A New Look for “The New Woman”: The Shaping of “Proletarian Taste” (1945-1951)

  • Danijela Velimirović Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
fashion, clothing, ethno motives, ideology, communism, PR Serbia


The post-war “new woman” was supposed to reject fashion as a cultural practice of the decadent bourgeois world. The paper analyzes the attempt made by the Yugoslav communist regime to establish original socialist clothing outside the influence of western systems of fashion. I will explore the characteristics of “utopian clothing” and the bases of a new aesthetic. Simple, practical, unobtrusive and appropriate clothing displayed the role of women in socialist society to the world at large, at the same time reminding women of the duties and limitations which came with the role. Even though gaudiness was declared backward, the public taste could be appeased through the use of ethno motives. Ornamentation based on the reinterpretation of traditional cultural heritage was interpreted as a defense against western influences as well as a visual display of national harmony. However, the attempt to establish a radically different course in fashion was deeply conflicting. The imposed oblivion towards old dress codes implied a look back: the production of exemplary styles mimicked not only traditional material heritage, but also western fashion of the early 1940’s.


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