Exhibition ‘Dress in Luxury. Art Deco Woman’: Take a Trip Back to the 1920s

Catch a Great Gatsby vibe with dresses, shoes, accessories and even perfumes from the Roaring Twenties.

Open until January 24, 2023

On September 28, 2022, the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman Museum and Exhibition Center at VDNKh opened the exhibition ‘Dressed in Luxury. Art Deco Woman’. It is dedicated to women's fashion of the 1920s and early 1930s, when Art Deco was the dominant art style. Visitors will take a trip through time back to the ‘roaring’ 1920s, a vibrant time of Art Deco, jazz, dances and new women’s fashions.

The Worker and Kolkhoz Woman Museum and Exhibition Center opened in September 2010 inside the new pedestal of the sculpture ‘Worker and Collective Farm Girl’ by the legendary Vera Mukhina. This masterpiece of Soviet and world modernism of the first half of the 20th century was made using innovative technologies on a multi–ton frame hinged shell in stainless steel joined by welding. Visitors should definitely check out this enormous sculpture before going inside the museum.

Fabulous beaded dresses, shoes made by great masters, accessories, lingerie and corsets, vintage bags, magazine covers and even fragrances from the beginning of the last century all feature in this collection. According to Nazim Mustafayev, a well-known collector, founder of a virtual shoe museum, and author of several books on fashion history:

‘When a woman looks at the fashion of the 18th century, she thinks: “How did they wear that?” And looking at the clothes, shoes and accessories of the 1920s–30s, she says: “I would wear that!” And this is true—the art and fashion of the Art Deco era look very stylish and modern, even though a hundred years have passed.’

The centerpiece of the exposition is a collection of dresses, shoes and accessories by Nazim and Elena Mustafaev. It features more than 60 dresses by famous designers such as Paul Poiret, Jeanne Lanvin, Mariano Fortuny, Edvard Molyneux, Lucien Lelong. A collection of shoes and accessories showcases the work of high shoe art by artists such as Pietro Yantorny, Andre Perugia, Israel Miller, Hellstern & Sons, Saks Fifth Avenue and many others. The collection of celluloid heels, decorated with rhinestones, enamel and paints, represents a special kind of shoe accessories of the Art Deco period, raised by French masters to the height of art.

And for the first time, underwear and corsets of the 1920s and 1930s from the collection of Anton Pryimak will be presented to the general public. ‘At the beginning of the 20th century, everything changed in art, including the female silhouette. And without a revolution in underwear models, this would be impossible. The exhibition will feature items of female beauty that have always remained invisible,’ Nazim Mustafayev says. Bags from the Art Deco period from the collection of Pavel Kartashov are indeed fascinating works of art: embroidered reticules and luxurious exhibits made of silver, cupronickel and bronze.

An inconspicuous but important participant in the exhibition will be the fragrances of the Roaring Twenties by Elina Arsenieva. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vivid Art Deco era and even smell the atmosphere of the time.

Address: 123b Prospekt Mira

Ticket: 450–550 roubles

Working hours: 11 am–10pm daily, closed Mondays.

 

Text by Lý Trang, second-year master’s student of Critical Media Studies, intern at the HSE University English website team