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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Magazine for the World of Wool

All the elements of a haute couture fashion show were present: The slender models, the middle-aged men with short ponytails, the president's wife, and the elderly women in smart suits trying to discern what was hot and what was not.


But the fashion show was anything but haute couture. Held Wednesday night at the Moscow office of Burda Moden and attended by Naina Yeltsin, wife of President Boris Yeltsin, the show marked the launch of the Russian edition of Isabelle, a German knitting magazine owned by Anne Burda GmbH & Co. , a sewing and knitting materials company.


The magazine is not the company's first publication to hit the Russian market. In 1987, the Burda Moden Joint venture introduced a Russian translation of Burda, a sewing magazine popular throughout Europe. But Mikhail Lezhnev, managing editor of the Russian edition of Isabelle, said Wednesday that Burda, which sells for $3, is too expensive for most Russians because it is printed in Germany.


Isabelle will cut down on costs because it will be printed here, Lezhnev said, making it more accessible to Russian women looking for new knitting patterns for sweaters and skirts. Lezhnev said knitting had always been popular but was even more so now because women were knitting clothes they could no longer afford to buy. The advantage of knitting, he pointed out, was that women could unravel sweaters that were out of fashion and use the wool for new sweaters.


The sewing and knitting magazine's goal is to promote sales of the cloth, wool and needles it markets in its Moscow shop, Lezhnev said The bimonthly Isabelle will start off with a circulation of 50, 000, but Lezhnev said he hoped to increase that number soon.


For Lezhnev, the job of translating, editing and laying-out the Russian edition is a change from his former job as translator at the Progress publishing house.


"Until now, I worked on propaganda magazines", he said. Among them was Sovetsky Soyuz. "I had the idea that nobody was reading it".


And what about the fashion show? The cute look is in, with salmon-pink, purple, white and flowers. On display were crude crochet patterns hanging off the hem or connecting sections, and wild arrays of woolen balls dangling from a square in the middle of the sweaters.


Most of the models, however, wore middle-of-the-road patterns, with diamonds or a few lines across the sweater, with some models adapting old Russian patterns to fit the occasion.