Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Very Rare Vintage Russian Shawl by Zlata Olshevskaya

Recently, I developed a great interest in the Russian shawls. When I was younger, I never cared for them, thinking that they were too bright, too busy and way too folk. I wanted something more "modern". Now, as I am growing older, I feel that they are very modern - in fact, timeless. Not all of them, possibly, but a great many. 

I want to share my recent find - an extremely rare shawl designed by the famous Zlata Olshevskaya of the Pavlovo Posad Manufacture. This shawl is called Necklace a.k.a. 8th of March (the International Women's Day was a very important holiday in USSR) and dates to 1976. It was long discontinued, and many modern collectors are eager to find it.

I found it at a flea market, in near perfect condition, and recognized it immediately. Do you remember that adrenaline surge, when you realized you have found something really good? Of course I grabbed it and rushed home to look at it without a haste. 

It is a large shawl made of fine wool, with intricate print of roses, cornflowers, pansies and leaves. The composition is quite complex - there are lavish garlands, crowns and bunches of flowers. However, all this abundance is in perfect balance.

It is easy to see why this artist is so famous and loved by the collectors. I am grasping for words to describe the loveliness of all these flowers, large and small ones. Zlata Olshevskaya had a very beautiful vision of the world. In one of her interviews she said that she used to spend a lot of time in the fields and woods, making sketches of plants.

The colors of the shawl are too bright to my taste, frankly speaking. I think this might be a reflection of the bright and bold fashion of the 1970s, when these colors were widely used; hence the combination of a rather traditional graphics and this candy bright colors. And I can just see this shawl with a very feminine new look dress - I know that style is from an earlier period, but I feel they would go together very well.

All in all, being able to hold this rarity, drape it, try it on and just look at is a great pleasure. This is truly a part of fashion history. I am not keeping it, as we do not really make each other look better, so it will go to Moscow, to someone who will love and wear it. That girl has a birthday on 8th of March, so the shawl will have another special meaning to her.

Now I want you to just behold and enjoy. I hope you will appreciate this beauty as much as I do!

We have many vintage Russian shawls in our Etsy shop - please come and take a look!


  1. Спасибо за интересный рассказ. Действительно очень красивая шаль.

  2. Love the bright colors. This actually seems to have a youthful feel to me. But I can see the 70s inspiration you're talking about too :)

  3. it is very beautiful! So bright!

  4. Amazing shawl, thanks for the interesting story!

  5. Thank you, ladies! I am glad you liked it, too!

  6. Gorgeous shawl, such a wonderful design.


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