Earlier this week, while taking a leisurely stroll along the information superhighway, I came across a peculiar image. Shot by Steven Meisel, it shows some of our best models dressed like something between a tea cozy and a Commie jackass. Paused by this discovery, I realized that it had gone too far. The Motherland was speaking though me, as if to say “Back up the Russia-philia train for just one moment, son”. I am but a messenger.
It is certainly not “wrong” to be inspired by an aesthetic, but when does inspiration breach on clownificated abuse? Example: I love Japan and its many offerings but draw the line at food & fashion inspiration. The second you see me throwing peace signs in photos, wearing a bejeweled eye patch or mixing half-baked Japanese slang into my speech, feel free to shoot on sight. So where do we draw the line when it comes to Russia-worship?
Borat advertising did it, countless graphic designers and industrial bands are guilty of If. The most common offense is replacing characters with similar-looking Cyrillic ones. One perfect example is this Repo! poster. If you were to actually read what film title spells out it would sound like “Yah-eh-roh Mdi”. What could have been a fine piece of art is now a buffoon. Take heed, designer.
More friendly observations below the jump.
We’ve previously touched on the misrepresentation of Russian women in the States. The Stoli Hotel website continues the trend of Russian-girl-as-easy-access with its virtual receptionist. Donning an inexplicable fur coat behind the front desk she expresses special interest in “personally welcoming you”. Once inside, another young lady would just love to give you a private tour of the premises. Would it been less effective to present the hotel as an all-things-Russian establishment instead of a luxury cat house? Browse here.
You’ve read Lolita and watched the original Solaris. You’ve seen the propaganda art and maybe you’ve sewn a few Soviet patches to your Steampunk frock. Perhaps you’ve even been to Russia and returned with your eyes full of stars and snowflakes. It’s all well and good until the fur hats come out. Remember, the Motherland is watching.