A hat, a bathing suit, and a white blouse. How Muscovites prepared for summer 100 years ago

June 5

Many modern fashion designers, creating collections, often look for inspiration in the fashion of the past. Probably, we have already seen some of the future fashion items - in old movies, in photographs, paintings and in museum halls. On the eve of the calendar summer, we inspect the collections of the museum and exhibition center called Fashion Museum together with its researcher Daria Seryozhkina and find out what things were typical for summer women's wardrobe in the 1920s and 1930s.

Consumer shortages and diversity

From the damage caused by the October Revolution and the subsequent Civil War, light industry began to recover only in the 1920s. It was necessary to dress a huge number of workers. Clothing had to meet the demands of the socialist society - no luxury, only convenience, simplicity and multipurposeness. Fashion was out of the question - people wore what they could afford. They flocked to the cities from villages and other settlements bringing with them their usual wardrobe, so in the summer you could see men in kosovorotka (blouse with collar fastening at side) and women in sarafans (sleeveless dress worn by Russian peasant women) on the streets.

Kosovorotka made of linen. 1920s. Fashion Museum

Until the 1930s, most workers received clothing by coupons. They were given suits, hats, and even underwear that had previously belonged to rich ladies and gentlemen. They could get any part of the wardrobe, including smoking silk robes or nightgowns, which the former villagers were happy to wear on the streets.

There was a scarcity of fabrics in the country, so the main task of the clothing industry was to approve the cutout regulations. Women's clothing should not be much different from men's - instead of a dress, a shirt, a skirt below the knees without trim and pleats, women's trousers and work overalls were introduced.

The team of pioneer leaders of the electric plant’s pioneer camp. 1933. Fashion Museum

Summer women's clothing was made of silk, linen, cotton and chiffon. The light flowing fabric did not restrict movement and did not emphasize the figure. Corsets were abandoned immediately after the revolution, and women's dresses had a straight silhouette. The low waist was slightly indicated by a pinched tuck or ribbon, as on this purple dress from the collection of the Fashion Museum. On the dress made of chiffon and lace, the low waistline is decorated with an imitation belt with a bow and a flower-shaped buckle. Another dress is made of olive-colored silk, and the waist is marked with strips of satin ribbons.

Women's dress made of chiffon and purple lace (left). Women's silk dress (right). Fashion Museum

The most popular women's summer footwear were shoes or leather small boots - there were no barefoot sandals that time. In the museum collection, there are elegant shoes made of leather and gold brocade on a low heel-shotglass.

Women's shoes made of leather and brocade. 1920s. Fashion Museum

Nepmans-businesswomen and dresses made of napkins

Not all women wanted to wear uniforms. Those who dreamed of a piece product were helped by the new economic policy, or NEP, under which private entrepreneurship partially returned. The trendsetters were nepmans-businesswomen and wives of entrepreneurs who had access to foreign magazines and who copied the style of the ladies of the Old and New World. Do you remember the competition between Ellochka the Cannibal and the American millionaire Vanderbilt? This story was taken for the "12 chairs" novel of Ilf and Petrov from life.

The napmans were the first to wear short bob and blunt bob haircuts and to abandon wide-brimmed hats - they were uncomfortable when getting into a car. Instead, cloche hats in the shape of a bell, invented by the famous French milliner Caroline Reboux, came into fashion. They were usually made of felt, but in the summer they were worn knitted from mixed threads.

Hat knitted from mixed threads (left). Portrait of a woman with a hat on (right). 1929. Fashion Museum

Working women also wanted to wear beautiful clothes. Nadezhda Lamanova, a former milliner of the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, came to their aid. She created a capsule wardrobe so that the girls could go to the theater or cinema after work. And Lamanova invented the way that allowed any woman to sew a fashionable dress in conditions of severe shortage of fabrics.

In 1925, the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts was held in Paris. Among the achievements of Soviet artists sent to the exhibition was a collection created by Nadezhda Lamanova. Her task was to convey the national character via modern things. The artist suggested using simple homespun materials found in old chests of grandmothers. Cotton and linen, embroidered napkins and towels became the basis for shirt-cut dresses. The USSR Pavilion became the highlight of the exhibition, and the Lamanova collection made a real splash. Her idea later went to the people - Soviet women began to sew themselves the same dresses.

Sports and tanning

By the 1930s, the cult of sports had taken root in the USSR. Now, it was available not only to men, but also to women. Previously, only high-class ladies could afford to play sports - and then only tennis, which they played in long dresses. Now any woman could take the racket in their arms. The new fashion, which drastically shortened skirts and sleeves, brought a fashion for tanning - during the game, the exposed areas of the body got a golden tan. By the way, the first sunblock cream appeared in the USSR back in the 1920s, but it did not gain popularity - the product based on paraaminobenzoic acid irritated the skin and was quickly washed off with water.

Tennis wooden racket with the Dynamo sports club logo.  1930s. Fashion Museum

Previously, girls sat under umbrellas in dresses on the beaches. That time in Moscow, swimming pools began to appear, and with them the fashion for swimsuits came. The museum's collection contains a swimsuit dating from the 1930s, a typical item of that time. The one-piece black swimsuit is edged at the collar and armholes with a red ribbon, the straps are fastened with buttons. Swimsuits were not only simple black, but also of other colors - while the upper part could be patterned. In the 1920s, girls bathed in more closed and uncomfortable suits made of several layers of wool or cotton.

One-piece swimsuit. 1930s. Fashion Museum

Not all the girls of that time knew how to swim, so they usually played ball on the beach, and only went into the water to take a dip. In order not to spoil the hairstyle, they wore cotton bathing caps or tied headscarves, making a lush bow on the side. A sports-type headband could not only protect the hair when bathing, but also served as a fashion accessory.

In the mid-1930s, the sporty style actively penetrated into Soviet fashion. The shoulder line became wider, the turn-down collars - larger, the waist rose higher. Patch pockets and skirts with vertical pleats have become fashionable.

Along with the image of a working woman, the image of a prosperous city woman appeared. Her hair was neatly cut and styled, and she used cream, powder, lipstick, and perfume. The townswomen wore fitted jackets, blouses with bows and lace inserts, knee-length skirts and dresses of a complex cutout. White color became fashionable. At that time, a white blouse made of crepe de chine, which is now kept in the museum was very fashionable, and could belong to some wealthy Muscovite. 

White crepe de chine blouse. 1930s. Fashion Museum

Dark glasses were only worn by very extravagant women, as it was traditionally a men's accessory. Glasses were mass-produced for soldiers to protect their eyes during combat. Men wore mostly round glasses with wooden or plastic frames, like the ones in the museum's collection. Special glamoury was considered a frame made of bone.

Round sunglasses. Plastic frame. 1930s. Fashion Museum

Source: mos.ru

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