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A Pioneer Of Women’s Liberation

Coco Chanel, c. 1960. Courtesy of Chanel; photograph, Douglas Kirkland

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Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel is a creative icon who has freed the ‘new’ woman from the millennium of dictated dress codes, stereotypical behaviors and clichéd sexual and status simplification. The little black dress has become synonymous of sophistication, to the femininity she gave the character flavor of relaxation and empowered women with timeless clothing pieces and equipped them with inspiring pieces of jewelry, distinctive decorative accessories and bold fragrances. Since then, with the Chanel fashion women were able to step sovereignly and freely aside of male. Coco resisted the reservation of clothing and decorative pieces and fabrics as exclusively masculine in order to help revolutionary women on their journey to a more a more useful elegance and a more noticeable fatality. Without any doubt she succeeded. She gave the new woman what she could not have before: practicality, youthfulness, timelessness and freedom, which was often scandalous at the time of her creation. But it has paid off with a revolution in the clothing industry and, more importantly, with a historic step in liberating the modern woman.

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The more we discover the veils of narratives and records of strong, penetrating, and generally socially engaged women throughout human history, the more we find that their legacy has decisively influenced the development and emergence of society and culture, including modern ones. Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel is certainly among the creative icons that has freed woman from millennia of dictated dress codes, archetypal patterns of behavior, and clichéd sexual and status simplification. The little black dress became synonymous with sophistication, gave femininity the character of relaxation, and empowered the woman with timeless pieces of clothing and equipped it with inspiring pieces of jewelry, recognizable decorative accessories and bold fragrances. “Fashion passes, style remains,”[1] she said. In her oeuvre, she did not forget about theater and film.

Here and now, we try to deliberately avoid discussing Coco Chanel’s supposedly controversial life trials, such as flirting with military ideology or unconventionality in dealing with partnerships and family relationships, or encroaching on illicit substances, although they undoubtedly left visible traces on her creative excesses. We prefer to focus on its most important socio-cultural contribution. On the line of historical development, Coco Chanel took place at a time of social upheaval, in the post-world war I period at the beginning of the sexual revolution, which later included the free choice of marriage, greater economic independence, legalization of divorce and free lifestyles, which were expressed primarily by dressing. Time provided an opportunity to shape one’s own individualism when the externally mediated biography characteristic of traditional society begins to withdraw the internal, self-reflexively shaped one characteristic of modern society. Coco knew how to equip them with pioneering and cult fashion for a bolder and more relaxed, and especially liberated women of the 20th century.

Modern society is a society of the fashion industry in which fashion is a mass social phenomenon. “Women certainly have the greatest credit for the development of fashion, especially with the democratization of the masses of the 20th century, as women play an important role in modern consumption” (Koenig 1967: 131). But even this Koenig’s classic sociological definition Coco Chanel managed to take to its own mill, as it persuaded potentially increasingly free women to spend on timeless and character trends, otherwise away from the shapeless democratized masses as a result of the industrial revolution. If we had to use only one definition for her fashion, it would be consistent enough  with the original French naming – the phrase facon de parler, which means “way of expression, communication” (Barnard 1996: 7-10). And if there was a fashion designer that knew in details how to communicate with fashion creations because it came from her originality, spontaneity, experience, independence and vision, it was definitely Coco.

Self-assertion reflection

As an orphan from the convent, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel first had to experience herself in patching up her own torn life story, which was filled with contradictions and intrigues.[2] But fortunately all was overshadowed by the great creative talent she displayed. A strict and frugal life with nuns who taught Gabrielle sewing – a skill that she perfected and gave her a new impetus for the creative path. With everything she did,[3] she created her own lifestyle and began to understand the female soul in relation to the man she was constantly and everywhere trying to get into her own job. At a very young age, she set herself a clear goal: a dignified life and assertion in high society. She took care of both of them on her own with a great deal of determination, a fearless character, an uncompromising struggle for empowerment, innovative creativity and motivation in relation to all of her successful men[4] (Chaney 2011: 48–72).

For Coco Chanel, connecting with the then elite and socially influential individuals was crucial. After difficult beginnings, male admirers helped her to develop the business in the 1920s and soon afterwards she opened fashion boutiques in elite coastal resorts.[5] Inspired by men’s fashion, she began experimenting with women’s jersey clothing and softer, free-falling fabrics. For the visionary for the fashion liberation of women as she was, by 1919 the business in Paris was booming.

