Fashion: Couture for the Comrades

Though no competition for Armani or Miyake, two young designers hope to banish the drab from Soviet closets

Katya Mikhulskaya giggles as she shows off her outfit -- a red-and-gold- braid ed army jacket paired with a frilly white lace skirt -- then coquettishly pulls up her hem to reveal black knee-high jackboots. Mikhulskaya, 23, developed her theory of fashion from years of riding the Moscow metro, where she saw women wearing a tasteless hodgepodge because the state-controlled fashion industry had made it impossible for them to put together well-coordinated wardrobes. "When it comes to fashion in Moscow," she says, "a sense of humor is especially important." Her fellow designer, Katya Fillipova, 29, pokes fun at Soviet icons; her...

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