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The History of Fashion

1.      Introduction

2.      History of fashion:

 

a)     Roman clothing

b)     wings and hair-fashion

c)     history of fashion in Russia

 

3.      Practical part

4.      Resume

5.      Bibliography

 

 

In the dictionary: fashion - short domination of the certain taste in different sphere of life or culture. As against style, fashion reflects more short-term and superficial changes of external forms.

Fashion as expression of spirit of time.

Have passed times of that style to follow which it was necessary for all and all. The fashion became democratic and already to anybody of nothing imposes. Earlier to be considered fashionably dressed, women completely had to update each season the wardrobe. Today it is quite enough to keep abreast of new trends in a style and to be able to apply them in compliance with own tastes. It, and also a high degree of knowledge due to a seal, radio and to TV enable the woman to emphasize the individuality much more brightly. The fashion became free and independent of class prejudices and age distinctions. The only thing to what the style aspires, is to go in a leg with time. The spirit of time is rendered on a style with the same influence, as well as a style on spirit of time. Not casually after the second world war, with occurrence of new representation about democracy, dictatorship of a style has gradually given up the place to the creative, game approach to a choice of a fashion. The modern style represents us in this respect unlimited opportunities. It is completely unchained and alien any pretentiousness. Only on ourselves depends, whether we shall manage correctly to use it and whether we shall miss the chances offered to us by it in such abundance. You see the style, as before, plays an important role in our life, being external display of ours personality.

It begins in ancient times and exists to this day, but thus promptly change day-to-day. Different countries have it's own customs and traditions, so also own fashion...

 

ROMAN CLOTHING

citizen, matron, curule magistrate, emperor, general, workman, slave

''Dress for a Roman often, if not primarily, signified rank, status, office, or authority.... The dress worn by the participants in an official scene had legal connotations.... The hierarchic, symbolic use of dress as a uniform or costume is part of Rome's legacy to Western civilization." (Larissa Bonfante. "Introduction." The World of Roman Costume. Ed. Judith Lynn Sebesta and Larissa Bonfante. University of Wisconsin Press, 1994. Pp. 5-6)

I. Clothing and Status: Ancient Rome was very much a "face-to-face" society (actually more of an "in-your-face" society), and public display and recognition of status were an essential part of having status. Much of Roman clothing was designed to reveal the social status of its wearer, particularly for free-born men. In typical Roman fashion, the more distinguished the wearer, the more his dress was distinctively marked, while the dress of the lowest classes was often not marked at all. In the above diagram, for example, we can deduce that the first man on the left is a Roman citizen (because he wears a toga) but is not an equestrian or senator (because he has no stripes on his tunic). We know that the woman is married because she wears a stola. Colored shoes and the broad stripes on his tunic identify the next man as a senator, while the border on his toga indicates that he has held at least one curule office. The laurel wreath on the head of the next man and his special robes indicate that he is an emperor, while the uniform and cloak of the following man identify him as a general. It is more difficult to determine the exact social status of the two men on the right; their hitched-up tunics indicate that they are lower-class working men, but the two lowest social classes in Rome (freed people and slaves) did not have distinctive clothing that clearly indicated their status. These men could both be freed people (or citizens at work, for that matter); however, the man in the brown tunic is carrying tools and the other man is lighting his way, so we can deduce that the man in the white tunic may be a slave of the other man.

Augustus and later emperors emphasized the interaction of dress, social status, and public display when they required official dress at public performances and regulated public seating in the theaters and amphitheaters of Rome. A prominent section was reserved for the male and female members of the imperial family and the 6 Vestal Virgins; the first rows were reserved for senators, the next for male equestrians, the next for male citizens (with women of all classes relegated to the top rows of this section), and the top "standing room only" tiers for the lowest classes. Performers and spectators at these events would thus see a striking visual display of the different status groups in the form of blocks of color created by the different types of togas (the modern film Gladiator recreated this effect in the computer-assisted simulation of the Colosseum).