At the same time, the fashion and later the global world was marked by the CC monogram, which was designed by the visibly already established Coco.[6] Coco self-reflexively offered the woman everything she could not have before: relaxation, practicality, youth, timelessness and freedom. She made a range of casual sweaters and knit jackets, simple business blouses and short skirts. Evening dresses were more glamorous, but did not deviate from the basic stylistic simplicity. Chanel fashion became synonymous with usability when the costume got a sophisticatedly placed horizontal pocket and a round-cut collar, by which it is still today, without exception easily recognizable. Clothing pieces were a notion of youthful effortless wear, but equipped with higher price tags, as Coco targeted primarily the conscious and liberated members of the wealthier classes (Hennessy 2012: 249).

The Coco Chanel lifestyle also suggested a specific and recognizable choice of colors. With her collections of clothing and fashion accessories, she most often promoted a palette of shades of gray, black and white, navy blue, and remained an enthusiast of beige. All the colors expressed a determined woman who could sovereignly and free-spiritedly step alongside male challengers. Coco was a master of accessories with which she maintained femininity and sophistication with femininity. Gold-plated buttons and bags with a gold-plated chain were also among the invigorating accessories. Costume jewelry for women who admired Chanel’s style, however, was not only acceptable, but even highly desirable. Her pioneering role in empowering women was joined by innovation in combining real gemstones and artificial stones – famous pearls were her favorites (ibid. 2012). Wearing these along with a skirt suit and the famous Chanel jacket with a cropped collar was popularized even in the 60s by the US First Lady Jackie Onassis, as she was a big fan of style for the liberated new woman. If not sooner, in the second half of her creative life, it became clear that Gabrielle Bonheur Coco Chanel, with her stylistic purity, precision and innovativeness, had established herself as the fashion icon of the century.

Liberation of gender identity

“Men act, woman appear” is Berger’s famous thought, which illustrates the asymmetry of gender identity due to the activity of men and the passivity of women. The role of the man is to observe and explore the opposite sex, while the role of the woman is to allow herself to be observed and explored by the opposite sex (Berger 1982: 13). Dressing has played an important role in this throughout history. Barnard went even further, as according to him “… a man should wear trousers, a woman a skirt, a man’s color should be blue, and a woman’s pink” (Barnard 1996: 110-119). At the same time, he tried to europocentrically define that ‘feminine’ is synonymous with shyness, diligence and politeness, and ‘masculine’ is synonymous with aggression, domination and employment outside the home (ibid.).

But if fashion has always been primarily a way to constitute, signal and reproduce femininity or masculinity, Coco Chanel has decided to take the ingrained codes of gender identity into her own hands. She gave to the individualistic understanding of the world an advantage over sexual identification, when the identity of an individual is no longer part of the natural and predetermined, but a reflection of a personal and a free decision. As Descamps would conclude, it is only that liberated we govern our psycho-social appearance and influence the broader social perception of ourselves as individual and equal beings (Descamps 1979). Coco therefore resisted the reticence of some key clothing and decorative items as exclusively male, in order to revolutionize women on the path towards more comfortable femininity, more useful sophistication, and more noticeable fatality. She definitely did it. She has succeeded given of all of Chanel’s iconic pieces, that have survived decades of fashion trends and seasonal collections, as they remain inscribed in stylistic timelessness.

Because the struggle for gender rights and freedoms has a long and important history, dressing along with language as expressive codes on this path has been of paramount importance. Dresses appear as “words that we combine into sentences with our image.” With them, the individual communicates with the environment (Lurie 1981: 5). With her clothing expressiveness, Coco helped women on the path of such communication and the widest possible social liberation.

Within the pluralistic conception of culture, we come to understand fashion as a specific way of life that satisfies the need to change cultural activities and living standards. “Fashion and clothing mark and herald social and cultural realities. They act as artifacts, practices and institutions that constitute social consciousness, values, ideas and experiences” (Barnard 1996: 36). With Chanel’s clothing culture that was eventually institutionalized, social consciousness has changed in understanding a new woman, strong and independent, with new values, ideas and desires, a woman looking into the future.

