Political Dress


As a part of series of documentaries in the Polish Institute - "Poland - shortly".

Thursday 11 October 2012, 6:00 pm

Polish Institute

Budapest VI. Nagymező u. 15.

Political Dress shows how bright colours and home-made tailoring can serve as a personal weapon against an oppressive political regime

Can one's appearance be a manifestation of liberty? Director Judyta Fibiger's film, produced within theGuide to the Poles documentary series, takes a look at Poland's style evolution. From the hard-headed Stalinist era, when colorful socks could get you reprimanded by the militia, through a fascination with Parisian fashion in the '60s, the flower children of the '70s up through the martial law period and the punk-rock '80s.

In communist times fashion was an escape from the dullness of the everyday. In spite of the prevailing stereotype, socialist authorities weren't set on uniformity. Yet as a result of faulty economic management the government couldn't satisfy society's needs, including its needs in the wardrobe department. The Polish fashion industry was seriously lacking in all sorts of resources. In effect, citizens of the People's Republic of Poland sported a hum drum look that had nothing to do with personal expression.

Against the backdrop of this intrepid greyness of the socialist nation, a certain "underground" style flourished. Young people craved self-expression, they wanted to dress like other young people in New York, London, Paris. Which is why scoring and sewing clothing in Poland was an extreme sport practiced by thousands of young people. But it was worth it - to be elegant and fashionable was the word on the street. Spontaneously, fashion became an expression of independent ideologies, negating Poland's 'here and now'.

Political Dress shares the experiences of those who were singled out as ideological 'saboteurs' by the socialist authorities. The documentary presents the stories and opinions of stylish personalities of the day, including photographer Tadeusz Rolke, designer Barbara Hoff, the writer Janusz Głowacki, "Biba" fashion founder Barbara Hulanicki, musician Tomek Lipiński and contemporary painter Wilhelm Sasnal.



Poles and Hungarians know each other well and know a lot about themselves and their culture. But not always know the background of events or those people whose work is important part of Polish Culture. This time - for those who knows Polish or English - we want to bring closer some of these fascinating phenomena.

Screenings will be in Polish with English subtitles, for free.