II. Production and Cleaning of Garments: Typically, Roman garments were made of wool. In the early Republic, women spun the fleece into thread and wove the cloth in the home, and doubtless many women of the less wealthy classes continued this practice throughout the history of Rome. By the late Republic, however, upper-class Roman women did not spin and weave themselves (unless, like Livia, they were trying to demonstrate how traditional and upright they were). Instead, slaves did the work within the household or cloth was purchased commercially, and well-to-do Romans could also buy cloth made of linen, cotton, or silk. There were many businesses associated with textiles besides spinning and weaving, including operations such as dyeing (fibers were usually dyed before being spun into thread), processing, and cleaning. Garments were cleaned by fullers (fullones) using chemicals such as sulfur and especially human urine.

III. Undergarments: We do not know a great deal about Roman underclothes, but there is evidence that both men and women wore a simple, wrapped loincloth {subligar or subligaculum, meaning "little binding underneath") at least some of the time; male laborers wore the subligar when working, but upper-class men may have worn it only when exercising. Women also sometimes wore a band of cloth or leather to support the breasts (strophium or mamillare). Both these undergarments can be seen on the woman athlete at the left, from a fourth-century CE mosaic; she holds a palm branch signifying that she has been victorious in a contest.

IV. Footwear: Sandals (soleae, sandalid) with open toes were the proper footwear for wearing indoors. There were many different designs, from the practical (as shown in this model or this foot of statue) to elegant (as shown in this actual leather woman's throng-style sandal with a gold ornament). Shoes (calcei), which encased the foot and covered the toes, were considered appropriate for outdoors and were always worn with the toga; when visiting, upper-class Romans removed their shoes at the door and slipped on the sandals that had been carried by their slaves. There were many different styles of shoes, and some leather versions have survived, like these shoes (ancient leather shoes on top and modern reconstructions below) and this simple workman's shoe. There were no dramatic gender differences in Roman footwear (unlike the high heels worn by women today), though upper-class males (equestrians, patricians, and senators) wore distinctive shoes that marked their status; the patrician shoes, for example, were red.

V. Men's Clothing:

 

THE TUNIC

basic tunic (tunica); equestrian tunic (tunica angusticlavia); senatorial tunic (tunica laticlavia)

 

The basic item of male dress was the tunic, made of two pieces of undyed wool sewn together at the sides and shoulders and belted in such a way that the garment just covered the knees. Openings for the arms were left at the top of the garment, creating an effect of short sleeves when the tunic was belted; since tunics were usually not cut in a T-shape, this left extra material to drape under the arm, as can be clearly seen in this statue of a first-century CE orator in tunic and toga. Men of the equestrian class were entitled to wear a tunic with narrow stripes, in the color the Romans called purple, extending from shoulder to hem, while broad stripes distinguished the tunics of men of the senatorial class. Most ancient statues do not show these stripes, but this wall painting from a lararium in Pompeii depicts both the tunica laticlavia and toga praetexta. As can be seen in the drawing at the top of this page, working men and slaves wore the same type of tunic, usually made of a coarser, darker wool, and they frequently hitched the tunic higher over their belts for freer movement. Sometimes their tunics also left one shoulder uncovered, as depicted in this mosaic of a man named Frucius (whose narrow stripes indicate equestrian rank) being attended by two slaves, Myro and Victor. Slaves were not inevitably dressed in poor clothing, however; Junius, the young kitchen slave depicted in this mosaic, wears a more elegant tunic and a gold neckchain, and the skeleton of a woman was recently found in an area near Pompeii with a quantity of gold jewelry, including a serpent bracelet engraved DOM[I]NUS ANCILLAE SUAE, "from the master to his slave girl."

 