As only rare fashion designers have succeeded, among them the famous Frenchman Jean Patou, Coco Chanel has freed women from formalistic clothing for the next centuries. Although Coco was marked by creating in the post-war spirit, she was the originator of the creation of the modernist woman and influenced later many fashion trends. Before the First World War, in 1910, she opened the first hat shop in Paris, which attracted many unconventional women, and representatives of the social elite also began to flirt with her fashion. In the 1920s and 1930s, she developed a recognizable clothing line that, with clever simplifications hitherto seen only in men’s fashion, followed the sober and collected usability of post-war clothing (Cosgrave 2012: 18).

The women took courage and literally adopted the relaxed Chanel jersey and tweed suits, until then reserved for sailors, as well as the later rational shift to relaxed shirts and wide-bottomed pants, until then reserved for men. The arrival of the little black dress, until then reserved for mourning, resonated for decades to come, more casual shorter skirts were snatched, Slavic lines of women’s costume and costume jewelry, until then reserved for the wealthiest, and fashion accessories – jewelry, handbags and perfumes – they have become a trademark of the new woman of the 20th century. Chanel’s fashion pieces brought a timelessness of relaxed appeal and for decades remained a reflection of the airy youthfulness and effortless charm embodied by Coco Chanel. Not surprisingly, Coco Chanel is the only fashion icon to be listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century and was ranked among the 50 greatest women who have historically changed the world[7] (Horton 2007: 103).

Cults of attractive relaxation

For Coco Chanel, fashion was more than just a commandment living in clothing: “Fashion is in the sky, on the street, fashion is related to ideas, the way we live, what happens around us” (Hennessy 2012: 248). Because she came mainly from her boyish figure, Chanel introduced a wide-ranging approach to fashion with the commandments of otherwise “masculine” comfort and ease of wearing, which marked the “new” woman. Her own way of life and appearance embodied modernist ideals, supported by strong publicity, which then and forever gave her a solid and iconic status. With her creations, Coco Chanel has forever changed the way women understand themselves and “how they behave”. And she unwaveringly believed in a transformation so that even the poor could be worn as millionaires with her creations (Pendergast 2004: 792).

A tight corset just because it’s socially acceptable? But not with Coco. Due to Chanel fashion, women were no longer a decorative object and a wealth of men, but on the right path towards independence. With her unique, rebellious attitude and recognizable clothing, decorative accessories and fragrances, she demonstrated to women that they can be free in every way – if they are willing to pay the price for freedom. Despite many social criticisms, Chanel has always defended her fashion and view of things, which was often scandalous during her creation, but ultimately paid off with a revolution in the clothing industry and, more importantly, with a historic step in liberation of a modern women.

Jersey

Coco was the first fashion designer to use a fabric reserved for men’s underwear for women’s daywear. Jersey was, in her view, simple, practical, and comfortable, and in her final Chanel creation the perfect antithesis of what women’s clothing used to be: complex, exaggerated, and designed around an uncomfortable corset. The choice of material was also subject to the time, as there was a great shortage of more expensive fabrics due to the war, which Coco could not afford at the beginning of her career. In her simplified creations, the women looked more androgenic, boyish, as the jersey was free-falling, but the freedom they felt while wearing was irreplaceable and unstoppable. The revolution for women’s freedom was already on the march.

Costume

As we note, Coco was among the first to look for inspiration in men’s clothing to create women’s iconic fashion. One of the most recognizable creations is the Chanel tweed costume. The jacket has a round-cut collar with knitted linings, three-quarter sleeves, and is adorned with metal buttons, with an accompanying flat-cut and tight-fitting skirt over the knees. Such a costume would be the perfect choice for a post-war woman looking to build a career in a male-dominated workplace. Chanel’s costume was favored by many celebrities and cult women, such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, and it went down in history forever when it was worn by Jackie Kennedy on the day of her husband’s murder. Of course, there were some other useful versions of Chanel costumes that were combined with other garments and adorned with typical Chanel jewelry[8] (Laver 1995: 272–275).

