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 who 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 editorial in the sixth issue of Zhurnal mod for 1989 is devoted to Natalia Orskaya, an artist at the All-Union House of Fashion Design on Kuznetsky Most who selected as Artist of the Year by the magazine’s editorial board.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR. NATALIA ORSKAYA
In announcing Natalia Orskaya as artist of the year, Zhurnal mod’s editorial board paid tribute to an artist of rare and original talent.
Natalia Orskaya’s avant-garde has a special quality. There are a lot of vanguard artists producing stunning developments in the fields of uniforms, costume design, and the use of unexpected materials; artists who try to convey complex philosophical notions through an outfit. These designs are often “unwearable.” They are good for the catwalk, for a show, but their “excessive” boldness and exaggerated meaningfulness become an obstacle as soon as they cross the threshold of the fashion house and step into the street.
Orskaya’s pieces look their best on the street, somehow merging with the individual in a completely mysterious way (it’s as if the wearer never parts with these clothes) and fitting surprisingly well into the urban environment. Natalia Orsakaya’s designs have one oddity: on the streets of the old city they look like they come from the Middle Ages, from the pages of historical novels, but against the background of a dull, newly-built residential block, the same outfits look like something that fell to Earth from the Moon.
There is a well-known formula: “a memory of the future.” I think it fully relates to Natalia Orskaya, to that sophisticated world which she creates with fashion, in which she aims to find and reconstruct the connection between our past and our future.
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.