THE TOGA

The toga was the national garment of Rome; in the Aeneid, Virgil has the god Jupiter characterize the Romans as "masters of the earth, the race that wears the toga" (1.282). Only male citizens were allowed to wear the toga. It was made of a large woolen cloth cut with both straight and rounded edges; it was not sewn or pinned but rather draped carefully over the body on top of the tunic. Over time, the size and manner of draping the toga became more elaborate; compare this bronze statue from the beginning of the first century BCE with this statue of a Roman senator or this statue of the emperor Augustus, which clearly illustrate the toga as worn during the late Republic and first centuries of the Empire. As shown in the drawing at left, the cloth was folded lengthwise and partly pleated at the fold, which was then draped over the left side of the body, over the left shoulder, under the right arm, and back up over the left arm and shoulder. It was held in place partly by the weight of the material and partly by keeping the left arm pressed against the body. The large overfold in the front of the body was called a sinus, and part of the material under this was pulled up and draped over the sinus to form the umbo. The back of the toga was pulled over the head for religious ceremonies, as in this statue of Augustus as chief priest (pontifex maximus). It was difficult to put the toga on properly by oneself, and prominent Romans had slaves who were specially trained to perform this function. Togas were costly, heavy, and cumbersome to wear; the wearer looked dignified and stately but would have found it difficult to do anything very active. Citizens were supposed to wear togas for all public occasions (here, for example, is a man being married in a toga), but by the beginning of the Empire Augustus had to require citizens to wear the toga in the Forum. This fresco from a building outside Pompeii is a rare painted depiction of Roman wearing togae practextae participating in a religious ceremony, probably the Compitalia; the dark red color of their toga borders can clearly be seen.

 

The color of the toga was significant, marking differences in age and status:

         toga virilis also called toga pura: unadorned toga in the off-white color of the undyed wool that was worn by adult male citizens

         toga praetexta: off-white toga with a broad purple border shown in the right-hand drawing. The only adults allowed to wear this toga were curule magistrates (curule aedile and above).

         toga pulla: toga made of dark-colored wool worn during periods of mourning

         toga Candida: artificially whitened toga worn by candidates for political office

         toga pictai purple toga embroidered with gold thread worn by a victorious general during a triumphal parade and later adopted by emperors for state occasions. A variant of this costume was the toga purpura, an all-purple toga worn by the early kings and possibly adopted by some emperors

Male children of the upper classes also had distinctive dress for formal occasions. All free-born citizen boys were entitled to wear a bulla (see below). On formal occasions, boys also wore the toga praetexta, possibly over a striped tunic; in theory all free-born citizen boys could wear this garment, but because of its expense it generally indicated that the wearer belonged to the upper class wearing a bulla and an elaborately draped toga. At the age of 14-16, boys laid aside the bordered toga during their coming-of-age ceremony (usually celebrated on the feast of the Liberalia, March 17) and ceremonially donned the toga virilis.

Although women had apparently worn togas in the early years of Rome, by the middle of the Republican era the only women who wore togas were common prostitutes. Unlike men, therefore, women had an item of clothing that symbolized lack of (or loss of) respectability — the toga. While the toga was a mark of honor for a man, it was a mark of disgrace for a woman. Prostitutes of the lowest class, the street-walker variety, were compelled to wear a plain toga made of coarse wool to announce their profession, and there is some evidence that women convicted of adultery might have been forced to wear "the prostitute's toga" as a badge of shame.

 

Jewelry: Propriety demanded that adult male citizens wear only one item of jewelry, a personalized signet ring that was used to make an impression in sealing wax in order to authorize documents. Originally made of iron, these signet rings later came to be made of gold, like the ring at left, whose carnelian sealstone depicts a tragic actor holding a mask (see this large bronze signet ring from Herculaneum with the letters of the owner's name in reverse, for stamping on wax: M[arci] PILI PRIMIG[genii] GRANIANI). The reverse lettering on this gold signet ring from the third century CE says CORINTHIA VTVAT, "may Corinthia live" or "long live Cornthia." Other rings with a practical function were actually keys, perhaps to the gentleman's strongbox. Literary evidence indicates that some Roman men ignored propriety and wore numerous rings as well as brooches to pin their Greek-style cloaks (like silver pin with symbols of victory — a winged goddess with an eagle, laurel crown, and palm branch). Before the age of manhood, Roman boys wore a bulla, a nickchain and round poach containing protective amulets (usually phallic symbols), and the bulla of an upper-class boy would be made of gold. See this terra-cotta statue of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and wearing a bulla, and this statue of a proud mother pointing to her son in this toga (the facial features and hairstyles indicate that this statue probably represents Agrippina the Younger and her son Nero). Boys sometimes wore small gold rings carved with a phallus for good luck

Hairstyles:During the middle and late Republic and into the early Empire, Roman men wore their hair short and were clean shaven, even though the process of shaving was uncomfortable and frequently resulted in cuts and scratches. Emperors, however, became style setters. The emperor Nero (54-68 CE) affected a more elaborate hairstyles with curls framing his face and later added side burns, which can also be seen on his coins. Hadrian (117-138 CE) was the first emperor to adopt a short beard, and many men, no doubt grateful to escape the ordeal of shaving, followed his example. After his reign, in fact, beards became quite common among Roman men.