Pants for women

Coco loosened the belts of the dresses, shortening the skirts to make them more useful. And then came the moment to revalue the hitherto male piece of clothing – trousers. Although women often had to wear trousers during the war when performing traditional men’s chores, Chanel played a large role in promoting their popularity as a women’s piece of fashion clothing. It started on the beach of Deauville resort when she didn’t want to be exposed and decided to wear sailor pants instead of a swimsuit. The style spread rapidly as she was imitated by many female followers. She borrowed masculine relaxation and sovereignty to modernize women’s fashion by wearing pants and introducing functional sportswear. She later publicly regretted that her decision influenced the course of fashion history, as today too many women wear them even to a gala dinner (ibid. 1995).

Little black dress

Chanel once said of her fashionable hats and loose-fitting clothes, the design of which was influenced primarily by her life desires: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not a luxury.”[9] And soon a new item of clothing appeared, which did not give her peace of mind and she tackled it. At the time, the fashionable rainbow blues worn by her classmates upset her quite a bit: “These colors are impossible, women, I will dress you in black!” (Montalembert 2011: 63) Today, it is hard to imagine a world without black as flawless elegance in choosing a dress, but before Chanel, black was reserved for funerals and mourning widows. Coco revived the black dress in a new image, so that the little black dress (PRN – petite robe noire, LBD – little black dress) became a modern cocktail dress and a cult piece of the next century. She also added the famous wardrobe clasp, which was published in 1926 in Vogue magazine with a sketch of a simple black dress and labeled it “a ray that would be worn all over the world” (Pendergast 2004).

Jewelry

French designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was among the first to use costume jewelry in his collections. But the real trend happened with Chanel jewelry when Coco presented a match of counterfeit large pearls along with precious stones. The decorative extravagance was the perfect accompaniment to her minimalist clothing. The fashion guru thought it was best to have a bunch of fake gems and one or two real ones, with all of her wealthy and petite clients agreeing. Although the counterfeit jewelry market existed before, it was reserved for those who could not afford a real gemstone. With Chanel jewelry has been different ever since.

‘Suntan’

In the early 20th century, pale skin that was occasionally and partially tanned was associated with the lower strata. In 1923, however, Coco Chanel made the sun a real fashion hit when she returned from a cruise on the French Riviera to Paris completely tanned. Everyone admired her darker complexion and hurried to follow this natural ‘disguise’. ‘Suntan’ has become a sign of wealth and beauty, a trend with lasting effects. So, Coco can also be thanked for the popularity of summer tanned skin.

Perfume

The 1920s were important for liberating a woman with a bold inspiration carried by new fragrances. Until then, they were made from pure extracts of individual flowers, so Chanel perfume became a concept of a unique fragrance that combined and blended two different scents in creating perfume number 5. In 1920,[10] Coco created Chanel No. 5, the first odor that deliberately smelled artificial. It was also made from unnatural ingredients, unlike regular perfumes that were created with floral ingredients. Although the aforementioned Paul Poiret was the first fashion house with its own perfume scent, the designer missed out on the move when he declined his name on the bottle. Chanel was a visionary with the soul of a free modern woman, so she imaginatively put her name on perfume number 5 and Chanel Nº 5 rapidly expanded into new markets. To this day, the Chanel perfume line has maintained a reputation for cult scents that are hard to overpower (ibid. 2004).

“You notice a dress when a woman is poorly dressed, when she is dressed flawlessly, you notice a woman,” (Cosgrave 2012: 138) is a thought that catapulted Coco Chanel to one of the greatest creative icons in human history. And her legacy therefore remains with us.

Bibliography

BARNARD, Malcolm (1996): Fashion as Communication. London; Routledge.

BARNES, Ruth / EICHER, Joanne B. (ed.) (1992): Dress and Gender: Making and Meaning. Providence; Oxford: Berg.

BERGER, John (1982): Ways of Seeing. London; Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

CHANEY, Lisa (2011): Chanel: An Intimate Life. London: Penguin Books.

CHARLES-ROUX, Edmonde (2005): Coco Chanel. Ein Leben. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag.

CLICK, Calvy (2019): “Do You Know the Story behind Chanel’s Interlocking C Logo?” In: Who What Where. https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/the-story-behind-chanel-logo/slide18 (quoted on March 1st 2020).

COSGRAVE, Bronwyn (2012): Vogue on Coco Chanel. London: Quadrille Publishing.

DESCAMPS, Marc-Alain (1979): Psychosociologie de la mode. Paris: Presses Univeritaries de France.

HENNESSY, Kathryn (ed.) (2012): Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style. New York: Smithsonian.

