There are some cult Russian items from the past that earned the place of pride in the museum but are still a popular wear.
In old days, every married woman had her own kokoshnik, a beautifully decorated tall tiara, that covered the head and was worn on special occasions and holidays. The kokoshniks differed from one region to another, held different names and forms. Peter the Great banned all the Russian folklore symbols from the court, but Catherine the Great brought the Russian folk clothing back. Today kokoshniks are still alive and in high demand by dancing studios, theatres and movie productions. Small kokoshniks decorated with pearls and beads have become a fashion trend and are often worn in the everyday life as a stylish accessory.
The sarafan dress is another important element of the traditional Russian clothing for women. It is a long, wide, trapezoidal, sleeveless pinafore dress with an open chest and back, and wide shoulder straps to support the dress weight. The sarafans came to Russia from Persia and were mentioned in the chronicle in 1376. Sarafans were very popular in the central part of Russian by all classes until the Peter the Great’s ban. In time the sarafan dress passed through various transformations but is still very popular. The traditional form has been changed in response to fashion trends. Nowadays women wear mini and maxi, slim and loose, black and floral sarafan jumper dreses.
The ushanka is the top selling souvenir from Russia, mainly for men. It is a Russian hat with ear flaps that can be tightened on top or under the chin to protect the ears in the frost. The ushanka hat was traditionally made from the mouton fur. The roots of the ushanka hat are found in the 17th century, there was a perfectly round crown hat known as “treukh” with small ear flaps in the central Russia. The modern design was copied from the Norvegian hat “norvezhka” that was used by the explorers of Arctic. Thanks to them, the earflaps became longer and more protective.
Today the ushanka hats are still used in the Russian army, but also by street cleaners, hunters, fashion designers and foreign tourists.
Valenki, simple felt boots, once invented in Siberia, conquered hearts of all Russian people. Valenki had been an essential winter footwear for centuries, and just lost their popularity in the cities in the middle of the 20th century due to their rustic look. Today valenki are still in high demand because they are perfect for walking on the dry snow in the very frosty day and indispensable for the dachas and country houses. People living in the villages wear valenki all the winter. Traditionally, valenki were of the sheep wool colors – grey, brown and white mélange, nowadays the manufactures learnt to color valenki in bright red, blue, green colors. Valenki boots are still a part of uniform for the railway workers.
Telnyashka is an iconic uniform from the Russian navy, horizontally striped in white and blue colors. Originally, telnyashka was an undershirt with or without sleeves. The telnyashka was worn under an open in the chest military jackets, so the stripes are partly visible. The Russian Navy copied the blue and white striped blouse from the fishermen of Brittany. But the stripes can be of different colors: black – for naval infantry, light green – for border troops, red – for national guard services. There is a Russian saying: “We are few, but we are in telnyashkas!” that means being brave like the sailors. Nowadays the telnyashkas have become a kind of trendy t-shirt and are often bought as a souvenir. The telnyashkas are worn as a casual wear by many non-miltary people.
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