 

ROMAN CLOTHING: WOMEN

Women cannot partake of magistracies, priesthoods, triumphs, badges of office, gifts, or spoils of war; elegance, finery, and beautiful clothes are women's badges, in these they find joy and take pride, this our forebears called the women's world. (Livy, History of Rome 34.5)

In the above passage, Livy quotes a Roman tribune's argument for the repeal of the Oppian Law, a wartime measure which curtailed the finery that upper-class Roman women could display and which provoked the first recorded protest demonstration by women, as aristocratic Roman matrons took to the streets in 195 BCE to urge repeal of the law. As the tribune pointed out, high-class Roman women did not have the same distinctions of clothing that immediately marked out the status of their male counterparts; in fact the only certain distinction of dress allowed to women was the stola, which indicated a woman's marital status, not her social class or wealth. In addition, except for minor variations of color or fabric, women's clothing styles were relatively simple and unchanging, so they had to emphasize elaborate hairstyles and jewelry in order to stand out from other women.

Similar to Roman men, the basic item of clothing was the tunic (tunica), though women's tunics were fuller and longer, usually extending to the feet. There were two basic styles of tunic, both similar to tunics worn by Greek women.

 

THE PEPLOS

 The peplos was made from two rectangular pieces of cloth partially sewn together on both sides; the open sections at the top were then folded down in the front and back. The woman pulled this garment over her head and fastened it at her shoulders with two large pins, forming a sleeveless dress; she then tied a belt over or under the folds. This statue shows a Roman woman wearing a peplos and holding a glass vial for perfume.

 

THE CHITON

 

 

The more common sleeved tunic worn by women was similar to the Greek chiton. Two wide pieces of cloth were sewn together almost to the top, leaving just enough room for armholes. The woman pulled this garment over her head and used several pins or buttons to fasten it at intervals over her shoulders and arms, forming a dress with sleeves which could be belted under the breasts, at the waist, or at the hips. The length of the sleeves was determined by the width of the cloth. Statues clearly show the manner of fastening the sleeves as well as various modes of draping and belting the tunic. Tunics could be brightly colored or made of lightweight fabrics such as linen or silk, as in this wall painting of a fashionable young woman pouring perfume into a tiny container.

 

THE STOLA

 

At the time of her marriage, the Roman woman donned the stola, a long, sleeveless tunic, frequently if not always suspended at the shoulders from short straps, which was worn on top of another tunic. It is probable that the stola was typically made of undyed wool. The stola was a symbol of marriage, and by the late Republic all women married according to Roman law were entitled to wear it. Not all did, of course, since it was not a particularly fashionable or flattering garment, but wearing the stola was a way for a woman to publicly proclaim her respectability and adherence to tradition. Statues of the first empress Livia, for example, prominently display her stola, even this one whose head has been lost.

As the drawing at left shows, respectable women also wore a long cloak, called a palla, over their tunic and stola when they went outside. This was rectangular in shape and was typically draped over the left shoulder, under the right arm and back across the body, carried by the left arm or thrown back again over the left shoulder. The palla could also be pulled up to cover the head, as shown in the above statue of Livia or in this depiction of a matron whose elegantly draped pala has a fringe

 

HAIRSTYLES:

Women relied mostly on elaborate hairstyles and jewelry rather than clothing to vary their appearance. In fact, an elaborate hairstyle is the only thing worn by this woman, who had herself sculpted as the goddess Venus (I like to imagine that this sculptor had an ironic sense of humor, since the contrast between her realistic portrait head and the prefab Venus-like body is so striking). Some of these styles were influenced by coiffures adopted by empresses, as for example the unusual hairstyle worn by Julia Domna during the latter half of the second century CE:, shown in this coin and in the two views of her sculpted head below. In fact, some lucky Roman girl of that period had a beautiful jointed ivory girl wearing a gold necklace, bracelets, and anklets, with a hairdo imitating that of the empress. This doll also proves that Barbie was not the first anatomically correct "fashion doll"! No doubt this doll's owner dressed her in elegant clothes mimicing those worn by aristocratic women.

