Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Design 1900 to Now, Room 74

Ensemble

ca. 1922 (designed), 2005 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a reproduction of the worksuit designed in 1922 by Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956). The V&A commissioned this reproduction for its 2005 Modernism exhibition. The suit illustrates the deep concern held by European modernists for finding an appropriate model of clothing for the new era in which they were living. The suit is based on surviving Rodchenko drawings, photographs and on the Rodchenko Room Project (2003) of the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu.

Rodchenko's original two-piece outfit was made by his wife Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958). Its simple, sturdy construction and plain wool fabric were intended to suggest connections with the worker. The design was practical for active work and the harsh climate of the Soviet Union.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Shirt
  • Trousers
Materials and Techniques
Wool (twill weave) and leather
Brief Description
Ensemble, production outfit, grey woven wool with leather trim, 2005 reconstruction of c.1922 ensemble designed and worn by the Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956).
Physical Description
A worksuit composed of a pair of trousers and shirt made from grey wool with black leather trim at collar, cuffs, pockets and waistband. The shirt has two prominent breast pockets; the trousers also features two large hip pockets. The trousers legs end at the ankle and are finished with a buckled leather band. The shirt cuffs are also trimmed with a buckled leather band.
Dimensions
  • Height: 1590mm
  • Width: 785mm
  • Depth: 445mm
approx. footprint (mm): H. 1550 x W.600 x D. 500
Production typeUnique
Gallery Label
The factory as design inspiration In the wake of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the country became a communist state and in 1922 it was renamed the Soviet Union. The Russian government called on designers and artists to help create a new Soviet identity and boost the country’s now state-owned industry. In response to an official appeal for innovative new textile designs, the artist Varvara Stepanova created the chevron pattern seen here on the fabric swatch. Her partner Aleksander Rodchenko, also an artist, designed a uniform-like outfit to show his admiration for factory workers. Rodchenko was photographed wearing the outfit himself. Fabric swatch with chevron design Printed textile, 1924 Designed by Varvara Stepanova Manufactured by the Tsindel Textile Factory, Soviet Union (now Russia) Printed cotton flannel Given by Martin Roth Museum no. T.213-2016 Factory-inspired outfit Jacket and trousers, about 1922 Designed by Aleksander Mikhailovich Rodchenko First made by Varvara Stepanova, Soviet Union (now Russia) Reproduction made by Aio Morishita, Japan, 2005 Machine-stitched wool with leather trims Museum no. T.40:1, 2-2005 The object sits in the 'Automation and Labour' section of the Design 1900-Now gallery opened in June 2021.(2021)
Object history
The V&A commissioned this reproduction suit for its 2005 Modernism exhibition. It was commissioned by the Museum from Japanese maker Aoi Morishita, based on surviving drawings and photographs and on the Rodchenko Room Project (2003) of the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu, Japan.
Summary
This is a reproduction of the worksuit designed in 1922 by Russian artist Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956). The V&A commissioned this reproduction for its 2005 Modernism exhibition. The suit illustrates the deep concern held by European modernists for finding an appropriate model of clothing for the new era in which they were living. The suit is based on surviving Rodchenko drawings, photographs and on the Rodchenko Room Project (2003) of the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu.



Rodchenko's original two-piece outfit was made by his wife Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958). Its simple, sturdy construction and plain wool fabric were intended to suggest connections with the worker. The design was practical for active work and the harsh climate of the Soviet Union.
Collection
Accession Number
T.40:1, 2-2005

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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