"A living slice of Americana," burbled a fashion-industry press release. The slice: the 47-model fashion display to be shown four times a day at the U.S. exhibition opening in Moscow late this week. But when 250 fashion editors of U.S. newspapers and magazines saw a preview in Manhattan last week, 41 of them signed a petition protesting that the half-hour show was "not representative of the American way of life."

The signers had various complaints in mind. One thought the display was "too frivolous," showing Americans doing a lot of playing—dancing, dining out, picnicking, traveling—but very little working. Others objected...

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