One of the most famous style was worn by women during the period of the Flavian emperors (Vespasian to Hadrian, 69-138 CE); this is the style that Juvenal mocks when he describes the woman who appears tall from the front but quite the opposite from the back (on this sarcophagus a woman with a Flavian hairstyle proudly displays the bust of an important male in her family; note her stola as well). Numerous slaves skilled in the arts of hair dressing and cosmetics were needed for these elaborate hairdos, as were hair pins (shown here with a beautifully carved ivory box in which to store them), wigs, and hair swatches. This hairpin made of born is topped by the carved head of a woman with an elaborate hairstyle, while this one bears an inscription and originally showed the heads of a couple (the woman's head has broken off). Women also wore hairnets made of finely woven gold wires; this gold hairnet from Rome mirrors the hairnet shown on this Pompean fresko of a girl(often mistakenly labelled "Sappho"). Women also had many creams, cosmetics, and perfumes; this cosmetic box belonging to a woman in Pompeii was made of bronze and beautifully carved bone (wood portions have been restored). Cosmetics and hairstyling required mirrors, which were made of highly polished bronze or silver in rectangular or round shapes. The most elaborate had handles and relief carvings on the back, like this silved mirror depicting the myth of Phrixus riding the ram with the golden fleece.

 

JEWELRY:

Fashionable upper-class women wore considerable amounts of jewelry. One design that persisted from a very early period to late antiquity was the fibula, a pin whose basic design resembled our safety pin. It was a useful clothing fastener and was often beautifully decorated, as is the case with this Etriskan gold fibura depicting a cat stalking two unsuspecting birds. Since Roman clothing was frequently pinned rather than sewn, many fasteners were beautifully decorated; this gold pin has an ametist cameo with a female bust, and the large garnet in this pin has an winged Victory intaglio carving. A representative collection of jewelry from the first to the third centuries CE includes earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets and rings of gold, gems (garnets 'were especially popular), and cameos. Gold bracelets were often fashioned in the form of snakes and rings often had relief carvings, like this gold betrothal ring with a couple clasping right hands, or intaglios, like this camel. A popular style of jewelry apparently invented by the Romans was made of hollow, polished gold hemispheres fashioned into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Pearls were particularly prized and costly; this impressive gold necklace, found in Pompeii, is set with emeralds and large pearls. Silver was used less frequently, as in this medallion with chain, this bracelet with a portrait of a child, or this ring showing two snakes holding in their mouths a patera (a dish used in religious ceremonies). This silver ring has an inscription (with letters in reverse for stamping) that reads LIBERA VIVAS, "may you live free." Cameo portraits were also worn, as in this pendant depicting a married couple or in this striking gold pendant with glass beads and plasma cameos of the faces of children. Gold coins (aurei) were often made into jewelry: a gold ring with a coin of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, a pendant with garnets and a coin of the emperor Caracalla, an armband with coins of Caracalla and his wife Plautilla, and a belt made with coins of fourth-century CE emperors constants to Fheodosis . The portrait of the woman at left is one of many so-called "mummy portraits" dating from Egypt after it became a Roman province; these portraits, usually depicting only the face and shoulders, present us with strikingly individualized faces of varying ethnicities, Greco-Roman clothing, adornment, and hairstyles, combined with the quintessentially Egyptian custom of mummification. We know that this woman was named Isidora, since her name is painted in Greek on the wooden sarcophagus, and her hairstyle dates to the period of the emperor Trajan, the beginning of the second century CE.

 

Atelier Bassi - Wigs And Hairfashion Through The Centuries

Wearing wigs is not just a trend in the world of fashion. On the contrary, when we look at history we learn that different styles of wigs have always played a significant role in fashion. Depending on the epoch, wigs were either used to demonstrate wealth or to stress the importance of the wearer. The more splendid the era, the more eccentric and pompous hairstyles were created. Wigs also served as a protection against cold and rain. In many wars wigs were also used to impress the enemy.

 

In the time of the Egyptians [about 4000 to 300 B.C.] not only women but also men wore wigs. Page-boy like hairstyles in block form together with small braids were the look of this era.

