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Together with the Fashion Museum, we study the tendencies of half a century ago and find fresh ideas in them.

The 1970s set the tone for the decades that followed – the style of this era was quoted many times in their collections by designers of world fashion houses. Many of his features are reflected in today’s fashion. What things did a Muscovite get out of a wardrobe in the 1970s and which of them is relevant to this day, says Daria Serezhkina, a researcher at the Museum of Fashion Museum and Exhibition Center.

Stand out in the crowd

1970s – a time of stagnation. European fashion began to penetrate the USSR during the Thaw, but it was still a long way from the final fall of the Iron Curtain. Clothing still had to be strict, modest and utilitarian. Design bureaus and fashion houses developed samples of clothes, which were used to sew typical things in factories throughout the country.

In the fall, many wore suits to work, consisting of a jacket and a skirt to the middle or below the knee (today we call this length “midi”) muted shades – gray, green, burgundy, brown. For example, the likes of this abstract blended suit from the Fashion Museum collection. Although it was bought in the GDR, where a mini was already worn at that time, the length of the skirt fully corresponds to the then Soviet notions of decency.

The film “Office Romance” by Eldar Ryazanov, filmed in 1977, perfectly demonstrates how a Soviet woman dressed for work. The brown suit, in which the heroine of Alice Freundlich appears in the first part, looks like she has recently left the assembly line: unmarked, discreet, skirt of “serious” length. However, today the image of Lyudmila Prokofievna before the transformation does not seem outrageously tasteless – rather, on the contrary, with the right stylization and some adjustments to the cut, her costume can look extremely modern.

A typical example of a Soviet woman’s “going out” outfit is a red woolen dress from the museum’s collection. It combines several style features of the decade: knitted perforation on the chest, a sun skirt just below the knee, lantern sleeves. The model is very similar to those that were printed in the “Western Fashion” section in the catalogs of the Moscow Fashion House.

Abroad, trousers were already quite an everyday item of women’s wardrobe, and in the USSR at the end of the 1960s, the most daring girls just began to wear them, in the 1970s they became an attribute of progressive youth. Warm synthetic crimplen was a popular material at the time, and these straight, high-waisted trousers were made from it. And this burgundy crimplen pair was definitely worn by a fashionista – flared at the time, as now, was very fashionable.

Women wore coats straight, as in past decades, and dark – brown, green, burgundy. At the same time, fashionable in Europe coats in a cage began to appear in the USSR, which are considered classics today. In the collection of the museum there is a single-breasted beige and pink coat with a turn-down collar. Its happy owner certainly did not go unnoticed in the crowd. And this double-breasted dark green drape coat looks so modern that, probably, today’s fashionista would not refuse to try it on.

This factory-made black double-breasted jacket looks like it was altered from a men’s military pea coat, with a slight fit. Many women did this – things did not lie in vain, everything could be ripped and altered if necessary. The hostess added another fashionable detail – a black and white faux fur collar. Practical hooded coats were also popular then. The hood protected from rain and wind, and the belt, like this brown flared coat, made the silhouette more feminine.

“Samostrok” versus “firm”

The most coveted thing in the 1970s is jeans. Remember, colleagues of Nadya Klyueva in the comedy “The Most Charming and Attractive” say: “The most backward strata of the population put on jeans?” The film was released in 1985, when the situation had already begun to change, and then, in the 1970s, the rare owners of real branded jeans were considered lucky. They were worn to the holes, washed very carefully. When jeans were worn out, rivets and zippers were taken out of them, and skirts or bags were sewn from the fabric. In 1974, the Rabochaya Oboi factory began producing blue cotton trousers, sewn like American jeans, but only vaguely resembling them.

Jeans and, in general, imported clothing could sometimes be found in foreign exchange stores or bought from hand. At that time, the expression “branded thing” or “firm” (with an emphasis on the last syllable) comes into use. Branded items were immediately noticeable – they were very different from typical Soviet ones. This Finnish jacket made of raspberry crimplen with a pattern in the form of orange cucumbers probably attracted a lot of surprised and admiring looks. Like this raspberry wool check jacket with a black shawl collar from the GDR. This raincoat, made of a mixed fabric reminiscent of boiled jeans, and this Austrian dress with a red-orange print and hippie-style purple flowers were trendy.

Our answer to the “firm” was “self-string”, or “samopal” – things, sewn independently in accordance with fashion trends. All women in the USSR owned sewing skills – he was taught at school in labor lessons. Therefore, those who knew how to sew well were usually the most fashionable. In fashion magazines, you could always find an appendix with patterns. In addition, many women could independently make an outfit, similar, for example, to that seen on a foreign actress.

Heels and stockings

In the 1970s, women practically did not wear flat shoes – a glass-heel and a low square heel were in fashion. In warm weather, you could wear shoes like, for example, these black patent ones. Low boots were popular autumn footwear, and rubber overshoes were popular in rainy weather.

The most fashionable footwear in the mid-1970s in the USSR was patent leather stocking boots. They rarely appeared in stores, and they were immediately disassembled. The most desperate women of fashion wore them until the end of November and proudly walked in them on the first snow. Such boots with a fashionable glass-heel, made in Cyprus, are now kept in the museum.

Regular stockings were also worn. The most desirable were nylon, despite their subtlety. But most of the women wore warm knitted stockings in muted shades – gray, beige.

Hats were put on their heads. Felt hats and pill hats were in fashion. Felt berets were also popular. Berets and hats could be decorated with wind flowers or a brooch.

The fashionable image was completed by bags made of leatherette or leather of strict shape – rectangular, square, trapezoidal. An example here is this little handbag with a bow.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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