Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


In the Russian Style

[Unless credited otherwise, all images are my screengrabs from the 2002 adaptation of Dr. Zhivago. The miniseries aired in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre. Set decoration by Philippa Hart and Tatiana MacDonald. Cotume design by Annie Symons. Click to enlarge.]

Looser. Softer. A little more bohemian. That's how I'd contrast director Giacomo Campiotti's 21st century interpretation of Dr. Zhivago with David Lean's glamorous 1960s take. Based on the production notes and interviews PBS posted when the small screen version ran in the States, it seems Campiotti's intent was to go in a completely different direction -- infuse his film with an authentic, period-specific Russian soul. And a more youthful spirit, reflecting the actual ages of the book's main characters, Yury, Lara and Tonya.  

Florals aren't specifically mentioned in the interviews (that I noticed) but leafy-green stems and flowers -- whether real or seen on printed and embroidered fabrics -- are definitely part of the miniseries' visual language. Especially when it comes to Keira Knightley's (Lara's) cozy house.

If you haven't watched Campiotti's adaptation, the scenes of war are brutal and haunting, so in contrast, Lara's plant-filled place, rustic as it is, comes across as fresh and light. The walls in the main room appear to be covered with botanical celery-green and white paper, a settee is draped with a blousy floral throw, and she has cheerful red geranium-looking flowers in window boxes. Literally the bright spot in bleak times.

Folksy nods to Russia come in with the braids she and Alexandra Maria Lara (Tonya) wear along with lots of embroidered dresses, tops and tunics. Again, it's a lighter look than we usually see when Russian style is explored on screen.

Lace is used a lot, too, as are stylized blossoms on heavier wovens that might reflect the intersection of the Ottoman Empire and Czarist Russia.

Campiotti acknowledges that many period films end up reflecting the era in which they were shot as much as the time they are supposed to represent. What's interesting to me about the 2002 miniseries, visually speaking, is how it foreshadows elements that come back in vogue five to ten years down the road, in the first decade of the new millennium: side braids, peasant tops, boho embroidery and jewelry, rustic pottery, Ottoman florals and European florals.

[Cobalt tile, what appears to be a zinc tub, and another house plant. Image via People.

To soak up Russian-meets-French-meets-Persian style, visit Tissus Tartares.

[Pictured above, Ete Moscovite followed by Andrinople.]

And if you find yourself in D.C. later this month, The Textile Museum is presenting a talk: The Kremlin Workshops and the Flowering of Ottoman Art in Russia. On Thursday, February 28 at 6 p.m., Scott Ruby, associate curator of Russian and Eastern European art at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, will explore the influence of Ottoman style on Moscow's creative output.

Related past post: Russian Linings.

1 comment:

faye said...

very nice prints=)