 

During the Roman Empire [500 B.C. to 500 A.D.] wigs became especially popular among women. Hairpieces, sometimes colored, were added to increase the volume and therefore the effect of the hairstyle.

 

In addition to that, ideas for hairstyling were often taken from Greek tradition and wigs with braids were worn.

In the Middle Ages [1200 to 1400] wigs lost their importance. It was custom that young women wore their hair long whereas married women covered it with a scarf or a cap. This was with reference to the Apostle Paul [First Letter to the Corinthians] a command and also a sign of a woman's dependence to her husband. Only he had the right to see her head uncovered.

 

It was from the beginning of the Renaissance [1400 to 1600] that the female hairstyle gained again in importance and the hair was no longer completely hidden. It was often put up and arranged with the help of hairpieces, braids and golden taps.

The French King Louis XIII lost his hair already as a young man. During his reign, the Allonge wig for men was invented and became an important part of every garment. At this time, wigs were mainly made of human or animal hair.

Under Louis XIV, the French Royal House employed 48 wig makers at court.

 

An enrichment to the world of hair fashion after 1670 was the famous hairstyle a la Fontange, named after a mistress of King Louis XIV countless variations based on the original were created with the help of hairpieces and false locks.

 

The eighteenth century, better known as Rococo, was the flowering period of wigs. Wigs gained enormously in importance and were adopted as a status symbol by both men and women.

During this epoch, wigs were mainly made of Yak hair. The original hair color was natural white and with the help of rice powder it was colored white, blue or pink.

 

Especially from 1750 to 1780 hairstylists had a hard job to do arranging sortie of the female wigs up to a height of 90 cm/35".

 

Men used to wear so-called bag or braid wigs. This were wigs with two hair-roils at both sides With the outbreak of the French Revolution [1789 to 1795] fashion and therefore wigs lost their importance.

 

Hairpieces were once again worn around 1820 [Biedermeier] and enjoyed great popularity. The own hair was tightly arranged around the head and artistic hairstyles were created with side locks and flower like hair loops.

At the beginning of the twentieth century more and more freely arranged hairpieces were used. With the introduction of short hair cuts around 1920 this trend literary disappeared over night. In the Sixties hairpieces gained again in importance and the wearing of wigs became almost a must. Wigs were not only sold in specialized shops but in every department store. This strong demand led especially in Asia [South Korea] to an industrialization of the wig production. In this boom days of the wig, intensive research was done in the field of synthetic hair production. Research departments were successful and in a relatively short time good quality synthetic hair was available on the market-Since then, the wearing of wigs and hair pieces has lost it's importance. Just in the same way as in today's fashion the motto is simple and comfortable. In everyday life, wigs are hardly ever used except for fashion shows, parties or after a chemotherapy.

Through the centuries the production of wigs has not changed in it's principles. The only difference today is the employment of modern technology and material. However, the production of wigs for theatres and the film industry still takes place in exactly the same way as in former times: through artistic handicraft.

 

History of Fashion in Russia XV-XVI century

Ancient Russian women costumes, pinafores were decorated by the wonderful beautiful fancy works and were very long. The head-dresses were very important. And there was a large variety of different ornamentations for the head-dresses. Women decorated their head-dresses by the metallic suspensions. Rich women's head-dresses were more splendid. And married women must wore the head-dresses, it was their duty but for unmarried girls it wasn't very important. On their necks they wore wooden or glassy necklaces and on their arms - metallic bracelets. In my personal opinion we can meet some elements from ancient Russian costumes nowadays. The pinafores and head-dresses's ornamentations are representative in this respect.

XVIII century

Man's Fashion at the first part of XVIII century was posh and it was rather alike woman's one. This fashion created "skirt on rings" and the fold of camisole. For decoration of the costume the lace, the furbelow, buttons and ribbons were used. Waistcoat became a little bit shorter and lost it's sleeves. Then narrow breeches reached just knees and they were supplemented by white stockings. The hairstyles were like this: hair is curled round the face and then gathered in the plait.

At the second half of XVIII century man's costume became independent from the woman's, it gets free from lace, furbelow, buttons, ribbons.., making camisole more simple. Later it clothes.