HORTON, Ros / SIMMONS, Sally (2007): Women Who Changed the World. London: Quercus.

KONIG, Rene (1967): Kleider und Leute zur Sociologie der Mode. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Bucherei.

LAVER, James (1995): Costume and Fashion. London: Thames and Hudson.

LURIE, Alison (1981): The Language of Clothes. London: Random House.

MONTALEMBERT, Catherine de (2011): Coco – Facetten einer Ikone. München: Knesebeck G.m.b.G. & Co. Verlag KG.

PENDERGAST, Tom; Sarah (2004): Fashion, Costume and Culture. Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale.

TILAR, J. Mazzeo (2012): Chanel Nº5. Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe Verlag.


[1] La mode se démode, le style jamais. Fashion passes, style remains. Coco Chanel’s statement on the ephemerality of fashion can be found in a number of publications (Cosgrave 2012: 155).

[2] Chanel was the second daughter of a washerwoman and travel saleswoman. She had four surviving siblings. When the father hired two sons to work on the farm, he left his daughters Gabrielle, Julie and Antoinette in the orphanage of the convent in Moulins after the death of their mother in 1895 (Charles-Rous 2005: 50–60).

[3] At 18, she left an orphanage and worked as a seamstress in a shop during the day. At night, she sang at a local nightclub to make a living, where she earned the nickname “Coco,” which is an abbreviation of the French word ‘cocotte’ and means ‘detained woman’ (ibid.: 88).

[4] Financial independence and self-awareness of her early life trials encouraged her to have relationships with high-profile, influential, but at the same time controversial men. Among them were Picasso, Cocteau, and Stravinsky. She had more intimate relationships with the seven and is said to have directly influenced her inspiration and business success.

[5] Fashion boutiques along the coastal cities of Deauville and Biarritz encouraged Coco to create from different materials, to stylistically transfer from a free man to a free woman, so she moved with her business to Paris on Rue 31 Cambon, where Chanel still lives today.

[6] It is not entirely clear where Coco Chanel got its inspiration for its double C logo. The same logo is located in the stained glass window of the Château de Crémat in Nice (France), which Coco Chanel has visited several times (Click 2019).

[7] Other women who have marked human history include Cleopatra, Mary Magdalene, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Austen, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Katharine Hepburn, Simone de Beauvoir, Rosa Parks, Eva Peron, Margaret Thatcher, Marilyn Monroe, Germaine Greer, Billie Jean King, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Princess Diana.

[8] The classic Chanel costume jacket had four pockets with a straight neckline at hip height. It could be worn open, with a longer chain at chest height or even up to the waist, usually on a single clasp with a metal button or a simple zipper. The lining of the jacket should match the outer fabric or blouse. With a classic Chanel costume, a pastel-colored blouse with a silk collar was most often worn.

[9] Le luxe doit être confortable, sinon ce n’est pas du luxe.

[10] The origin of the perfume dates back to 1920, while distribution began in 1921 (Tilar 2012: 97).

Jerca Legan Cvikl is Slovene anthropologist, communication expert, publicist, philanthropist, actress and founder. She holds a PhD in philosophy and theory of visual culture and become a public figure due to her professional occupation(s). She has established herself as an investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of the print media, a reporter and editor at public television, as an university lecturer, event manager, sustainable tourism developer and later as a consultant for strategic communication in Slovenia and abroad. She is working in fields of strategic communications in public and private sector, media production and analysis, scientific research, film and commercial production, while running a variety of social responsible projects, locally and internationally. She is an author of five books and dozens of professional and scientific articles, and co-author of many other publicly presented papers. As an expert commentator she is often involved in public discussions on socially relevant issues in everyday life. She is also known as a committed philanthropist and a fighter for women's empowerment, which is why she founded the international women's organization Femmes Sans Frontières Foundation. Or as she says: "The world would be better and more beautiful place, if all women and men were fully respected and made equal decisions."

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Bringing People Together with Easy to make Russian Comfort Food

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image source:Corrie Cooks

Russia has a long history of droughts and famines. Although there have been no famines since 1947, the former Soviet Union saw many food shortages. By the time the Soviet Union was about to collapse, many common items of food were being rationed.

