2008 | Beyond Espionage: Fashion Under Socialism

French Connection Friday Late at the V&A

31 October 2008


Fashion in Film presents a new programme at French Connection Friday Late at the V&A, in conjunction with Cold War Modern.
Curated by Renate Stauss and Marketa Uhlirova and presented in association with BFI Southbank.

Fashion under socialism was essentially an anti-fashion: anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist. As a “clothing culture” it was supposed to aid the “all-round development of the socialist personality”. Yet, the clothing produced within a centrally planned economy often didn’t fit the desires. This selection of some of the most eloquent newsreels and documentaries from post-war East Germany and Czechoslovakia explores the rhetorics of “socialist fashion”. From displays of restrained modernist taste to the majestic International Fashion Congresses, fashion espionage and the mockery of ‘Western’ extravagance, this programme reveals complex issues and tensions, showing fashion as a key player in the Cold War propaganda.

With thanks to Progress Film-Verleih GmbH and Kratky Film Praha.