After 1778th year nearly all the decorations disappeared, but it was still made of textures of mild colours of rococo. The women wore very long and wide skirts which had been consolidated by cane hoops from within. To 1740 years some very stylish skirts attained 5 meters. And the women were obliged to pass through the door sideways. The women didn't wear the wigs but they poured developed into dress-coat, which was the basis of the man's their hair by the chalk and by the flour.

XIX century

In 1850 men wore different kinds of dress-coats, supplemented by tall hats and stitches. Then the tall hat developed in kettle-hats and dress-coats - into short jackets. Sportive man's consisted of long trousers and shirts. Accessories were represented by ties of different ties. In that times the women's dresses were very splendid and wonderful and the by their dresses wanted to show that they were very rich persons. On their dresses they had plenty of different silky ribbons, bows, flowers and so on.

XX century

Man's costume as all fashion developed very quickly. There appeared fashion houses. But the main things were: trousers, dress-coats and hats. In 50th years men wore dress-coats with broad shoulders and typical trousers with lapels in 60th years the shuffle is signed. Then leather was popular... And then a large variety of fashion items appeared. In 20-30 years of XX century the women wore very comfortable and simple dresses for they had not got the opportunity to dedicate a lot of time to their exterior because they worked in different bureaus and factories. In 1960 years plenty of women wore short skirts in spite of their age, height and figure.

 

A historical perspective

Anyone who has seen Gone with the Wind will know that in 1860 skirts were anything but tight. Huge crinoline skirts had been in fashion for a generation, growing steadily larger, and by the time of Rhett and Scarlett they were bigger than they had ever been before due to advances in technology. By this stage, though, the skirt might be as wide as its wearer was tall, and that particular fashion had gone as far as it possibly could: if crinolines had got any bigger fashionable ladies would never have been able to go through doors. If the style of skirts had to change, it had to change in a different way.

From 1865 onwards the huge skirts subsided and took on a new form. By 1875 the skirt was pushed out only at the back, by the famous "bustle"; below that it stretched out behind in a train. The front of the skirt hung straight down, which meant that it started to show off the shape of the legs in walking. It wasn't thought proper for a Victorian lady to show her admirers even an ankle, but she soon realised she could let them know exactly what her legs were like while keeping them decorously hidden. A series of tapes were sewn into the sides of her skirt inside, from the hip down to the knee; once she had put it on her maid tied them behind her legs. This meant that despite the bustle pushing her skirt out at the back, the front of it could be as tight as she wanted.

By 1880 these styles had evolved into the first truly tight skirts I can find in the history of fashion. The bustles and projections behind vanished, leaving the skirt narrow from waist to hemline. There was no need for tapes to pull it tight in the front; it was simply tight all the way round. The outfit in the picture is inaccurately called a "walking costume", though in fact the skirt is so tight that the lady wearing it would hardly have been able to walk at all. The most fashionable ladies wore their skirts so tight that they were in danger of bursting the seams with every step: some resorted to a fine chain sewn round the lining of the skirt at ankle-level, but the really fashionable answer was to wear a chamois-leather petticoat. By 1880 fashionable dresses had become so tight that they made it almost impossible for the lady of fashion to do anything: her skirt not only prevented her walking properly but also made it difficult to sit down and almost impossible to get up stairs, and the sleeves were so tight that raising a hand to blow the nose was to risk splitting them open. The fashion victim of 1880 had become so limited by her clothes that she became a joke: a cartoon in Punch shows a dressmaker in a very tight skirt asking her client "Do you wear chamois leather underclothing?" and only offering her a seat when she is answered "No."

Because the styles of the late 1870's had made life so difficult, they were short-lived: skirts soon relaxed, and women could walk and sit down again. First of all in the early 1880's a new version of the bustle came out, bigger than ever before; then in the 1890's for almost the first time in a century the fashion was for skirts which were neither very full, nor very tight, nor pushed out by any clever hidden mechanism.

At the beginning of the next century, though, things changed again. The high-fashion skirt in the early 1900's was tight over the hips almost to the knee, then flared out in a mass of flounces and frills. Since it was still the rule for fashionable ladies to wear very tight corsets, this gave the dedicated turn-of-the-century beauty a truly dramatic silhouette.