Shelves held only rotten vegetables, butchers counters had pitiful scraps of bone and fat instead of sausages, chops, and joints. As recently as last year Russia halted exports of its wheat as fears of a shortage once again raised its head.

So it may seem a strange choice when it comes to discussing cuisine, comfort food, and cookery. But, the advent of the multi-cooker has made it easier than ever to try new recipes at home, and Russian food has much to recommend.

Why Russian food?

Because it is comforting, is the simplest answer to this question. Russian weather can at times be harsh, and some areas are bitterly cold. If you come from a country that enjoys a full spectrum of seasons then you will understand that when winter comes, sometimes all you want is some proper comfort food.

Russian cuisine can provide dishes that are full of carbs, fill up bellies, and generally satisfy and protect against the cold. If you were from England then you would probably describe some Russian food as the kind of meal that sticks to your ribs.

However, if the English think they eat a lot of potatoes, then they can think again, compared to the Russians. Mashed potato may well be the ultimate comfort food, and it is served everywhere in Russia. Ok, maybe not in a pizza restaurant or McDonald’s. Actually, McD’s did make a mashed potato burger but chose to market that in China instead of Russia.

But the truth is, Russian food can be very satisfying, and while it may not be diet-friendly, it can be heart-warming and is often about family and friends. Much of Russian food is home-cooked and shared with families. An interest in Russian culture and history could help to bring people together in all walks of life, especially if enjoyed with some pelmeni.

Why are people more interested in foreign cuisines now?

Last year saw the Covid pandemic arrive that is still currently ongoing. This resulted in lockdowns, self-isolation, and quarantines, not to mention far more serious consequences. The effects of Covid are still being felt through Europe and across the globe. It could be years before a return to a proper sense of normality happens.

Because of the restrictions that were put in place, people have been unable to visit restaurants, and they have also had travel plans curtailed. For many, this meant taking the problem into their own hands and finding a solution. The answer for some was to take up cooking as a hobby and try different recipes.

Cooking at home during lockdowns meant that a new hobby was found, time was used more usefully, and knowledge of other cultures could be explored through the medium of food. The success of one or two kitchen appliances has also helped.

What is a multi-cooker, and can they really help someone to cook?

A multi-cooker is an appliance that has various cooking modes and options. They may be able to sous-vide, saute, bake, and cook rice. They may also have options for slow-cooking which is great for tough cuts of meat. Plus they can pressure cook, to speed up recipes that traditionally take a long time.

Basically, a modern multi-cooker, such as the Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi, is similar to the older style pressure cookers, but with a lot more features. They have helped many amateur cooks to start to try different recipes as the cooker does most of the work, and the food is ready very quickly.

They might be a good option when put together with Russian comfort food, as the meals can be prepared and cooked with very little fuss.

So, what does Russian food consist of? Is it just lots of cabbage and potatoes?

Why do Russians eat so many potatoes?

Ok, so it is true that potatoes are popular, but part of this is for practical reasons. When it comes to serving up sustainable food and ingredients, potatoes are up there with the best.

Every country has its own main carbohydrate when it comes to staple dishes. This may be pasta (or noodles), rice, or potatoes. Obviously, bread is a factor too, but for the purposes of this article, the first three will be looked at as they form the basis of many meals across the world.

Between potatoes, rice, and pasta, the former is the most environmentally friendly option by far. Also, in the harsh winters suffered in parts of Russia, there is often a lack of fresh vegetables, and potatoes are always available.

Favourite food options for Russians will often include dishes with potato, however, for the national dish, this is swapped out for wheat.

What is the national dish of Russia?

Pelmeni is a kind of dumpling that is usually stuffed with meat. It can be served in soup, deep-fried, slathered in butter, and is highly popular. It is sometimes treated a little as convenience food but can make a hearty broth or soup with sour cream too.

It would be possible to make pelmeni in an Instant Pot, and there are plenty of recipes for similar dumplings on the internet. But, perhaps this particular part of Russian culture should be saved for traditional cooking methods.

Multi-cookers are often associated with healthy cooking, and it might be a shame to take away the joy of heavily buttered pelmeni, or deep-fried dumplings, by trying to turn them into a calorie-friendly option.

Other dishes that have been enjoyed over the centuries include borscht, blintzes, plov, kotleti, and of course beef stroganoff. There is also solyanka soup which is both sweet and sour and is believed to be the best hangover cure available.

