decorative and extravagant, from the lavish costumes of the 18th-century Prussian courts to Dr. Zhivago’s rich furs at the cusp of the Bolshevik revolution. Try as the former Soviet Socialist regime might, it could not fully expunge Eastern Europe’s ingrown taste for opulence. Now the current Moscow scene is populated by people in full looks replicated from European runways. Fashion­EAST: The Spectre That Haunted Socialism (The MIT Press), a new book by London College of Fashion Research Fellow Djurdja Bartlett, examines these kinds of contradictions between the doomed Soviet worker-party ideal and the way the region’s citizens dressed—and reminds us that fashion is a force that could not be tamed even by the likes of Lenin and Stalin. More info at mitpress.mit.edu