The days of very elaborate clothes were numbered, though. The First World War was coming, and it was no longer possible for a lady of fashion to be followed by an army of maids who would get her into her clothes before she went out, free her from them when she came back, and repair any damage they had suffered in the meantime afterwards. There was a need for more practical clothes, and tight skirts went out of style for a long time.

It took another war to bring them back. During the Second World War clothes were rationed in Britain and many other countries, and the only ones available tended to be brisk and military, not sexy and luxurious. Once the war was over there was a reaction against the uniform styles of the past few years, and fashion returned almost to the styles of the nineteenth century. The most fashionable skirts were long and full, held out by masses of nylon petticoats; but there was another style with tight pencil skirts "so long and narrow," said London's Picture Post, "that the mannequins can hardly walk." The picture is of a suit from their report of the 1947 Paris collections: the caption tells the reader that "you can be just as chic in this long, crippling hobble."

Long, tight skirts remained fashionable through into the early and middle 1950's. Again the most fashionable ladies took to wearing tight corsets, and these produced exaggerated curves which tight pencil skirts showed off to perfection. The particular look of a long, very tight skirt fitted with the ideal figure of the time, tall and slim but with womanly curves, and to get the best effect fashion photographers often had their models pose with one leg in front of the other, then pinned the skirt back behind until it was impossibly tight, as can be seen in this picture.

Nothing so dramatic as the First World War ended the fashion this time, but in the end it went slowly out of date. Skirts gradually relaxed, becoming shorter and looser; then came the 1960's and the miniskirt, and tight skirts were forgotten.

At the end of the 70's a few designers started to introduce straight skirts into their collections, and by the early 1980's proper tight skirts had become important to fashionable women again. The really high-fashion styles were for very short skirts, but only very young women could wear them; older but fashionable women often chose knee-length straight or tapered skirts, which could sometimes be very tight. The picture on the left is from the catalogue of a big London department store, and shows what the caption describes as "a tight little skirt". That on the right is a dieter who is showing off her new figure with the kind of Eighties suit that demanded a diet to make it look right.

Of course, fashion had to change again, and at the end of the Eighties the styles that had been in then — padded shoulders, high heels, tight and often short skirts — became out of date and were officially Out. In fact many women went on wearing similar clothes, but the really fashionable, those who had worn the most extreme styles and the tightest skirts, moved onto the new look. Anything which looked at all tight or sexy was out until the end of 1994, when the New Glamour appeared.

At that point The Designers decided they had had enough of grungy styles, and we could do with a bit of Glamour in fashion again. Suddenly we were showered with pictures of models in clothes that might have come from 1950: second-skin jackets, high heels, corseted waists, and very tight skirts. I looked forward to meeting some of these styles in real life; unfortunately they never reached here before they had gone out of fashion, and the last I heard The Designers were ordering the women of the world that if they wanted to be up with the latest styles they should aim for "androgynous minimalism". That doesn't appeal to me at all, but as the pictures show, probably fashion will come back round to the kind of thing I like sooner or later.

The Designers don't seem to know what they are up to these days: they change their minds so often. The New Glamour wasn't long in the past when I wrote the last paragraph, but already (in late 1997) there are hints that the elegant and sexy may be back in style. John Galliano, creator of the sexy suit at left above, took over at Dior in 1996. From the start there were reports of him sending dresses repeatedly back to the workroom with shouts of "Smaller! Tighter!", and in October 1997, he showed the delicious pink evening gown illustrated above left. Meanwhile in Milan, the house of Versace had been taken over by Donatella, sister of Gianni who had been murdered earlier that year. You can see her taste in clothes from the pictures of her at right above and on the user text page. When her brother was at work she used to check the models, and if their skirts weren't short and tight enough or their heels high enough to suit her she would yell at him until he changed his mind. There may be more good stuff in the future. Maybe it will go out of fashion again, but things change so fast these days that the "drought" may not last long.

 

Bibliography

1. bgfasion (www.fashion.net)

2. fashion (www.fashion.rin.ru)

3. db.iesti (www.db.icsti.su)

4. fashioninstitute (www.fashioninstitute.us)

5. moda (www.moda.ru)

6. magazine "Burda"

7. magazine "Elle"

 

Sigimova Valeria

10 "A" form, school № 63

Novosibirsk-2004

 

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