Borscht is highly adaptable to the seasons as it can be eaten cold in warm weather, or hot when the winter nights draw in.

Making Russian dishes easily

So, assuming you have access to a multi-cooker or Instant Pot, then you may be able to pull off some authentic Russian dishes without too much trouble.

Beef stroganoff has been around since the 1800’s when it first appeared and has been attributed to the Count Stroganoff of that period. Whatever the truth is, stroganoff is one meal from Russia that has spread to many other countries.

The problem with this dish is that many countries such as the UK and the US adopted it and switched out quality ingredients for convenient ones such as tinned mushroom soup. Fortunately, recipes from Corrie Cooks and other websites have now corrected this, and you can find much better versions.

Making the best beef stroganoff could mean a lot of slow cooking but a pressure cooker means that you can achieve the same results in 20 minutes. To make the best stroganoff use good ingredients. There are two schools of thought here though.

Many cooks will advocate the use of sirloin or rib-eye steak for beef stroganoff, but others will prefer a long slow cook with a cheaper, but tastier cut of meat. If you are using the Instant Pot for fast results then go for a quality piece of beef.

Summary

Russian food may not be popular in the way that Thai, Chinese, or Italian are. However, dishes from this country are made with love and they bring people together.

One could be more satisfying than producing a tasty stroganoff in just twenty minutes and serving it up to a table full of family on a cold winter’s night?

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Dongyu Zhou wears Constellation

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Award-winning Chinese actress Dongyu Zhou wears OMEGA’s Constellation Small Seconds.

A winner of multiple domestic and foreign film awards, Dongyu Zhou is an accomplished actress capable of delivering convincing and critically acclaimed performances ranging in genres from crime thriller to romantic comedy.

Her many accolades include the Best Actress award at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards in 2016 for her impressive performance in Soul Mate, and best actress for Better Days at the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards and 33rd Golden Rooster Awards.

As Dongyu Zhou is the youngest actress to have been honoured with the three most significant film accolades in the history of Chinese film, her choice of watch proves that the timeless OMEGA is never out of step with style.

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A New Tribe Lands As An Icon Ascends

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Roger Dubuis has consistently demonstrated a penchant for impertinence and extravagance. Sustained by an integrated manufacture, a flagrant disregard for convention is the backbone of its bold attitude. A true innovator, the luxury watchmaker is driven by an irrepressible willingness to come up with high-impact ideas, boundary-pushing technologies and unmistakable out-of-the-box designs. Living by the motto NO RULES, OUR GAME, the Maison proves once again it is the most exciting way to experience Hyper Horology with the launch of the new Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon.

THE FUTURE OF HYPER HOROLOGY IS HERE

Extravagant, determined and disruptive, the bold and bright are the ones that stand out. Just like any star should. But a star doesn’t just appear. It takes dedication. Innovation. Craftsmanship. Only then can an icon ascend…Introducing the Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon: a star restyled for the new world. To mark the launch of the inimitable skeleton design reinterpreted with a contemporary touch, Roger Dubuis is set to celebrate modern art in all its shapes. Taking form in Hyper Horology with the Maison’s most recent interpretation of the Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon, this icon of watchmaking is brought to a whole new level; a masterpiece that cannot be ignored, just like its wearer.

Finding kinship with those disruptive souls who dare to make a difference, the Maison partners with the URBAN ART TRIBE, world-famous urban culture artists that reflect Roger Dubuis’ values: break the rules, showcase radical expertise and obsess daily over the design of the future.

THE EXCALIBUR SINGLE FLYING TOURBILLON: FROM A TIMEPIECE TO A MASTERPIECE

Roger Dubuis continues shaking up the world of haute horlogerie with the launch of the new Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon. Enhanced with meticulous care, the timepiece is reinterpreted with sophistication and flair using modern and technical materials.

A contemporary masterpiece for the wrist, the new design showcases clean cut lines on both case and movement. Creating the impression of a thinner look and feel, while heightening the sense of transparency and depth, the calibre is rebuilt from bottom to top in an architectural feat that sees the Roger Dubuis star now levitate freely above the barrel. A strong visual identity is created with a signature two-line pattern – seen between the notch on the crown and bezel, the star’s arms, the tourbillon’s cage, the hour’s marking on the flange, the hands – all of which cleverly appear as though they will meet but never do. This dynamic aesthetic is amplified by the Poinçon de Genève, the most demanding signature in fine watchmaking and one that requires the manual decoration of each and every component of the watch, as well as unexpected and antinomic decorations in modern haute horlogerie, such as circular-brushed top surfaces and polished angles that demonstrate Roger Dubuis’ visionary approach.

