So have you heard of Burda Moden? It was the fashion magazine every Russian woman used as the most reliable reference when it came to style, whether it was wardrobe ideas, home deco, beauty or cooking. Burda came to us in 1987 like some exotic present from Western Germany, a glorious glossy dream from the country of plenty to the country of deficit (of everything). It was expensive (5 roubles an issue and an average salary was 150 roubles) and impossibly difficult to buy. It was literally a treasure.
A copy would move from household to household, usually wrapped in a plastic cover to prevent any damage. The recipes and beauty advice would be copied by hand, every diet – adjusted to suit the availability of the fresh produce, exercise routines – tried and tested (and God, did we dream of having those lycra leggings!) and the clothes… Well, the clothes part was relatively easy as many women could either sew or knit, so once a suitable fabric was found, the clothes could become a wearable reality.
We had a few of our own Burda issues and, as a little girl, I constantly created long Wish lists mainly of outfits and shoes hope that one day I will get a chance to wear something like this. I also prepared some of the foods and DIY’ed extensively.
When I came across a folder with pages torn out of Burda circa 1987-1990 I felt nostalgia sipping through my veins. I smiled for it brought sweet memories.
The blog seemed to be a perfect place for storing the scans, and sharing a few personal stories as well as fashion designs and articles from the past. I’ll start these new “The Way We Wore” series today and continues over the course of several months, a story or so every four weeks. Of course, my Burda speaks Russian, but I will translate some of the relevant parts for you. Let me know what you think of all this.
Issue 4. November / Autumn 1988
Colour of the season: emerald. Blouses: from elegant to sporty. Fashion for mums-to-be. 8 designs for the city. Recipes: fruit and vegetable preserves. Plus: Sweaters. Crafts.
(my mum actually had this blouse made later and we shared it)
A touch of emerald – just one touch is enough to make a simple houndstooth check coat look chic.
Wide trousers, loafers, emerald…
Feminine shapes, focus on waist, pastel colours and soft fabrics. A touch of burgundy or yellow. Must admit, that I’ve always loved these two looks.
Trend spotting: the tulip skirt that takes a day to make
Red, military buttons, plaid… "The Alpine scene"
Business woman: olive and mix of pattern, polka dots on a jacket, stripes on pencil skirt. It was a part of "one pattern - eight designs"
My favourite sweater out of the bunch from that issue. Notice the long silk plisse skirt.
Autumn ‘88 latest trends: feminine shapes in footwear (my mum actually had those boots), L’Oreal Elnett hairspray, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent – sensual, mysterious and incredibly feminine, fabric and leather colour dyes (never seen them, doubt will ever know what they were), Effekton hair colourants by Svoboda, Moscow, Byzance by Rochas perfume – delicate red rose, exquisite iris, carnation, vanilla and geranium combined with patchouli, sandalwood and musk, Pfaff sewing machine, new aftershave for men from Schwarzkopf.
Fashion world was talking about Paris fashion week, Spring 1989. Brief translation: Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Chanel, Lagerfeld, Montana, Mugler, Kenzo, Gaultier and other fashion designers showed their unique collections. Each consists of 30-50 looks. The models – only the best ones. Each collection is accompanied by music. The only exception is Yves Saint Laurent who prefers a silent performance. 3000-5000 people get to see it live.
Sometimes fashion journalist and media have to see up to 10 shows a day. Their day begins early, at 10:30. From then the media pack has to rush from show to show that can take place anywhere – a night club, hotel and even palace. Shows never starts on time, so the crowd has to sit and wait for 30-60 minutes. The last show ends at 9 p.m. Then it’s time to take a break and grab a bite to eat. It costs between 30000 and 70 000 Deutsche marks to produce a fashion show, but it “must go on” no matter what.
So while the world is focusing on fashion in Paris, Russia is hosting its very first beauty contest, “Miss Moscow ‘88” sponsored by Burda Moden. Masha Kalinina, the 16-year old student from Moscow, who won the title was then sent to Germany for a Burda Moden photoshoot, then continued working as a model and eventually moved to LA where she now lives.
To be continued…