(1 Oct 2018) LEADIN
In Russia, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was accompanied by uncertainty, economic disaster and organised gang culture.
But despite the hardships, for many Russians, the 1990s were also a time to experiement with fashion and cosmetics, as the markets opened up to a flood of new goods.
The jacket, the beanie hat - and the rifle.
Ask most Russians what they most associate with the 90's and the answer is likely to be weapons - be it from the 1991 coup when hardline USSR members tried to take control from the reforming Mikhail Gorbachev, to the Chechen wars or the notorious fights between criminal gangs.
Here at the "Wild 90s" exhibition at the Museum of Soviet Lifestyle 'Made in USSR' visitors are getting the chance to relive the tumultuous decade following the break up of the Soviet Union.
Aleksey Boyarchenkov recalls how as a child he witnessed harassment and racketeering.
"I remember a scene on the street: I saw how the bandits bullied the plumbers. The plumbers were walking with a suitcase, and then some lads, apparently they did not like something, and they started bullying. Also, I remember once onions were being sold from a truck, and then racketeers arrived in a 'devyatka' car (VAZ 2109 model). Well, of course, it was not quite clear to me as a child yet (what was going on), but anyway, this is how it was."
The 90's were bleak for most Russians, according to Sergey Martyanov, co-organiser of the exhibit, but it was also a time full of hope.
"From the point of view of events connected with the use of weapons, yes, it was a gloomy time, from the point of view of changes in the country, this was a time of hope, time of looking into the future. This time is different for everyone, in fact, it can be gloomy, it can be cheerful, but people were very spirited looking both into the present and into the future," he says.
To fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of 90s Russia, guests are invited to try on clothes and make-up from the time.
Hair was big and makeup was bold. Monochrome eye shadow caked right up to the eyebrow, bright blush on cheeks and full lips. All images of bygone times, but beauty consultant, Natalia Chernousova says 90s style is about to enjoy a revival in Russia.
"Today, the 90s are in fashion, you should understand, this refers to clothes where fashion comes back, and to make-up, and partly to hairstyles. Therefore when we do the make-up like this today and you go out into the street, people see you with joy, there is no feeling that you just jumped out of a time machine and there is something strange about this girl."
The desire for heavy makeup stemmed from the flood of foreign cosmetics that appeared in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Before that, cosmetics had been constantly in short supply.
"There were almost no cosmetic products available, and then suddenly the borders were opened and suddenly we were flooded with a waterfall of various cosmetics including low-quality ones. The markets were full of cheap things of all kinds, but for us, Soviet women of that time, it was just fantastic," recalls Chernousova.
Most of the visitors here are under 30 years old. They've come for the nostalgic childhood memories and to get a taste of how their parents lived.
Anna Melnikova says the heavy makeup look makes her feel more assertive.
As well as cosmetics, other foreign goods poured into the market after the fall of the USSR - from toilet paper to cigarettes, alcohol and chocolate.
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