Stanisław Kudaj subdued, elegant style would set the tone for men’s fashion in the 1960s and 70s.
The Polish Pierre Cardin
Stanisław Kudaj subdued, elegant style would set the tone for men’s fashion in the 1960s and 70s. It was a movement which was based predominately on classic tailoring, and would see the Polish press extolling the virtues of subdued English elegance over frivolous Italian extravagance.
In the early 1960s Kudaj created his wonderful men’s collection for Moda Polska. The collection, based on top French designs which had been influenced by English styles, featured clothing that was both muted and refined. It was, simply put, very, very English. “Long live Major Thompson,” wrote Teresa Kuczyńska in Ty i ja when Kudaj’s collection was first shown in 1962. Her comment is a reference to Poland’s love affair with Anglomania and British crime novels during the Communist era.
Six years later, again writing in Ty i ja, Kuczyńska compared Kudaj to Pierre Cardin: “The Polish Pierre Cardin takes on the style of the innovative French designer who is more artist than tailor. For Kudaj, Viennese-style menswear is out—from now on, Italian styles and the decisive influence of Cardin reign supreme.”
Kudaj also designed clothing for the Polish athletes competing at the Winter Olympics in Grenoble in 1968. His designs were inspired by traditional Polish folk costumes and his sheepskin coats, complete with ornate fastenings, were remarkably popular, especially with the French press. For the Summer Olympics in Mexico that same year, Kudaj designed elegant suits, straw hats adorned with feathers, and futuristic-looking geometric bags. His designs for both events combined flamboyance with folk art and his juxtaposition of folk design and contemporary fashion was one of the defining features of Polish fashion design in the 1960s and 70s.