Outstanding Russian Fashion Designer: Nadejda
4 April, 2002 - 20 May, 2002
On 4 April, 2002, an exhibition dedicated to one of the best Russian
fashion designers of the late 19th - early 20th centuries Nadejda P. Lamanova
(1861-1941) opened in the Grand Blackamoor Dining-room and Rotunda of
the Winter Palace. Few of her works have been preserved in museums. The
richest collection of Lamanova's costumes is owned by the State Hermitage
Museum including fourteen dresses with a mark in the form of the master's
signature printed in gold on the white silk ribbon of the corsage.
The two earliest exhibits, a visiting dress from beige broadcloth and
a ball dress from pale rose satin and chiffon, date from the 1890s and
come from the wardrobe of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna. This testifies
to the recognition of the talent of the fashion designer who received
the young Empress's orders as early as 1895.
The master's next period was connected with art nouveau in fashion design
in the 1900s. Soft fabrics of pastel shades, S-form silhouettes and rich
decorations characterize this epoch. Dresses made in Lamanova's studio
in the early 20th century are outstanding examples of the style. Two ball
dresses from yellow and sea green velvet and a ball dress from white tulle
were made for the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna: in the 1900s Nadejda Lamanova
was Purveyor of the Imperial Court.
One can see in Nadejda Lamanova's work of 1910 echoes of neoclassicism
which was then invading architecture and applied arts. The Hermitage collection
has a few models from this period including an evening dress from green
satin and black chiffon from the collection of V.V. Karakhan, drama actress
and wife of a famous diplomat.
Around this time Lamanova gained recognition both in Russia and Europe.
The renowned French fashion designer Paul Poiret who in the beginning
of the 20th supplanted Charles Worth as the world's fashion dictator was
introduced to the Russian master's art during his tour of European capitals
and spoke highly of her talent.
Lamanova also worked a lot for the theater and cinema: from 1901, for
the Moscow Art Theater, then for the Vakhtangov Theater and other drama
theaters in Moscow. The exhibition shows two of Nadejda Lamanova's theater
costumes from the Moscow Art Theater Museum created for the famous version
of The Marriage of Figaro according to Alexander Ya. Golovin's
After 1917, Nadejda P. Lamanova continued her work. She took part in the
creation of the Modern Costume Studio of the Artistic Production Department
of the People's Commissariat of Education. She became one of the first
professors of VKhUTEMAS. In the 1920s she published her articles in the
magazines Atelier, Krasnaya Niva, Iskusstvo v Bytu and others.
During these years Nadejda Lamanova created new models of fashionable
dresses. Some of them such as the three evening dresses from the Hermitage
collection follow the European developments, while others are evidently
influenced by Russian folk costume. Unfortunately, the latter are known
only from rare pictures and descriptions. Several such models were created
by Nadejda P. Lamanova in cooperation with the sculptor Vera I. Mukhina
in 1925 for the Paris International Exhibition where they won Grand Prix
for national originality in combination with contemporary design.
Nadejda P. Lamanova played a pivotal role in the development of prerevolutionary
Russian fashion design and creation of the Soviet fashion school after
1917; her contribution to the Russian theater costume is also significant.
Visiting Dress of the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna
Early 20th century