In our last post, we took a brief look at the career(s) and work of the Russian designer Nadezhda Lamanova as she built a reputation as a designer of Haute Couture for Russia’s upper classes and subsequently reinvented herself as an avant garde designer for the masses in the new revolutionary Russia. Now we’re going to take another look at Lamanova’s designs prior to 1917. To start, here is one particularly striking example from circa 1910 – 1914:
The above dress design reflects the shift from the earlier tightly structured silhouette of the S-bend corset towards a more vertical silhouette employing a tubular dress shape. Make no mistake about it, the underpinnings were still there but now the dress flowed loosely in a manner reminiscent of the Classical Grecian Chiton.
The dress itself is two layers, the underlayer composed of a turquoise/jade green satin and an overlayer consisting of a black chiffon embroidered a floral motif consisting of the flowers and leaves of chrysanthemums. The embroidery itself is in a golden-green silk and gold thread. One can see the combination of different textures, contrasting colors and a separate overlayer with metallic embroidery creates a three dimensional effect to the dress and this is especially evident when one looks at the train. The above pictures simply do not do justice to the dress.
Now, for something a little different from the Mid-1890s. This is a visiting dress that belonged to the Empress:
The above visiting dress is from the mid-1890s, characterized by the leg of mutton or Gigot sleeve style and it’s a princess line dress. According to the description, the fashion fabric is of an ivory/cream (depending on the light) silk velvet. Metallic sequins have been stitched to create a vine motif with vertical lines of sequins suggesting some a trellis of sorts which serves to accentuate the vertical lines/silhouette of the dress.
The above examples are a tiny fraction of Lamanova’s output and they reflect the major fashion trends of the times and while much of what she created was fairly mainstream conventional as in the case of the above visiting dress, there were also attempts to push boundaries such as in the case of the above green ballgown. It wasn’t until after the revolution that Lamanova came into her own as a designer, creating ready-to-wear designs for the masses while at the same time creating avant garde designs. Lamanova is a designers that we should know more about.
Postscript: We find it amazing that so many dresses of the early 1900s have managed to survive revolutionary turmoil and two world wars. 🙂