Style maketh the MP: top designers to dress Russian senators

The Speaker of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko (RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov)
No more jeans, sandals and shabby shirts for Russian senators: top fashion designers are to develop a more appropriate and stylish dress-code for the parliament’s upper house.

Several Russian couturiers – including Igor Gulyaev, German Shalumov and Ulyana Sergeenko – agreed to give their professional advice on how the Federation Council members should dress for business. The recommendations on the style and color of suits, dresses and footwear will then be included in the chamber’s regulations, writes Izvestia daily.

The idea of a uniform for senators was borrowed from the British parliament, says the author of the initiative, the head of the house’s regulations committee Vadim Tyulpanov. Back in the XIX century, British lawmakers introduced a dress code which had to be followed meticulously. MPs would often be banned from attending sessions just because they forgot to put on some small accessory, Tuylpanov noted.

Applying similar rules to the Russian senate is needed to make it “look befitting in the eyes of Russians and the international community,” he stated in his blog on the upper house’s webpage. Casual wear should only be allowed on Fridays, Tyulpanov believes.

The fashion designers said they are ready to teach politicians how to dress and will do it absolutely free of charge.

“I’m glad that we can finally have a dialogue with the state – open collars as of yet,” German Shalumov told the paper. He observed that there are quite a few gaps in the fashion sense of the men, and praised “flawless” dress style of the Federation Council’s chairwoman – Valentina Matvienko.

Russian fashion designer and photographer Ulyana Sergeenko(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Russian fashion designer and photographer Ulyana Sergeenko(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)

However, senators are split on the matter. While some of them quite liked the idea of famous couturiers developing their style, others insist that there are more important things to think about.

“Really, there are people who dress in a bizarre manner – even ready to have their noses pierced. But the Federation Council is a place where there must be a particular dress-code,” the chamber’s vice speaker, Aleksandr Torshin told RIA Novosti.

Senator Viktor Ozerov – who heads the defense committee – argued that there is nothing “bizarre” in his colleagues dress style. “I told everyone in my committee long ago: if you don’t want to wear a tie – you can’t be a state official. Go and sell beer across the road.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s lower house, the State Duma, might follow in the senators’ footsteps and seek professional advice from fashion designers.

“After all, we are state servants and must look appropriately,” Raisa Karamzina, a United Russia deputy pointed out. She cited as an example Russian judges, who were obliged to wear gowns.

Fair Russia MP Dmitry Gudkov is confident that everything is absolutely fine with his taste in clothing.

“Maybe, people like it that I’m wearing jeans,” he told Izvestia. “And then I come tomorrow and they tell me that it’s necessary to check if I cleaned my teeth before coming to the canteen in the Duma,” Gudkov jibed.

Federation Council members (RIA Novosti / Dmitry Astakhov)
Federation Council members (RIA Novosti / Dmitry Astakhov)