Kiryanov I. K. Vestimentary codes of power in the Russian revolution of 1917–1921 (.pdf)


The article is devoted to the vestimentary history of the Russian revolution of 1917-1921. The sequence of “suit jacket – army jacket – leather jacket», reflecting the evolution of revolutionary fashion and clothing style of power, seems correct not so much chronologically, as semiotically. Suit jacket turned out to be the first official suit of power after the fall of the monarchy. It was due to the fact that the representatives of the imperial parliamentary sub-elite and socialist counter-elite entered new state institutions in their usual clothes. At the same time, the suit jacket received a distribution among men of different classes and thus symbolized civil equality as a basic value of the revolution. For many politicians, the militaristic style was not only a tribute to wartime, but also a demonstration of the need for decisive actions to achieve the tasks of the revolution. In its turn, the prevalence of leather mess jackets during the socialist stage of the revolution is explained both by purely utilitarian reasons (huge stocks of leather jackets at quartermaster warehouses, practicality of this type of clothing in the cold conditions of late autumn and winter of 1917, etc.), and by historical symbolism (associating leather with violence). For the Bolsheviks, violence was an important tool not only for destroying the old world, but for creating the new one as well. The role of the first leader of the revolution Kerensky became defining in the evolution of the clothing style of power in 1917. Kerensky paid a very significant attention to the manner of dressing in his representative tactics. Subsequently, the Bolshevik leaders, such as Lenin, Stalin, Sverdlov, and Trotsky, became the legislators of the revolutionary fashion.


Key words: vestimentary history, the Russian Revolution of 1917-1921, dress code, clothing style of power, suit jacket, army jacket, leather jacket.


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