Nov 27 2007

CCCP shirts now fashionable

by in Uncategorized

The $600 shirts, anyways. Still, I feel so trendy now.

Empowered by an oil boom that pushed the country’s trade surplus past $94 billion this year, Russia has been flexing its muscles abroad. At home, meanwhile, young and trendy Muscovites are in the throes of nostalgia for the staples of Soviet childhoods, relics of a time when the U.S.S.R. was at the height of superpower status.

That may explain why one of the most popular fashion designers this fall is Denis Simachev, who is selling overcoats fastened with hammer-and-sickle buttons, gold jewelry minted to look like Soviet kopecks and shirts festooned with the Soviet coat of arms, complete with embroidered ears of wheat.

“People in their 30s see these kinds of symbols as reminders of happy memories, like going to pioneer camp where they lived together, ate breakfast together and played sports,” said Mr. Simachev, 33, who wears his hair in a Samurai-style ponytail. He insists he is no Communist — for one thing, his overcoats sell for about $2,100 and his T-shirts for about $600. His boutique is sandwiched between Hermès and Burberry stores on a pedestrian lane, Stoleshnikov, that is one of the capital’s most expensive shopping streets.

Mr. Simachev first attracted notice with a collection of retro Olympic tracksuits emblazoned with C.C.C.P., the Cyrillic initials for the U.S.S.R., and T-shirts printed with the likeness of President Vladimir V. Putin, which served as a wink at the cult of personality forming around the leader.

By tapping into a generation that is experiencing an identity crisis, Mr. Simachev, who is also known here as a D. J., a Ducati motorcycle rider and a snowboarder, has quickly become the epitome of Russian cool for a subset of gilded Moscow youth.

It’s already on my Christmas list

For those who would rather not spend $600 on a t-shirt, yet still want to participate in the resurgence of Soviet nostalgia, please note that you can acquire low-quality CCCP shirts for a few bucks at your local Russian souvenir market.

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