Saturday, February 04, 2006

Suddenly, I want valenki.

Last time I wore them was, like, a quarter of a century ago, in kindergarten. Last time I paid attention to someone wearing them was in 1995, in the slush of one Kyiv market, where I saw an old village woman who must've been so poor she couldn't afford rubber galoshi, so she wrapped her feet in plastic bags instead, a very sad sight.

But today I saw a small item in Moscow's Afisha - about a store called Russkiye Valenki, on Varshavskoye Shosse, where you can buy valenki of all kinds, from the simplest traditional to the cute ones with embroidery, and even with tiny bells on them. Kids' valenki, too, for 6-month-olds and older. Prices range from 200 to 700 rubles (roughly $5 to $25).

Then I ran into this English-language site, Valenkis'Rus, where you can buy traditional-style valenki for $70.

This valenki-mania reminds me of how shalwar kameez suddenly became popular after Princess Diana had been seen wearing one sometime in 1995 or 1996. Even more, it reminds me of how I unexpectedly fell in love with Ukrainian embroidered blouses, vyshyvanky, also in 1995.

Finally, it may sound crazy, but you can wear valenki indoors - when it's cold. I wrote Mishah about it, and he laughed at me, but that's okay, because he was in our hot Moscow apartment when I was freezing here in Kyiv, so what does he know. Even a wonderful Soviet actress Rufina Nifontova (1931-1994) used to wear valenki at home sometimes. Valenki and a striped sailor's shirt.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting word, Galoshi
    So, if Galoshi = Rubber boots , then in portuguese we use Galochas.

    went to check this out and came up with this:

    French. galoche < Greek. kalópous

    Ah damn it, french and greek interference. :(

    Anyway, another word i won't forget. Soon my vocabulary will be unstopabble! :D