Mary Lynn Stewart on Russian Embroidery in Interwar France

"Romanian" (but Russian) embroidered dress - Vogue, 1922

“During the war, when rich fabrics were scarce, embroidery was the principal form of ornamentation on dresses. For a few years after the war, couture houses were starved of fine fabrics. Most available textiles were plain, but couturiers compensated by embellishing them with rich embroidery. Chanel made tunics in black and other dark colors adorned with vividly coloured, ‘exotic’ – meaning in this case, Russian – embroidery. After the White Russians arrived in Paris, Russian women, including aristocrats, supported their families by embroidering Slavic motifs. …” (Stewart, Mary Lynn.“Marketing Fabrics & Femininity in Interwar France,” Textile History. 35(1), 90-111, 2004. 98).


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