Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Out of the USSR

Sitting having a cup of coffee just before the hairdresser's at Sloane Square this afternoon, I saw two tall, expensively blond middle aged women walk towards me and sit down at the next table. They seemed gold from head to foot. They wore suede and bracelets. Their lips were the colour of dark honey. Then they started talking in Russian, and I could not help but wonder what they were wearing 20 years ago in Moscow or Leningrad, and feel glad for them that, having missed out on all the delight of frivolous, fashionable youth, they had found Joseph before it was too late. Viva democracy.


lagatta à Montréal said...

Wonderful image, but yes and no. Not that I'd have liked to live in the Brezhnev era by any means, but a scholar I know who visits Russia frequently speaks both of much deeper inequality, and what remains a very imperfect democracy, inclined to do away with pesky journalists. Though the future remains open.

The Czech Republic has been a far greater success in that respect, but democracy had deep roots there...

I remember hosting a visit by two Solidarnosc trade-unionists here, and beyond the old-fashioned hand kissing, what I remember most vividly was their pressing request for me to buy fashion magazines WITH PATTERNS for their wives.

Toby Wollin said...

" magazines With Patterns for their wives." Hmmm, let's see -- there's Burda World of Fashion, Patrones(Spain), Knipmode(Holland), Mrs. Stylebook(and a raft of others)from Japan. There may be others, too, but there hasn't been such a creature in the United States since McCall's "Deltor" (if I have that name right) was replaced by physical printed patterns in the 20s. I have bought very few printed patterns ever since I discovered Burda - yes, you have to trace them off, but that's not such a big deal. I was always under the impression that Russian "sewists" made their patterns much the same way as the Chinese and Japanese do, taking measurements and drafting either straight on the fabric or on paper first and then transferring?

lagatta à Montréal said...

The magazines I bought for the dear Polish ladies were European ones such as Burda, Patrones, Knipmode etc. There is no shortage of European magazines available here in Montréal, and not just from France.

I live in Little Italy and at Librairie Italienne, there are many high fashion magazines from Italy and elsewhere, very expensive and bought mostly by people in the trade. And the pattern-type books, which are more "classic" fashion. You can also find those at the newsagents run by the big French publisher Hachette.

Our Polish friends were thrilled. And remember, these were miners' wives.

On a darker note, we heard news that one of our Solidarnosc visitors was killed in Jaruzelski's repression.

Phyllis said...

Toaby I'm pretty sure it was called The Delineator (always an odd-sounding title to me)

Ms Baroque said...

Well, getting back to these two blonde women, I'm glad they've found Joseph. I've found him too, but I can't afford him - and anyway, he doesn't design clothes for people like me. Even when I was a size 12 I was totally the wrong shape.