Always keeping the wearer in mind, the new RD512SQ calibre is stunning in its technical prowess. Now with a titanium lower tourbillon cage – twice lighter than stainless steel – and a mirror-polished Cobalt Chrome upper tourbillon cage, the weight of the piece is reduced to optimum effect. All of which allows the power reserve to be radically optimised to 72 hours, providing the option of leaving the watch unworn over weekends without the worry of resetting come Monday. Proving no detail goes unconsidered, non-magnetic material is used inside the tourbillon to better serve the wearers and improve their experience.

Comfort is key, which is why a range of entirely new strap sizes have become available. With 5 sizes from 0 to 4, finding the perfect strap ensures the buckle is always centred on the wrist, as a Quick Release System offers ultimate flexibility. Underscored by rarity, the 42mm case is only available in eighty-eight pieces per colourway: Dark Grey DLC Titanium, Cobalt Chrome CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM and the new EON GOLD, a pink gold shade that remains more stable thanks to non-tarnish technology. Reimagined for a contemporary era, an icon ascends in the shape of the Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon.

THE ART OF GLOW

Showcasing the Maison’s obsession with art, light and luminescence, in addition to our icons comes the Excalibur Glow Me Up, a world-premiere for Roger Dubuis limited to just eight timepieces.

By day, the new Single Flying Tourbillon calibre is elegantly adorned with 60 baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel. By night, it’s a complete different version that comes to life through this vibrant timepiece with luminescent and dazzling diamonds, an achievement made possible thanks to an intricate two-part process. The first involves filling the grooves that hold the stones in place with Super-Luminova, a singular way to make the diamonds appear luminescent without altering them. Secondly, an additional patent enables Super-Luminova to be applied on the angles of the movement, as well as to the iconic star-shaped bridge. Because at Roger Dubuis less is never more.

ART IN THE MAKING

Roger Dubuis is a destination for the avant-garde. Committed to non-conformity, the Maison stands with those who choose to blaze their own trail. To show what happens when rules are rejected and creativity is unleashed, Roger Dubuis partners with the URBAN ART TRIBE, composed of two urban culture creatives – tattoo artist Dr. Woo and graffiti artist Gully. Rulebreakers in their own fields, they too shape the future by refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer. Brought together to unite a wider community of daring minds, Roger Dubuis and the URBAN ART TRIBE hope to encourage people to challenge the way things are, just as the Maison does when it comes to Hyper Horology, and Dr. Woo and Gully do in their industries.

A leading name among an influential elite who see tattoos, art and fashion as an indissociable whole, Dr. Woo’s singular approach to needle style has shifted the paradigm for tattoos, taking them from subculture to broad popular appeal. Of the partnership he says: “I’ve taken this path because I don’t know where it leads, and that is exactly why I’m here – to seek the unknown and go out of my comfort zone. Tattooing and watchmaking have that in common: the same attention to detail, a dot vs. a tiny component, assembled perfectly for you to see the bigger picture.”

Gully, a well-known graffiti artist, chooses to work exclusively in his own atelier to maintain his anonymity. He uses a wide variety of mixed techniques and materials and explains his artistic concept as one based on conscious appropriation. Telling visual stories of children appearing in splendid settings, he reveals their enchantment with art and particularly with the paintings of the great masters. Speaking to the concept of the tribe, he comments: “Two worlds, a crossing path. I feel driven by the same energy and insatiable envy to come up with something we have never seen before. It comes as a bombshell, provokes surprise, and arouses interest. Bringing different worlds together is my trademark, so I can’t wait to show you the Gully x Roger Dubuis mixture.”

Generously opening the doors to their respective workshops, Dr. Woo and Gully will begin their long-term partnerships with Roger Dubuis by first sharing their creative processes at work. Initially set to reinterpret the brand’s iconic astral signature, they will continue to co-create the future of Hyper Horology alongside the Maison.

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