Saturday, July 31, 2010

The amazing Russian Matryoshka dolls

31 renowned fashion designers around a single task: recreate the legendary Matryoshka dolls for the tenth anniversary celebration of the Russian Vogue. After an invitation from the magazine's editor in chief, Aliona Doletskaya - who, some say, is one of the few executives in the magazine who can be considered a human being - important names like Prada, Moschino, Saint Laurent, Armani, Dolce&Gabana, Oscar de La Renta, among others, explored a cutting-edge approach to the task, producing small, contemporary works of art, filled with a cultural connection between Russia's past and present.

Each brand produced a sketch, which were then handed over to some of the best craftsmen in the country and produced in wood, measuring 50 cm in height and 60 cm in diameter. The dolls were then hand-painted according to the drawings.

It was its quick popularity and wide spread that made the Matryoshka dolls one of Russia's most prevailing symbols. The first dolls are credited to Sergei Maliutin, dating back to 1890. Inspired by the Japanese wood dolls, he drew a project of one that would have typical clothes and appearance. They were eight small peasants that followed a concept already well known in the country, of hollow objects which contain similar ones inside in progressively smaller sizes (take the Fabergè eggs, for instance).

Those small objects travelled through an entire century, adapting themselves to historic demands - such as matryoshkas portraying leaders like Krushchev and Lenin, educational, decorative or commemorative demands, such as Russian Vogue's; this shows their the infinite ability to adapt themselves and the many interpretations they can have, remaining, at the same time, unchanged and never out of date. About the collection, Aliona Doletskaya said: each matryoshka is unique and a work of art in itself. Landmark, sculpture, work of art - you can call it whatever you like.

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