The Empire’s New Clothes: A History of the Russian Fashion Industry, 1700-1917



In 1701 Tsar Peter the Great decreed that each one residents of Moscow should abandon their traditional dress and wear European fashion.  Folks that produced or sold Russian clothing would face “dreadful punishment.” Peter’s dress decree, a part of his drive to make Russia more like Western Europe, had a profound have an effect on at the history of Imperial Russia.


This engrossing book explores the have an effect on of Westernization on Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries and presents a wealth of photographs of strange Russians in all their finery. Christine Ruane draws on memoirs, mail-order catalogues, fashion magazines, and other period sources to demonstrate that Russia’s adoption of Western fashion had symbolic, economic, and social ramifications and was once inseparably linked to the development of capitalism, industrial production, and new types of communication.  This book shows how the fashion industry became a forum in which Russians debated and formulated a new national identity.

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