New issue of Clothing Cultures 3.3 - now available!

Intellect is delighted to announce that the latest issue of Clothing Cultures 3.3 is now available.


This special issue of Clothing Cultures focuses on Dress Culture in Imperial Russia from the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725) to the October Revolution of 1917. This issue intends to explore dress as a cultural and social phenomenon within the imperial historical framework and show how the production and circulation of material artefacts in cultural and artistic texts resulted in the construction of meaning. Authors in this issue demonstrate how dress was received in a variety of cultural contexts, in which it manifested aesthetic, ideological and social ideas. They employ methodological frameworks taken from the fields of structuralism and semiotics, as well as theories of reception and performance. The issue is organised in a historical progression from the eighteenth to the very beginning of the twentieth century.


For more information about this issue, please click here or email


Articles within this issue include (partial list):


The social life of the caftan in eighteenth-century Russia

Authors: Victoria Ivleva

Page Start: 171


This article explores the ‘cultural biography’ of the caftan, a garment, which underwent significant changes as a part of Peter I’s urban clothing revolution. The article discusses the evolution of the caftan and changes in its functions and meanings, its historical, social and literary modes of circulation and the semiotic value it acquired in the eighteenth-century clothing system, and more broadly in eighteenth-century Russian culture. As a key garment of the Petrine dress reforms, the caftan became a material symbol of eighteenth-century modernizing processes and was often employed by writers to comment on social and cultural policies and practices. When the caftan (as part of a uniform) started to be associated with state control and the infringement on individual freedom, it was replaced by the dressing gown, which became a symbol of internal peace, freedom and creativity in literature and cultural life.


Ceremonial ‘Russian dress’ as a phenomenon of court culture

Authors: Svetlana A. Amelekhina and Daniel Green

Page Start: 191


Russian rulers introduced numerous dress reforms in the imperial period, transforming the appearance of state institutions and thus the image of Russia and its elite. This article traces the origins and development of ‘Russian dress’, a stylised version of female Russian folk costume introduced to the Russian court by Catherine the Great (1762–1796) and worn, in various forms, from the 1770s to 1917. It examines the symbolic role ‘Russian dress’ played in shaping the image of the ruler, Russia’s relationship with the West, and shifting notions of Russianness at home and abroad.


Satires of fashionable clothing and literature in nineteenth-century Russia

Authors: Colleen McQuillen

Page Start: 247


In early nineteenth-century Russia the categories of fashionable clothing and fashionable literature emerged side by side, which gave critics of the corresponding industries a convenient discourse for satirising the latter in terms of the former. The writings and drawings this article examines show that the enmeshment of these two feminine economies endured for decades as a productive trope despite changes in the gendering of the garment industry around mid-century. Just as Roland Barthes asserted the legibility of fashion as a semiotic system, this study treats verbal and visual representations of clothing as legible texts that are open to interpretation. It also probes the problematic relationship among body, text and clothing in representations where the clothing is not worn on the body but rather becomes a body through the literary device of personification.


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