Zhurnal mod (Fashion Journal), 1, 1988

Zhurnal mod (Fashion Journal), 1, 1988

Zhurnal mod (Fashion Journal) was the official magazine of the Ministry of Light Industry of the USSR. Published since 1945, it was the main Soviet journal about fashion.

In 1988 Lydia Orlova was appointed editor-in-chief of Zhurnal mod and initiated a re-launch of the publication. Having brought together a new editorial team, including full-time journalists, freelance writers, and photographers, and set up a photo studio to produce its own shoots, she reorganized Zhurnal mod into a full-fledged magazine about fashion. You can learn more about Lydia Orlova’s career and Soviet fashion journals from this video interview made for the exhibition Atelier E.B.: Passer-by as part of the Garage Field Research program.

The first 1988 issue of Zhurnal mod opens with an editorial in which Lydia Orlova discusses the nature of fashion and its fluidity. There is also a note about the editorial office’s move from a tiny room located in the All-Union House of Fashion Design to a new space on Kuznetsky Most, which would be a key event in the life of the magazine.


Dear friends!

You will open our magazine and see that fashion, which we call capricious and fickle, fully justifies these descriptions. Yet again, it invites us to change our wardrobe, to modify or maybe simply replace much of what we are used to wearing, that which had seemed attractive and convenient until just recently. Do not rush to resent the inconstancy and wastefulness of fashion! Try to imagine that fantastic and implausible situation in which fashion suddenly ceases to exist and we wear clothes and shoes of the same color and shape from season to season. “It would be boring,” you would say sadly. Although it would probably be possible to live like that, the world would have lost some of its color, and those nice surprises with which fashion gives us would be no more. After all, we invented fashion ourselves and each time we bring it to life ourselves, striving for renewal and perfection.

For a very long time—perhaps, even too long—the image of a sporty businesswoman seemed attractive to us. As if we were trying to prove to ourselves and to others that we are not inferior to men, whether in terms of strength or skills. We either got tired of proving it, or the evidence itself became redundant, but at some point we suddenly wanted to feel like women, just women, once again. Fashion figured out our implicit, unspoken desires and put on the catwalk a woman who demonstrates neither her strength nor her athletic qualities, neither determination nor willpower. She is nice, she is charming, she is graceful, she is enchanting!

This image is the core of fashion, everything else is just the means to achieve it. It makes little sense to argue about how successful the new choice of fashion is. Something else is important: it turned out to be very timely. Fashion seems to be reminding us: women, do not forget that you are women regardless of your deeds and labors. And, like a generous fair trader, fashion offers us anything we might need: from maxi skirts to micro skirts, from flounces and artificial roses to mini shorts. Fashion requires a slim waist, a fit body, and a light step…

And here there is something to reflect upon. Either to abandon the new fashion or try to work on oneself—do some gymnastics, go on a diet? This is what fashion is like: it seems to suggest simply changing your wardrobe, but behind this rather harmless thing, there is something more important and essential. It suggests changing your attitude to yourself, your lifestyle and your health. And looking deeper, we will see that fashion aims to influence our private or, if you like, family life…

Our magazine is also addressed to the family. It is very important that all of us dress beautifully and stylishly, in accordance with our age and lifestyle, and have enough common sense to not let fashion become burdensome and wasteful. After all, one can limit oneself to a small number of outfits if they make good combinations. Nothing extra, nothing random—this is the motto of today’s fashion.

We will try to help you with this, so write to us about your fashion interests and your experience of assembling a rational family wardrobe. Our address has changed: the editorial office is now located on the first floor at 7/9 Kuznetsky Most. You can see our office windows on the photograph. They feature mannequins in beautiful dresses to celebration out move. Visit us on Kuznetsky Most, a street that has always been connected with fashion.

With best wishes,
Lydia Orlova

Soviet fashion magazines from Lydia Orlova’s archive are on view at the exhibition Atelier E.B.: Passer-by and in the virtual 360° version.