Moscow House of Fashion

In 1934, fashion consciousness was officially confirmed as part of Stalin's mass culture with the opening of the House of Fashion in Moscow. The established fashion designer Nadezhda Makarova was its first director, while the doyenne of Russian fashion, Nadezhda Lamanova, was appointed artistic consultant. The main task of the designers and the sample-makers engaged by the House of

Fashion was to impose genuine Soviet styles and to make prototypes for mass-production by huge textile companies.

Two luxurious fashion publications, the monthly Fashion Journal (Zhurnal mod) and the bi-annual Fashions of the Seasons (Modeli sezona), were designed in the House of Fashion and published under the auspices of the Ministry of Light Industry. In 1937, the same ministry advertised chic hats, fur coats, and perfumes, featuring fashionably dressed and made-up women, contrasting sharply with the poverty-stricken reality. Houses of Fashion were instituted in the other cities and capitals of the Soviet Republics, making clothes production highly controlled and centralized. But in the centrally organized system, which did not recognize the market, access to goods was the main privilege and determined hierarchically. Clothes and fashion accessories were either too expensive or unattainable for the masses.

Whereas the early Bolsheviks rejected even the very word "fashion" and insisted on functional clothing, Stalinism, in a sharp ideological turn, granted fashion a highly representational role. Stalinist dress featured a new Stalinist aesthetic, a blend of Russian folk tradition and Hollywood glamour, appropriate to Stalinist ideals of classical beauty and traditional femininity. The Bolshevik austere and undecorated "New Woman" became a "Super

Woman" during Stalinism, and dresses with accentuated waistlines and shoulders followed her curvy body.

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