And indeed, after these words appeared in Vogue, more shame was heaped on her. That most ordinary and intimate of acts, getting dressed, has very real political and economic consequences. If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it. Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes.
Conscious of their rank, they gloried in their ambitions and their accomplishments. The symbolic use of dress to designate social or political status was ancient by the dawn of the Renaissance. However, in the fifteenth century the wealth at the disposal of the doges of Venice or the Medici of Florence eclipsed that of the preceding medieval period.
Elite fashion and dress reflected that new affluence. Local production of the highest quality silks and velvets supplied stunning displays of grandeur and privilege.
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From the ancient world through the medieval period, dress signaled social status. Rank was accorded the monopoly of certain colors. As well, items of formalized attire were associated with specific social and political positions. Although apparel varied from region to region, the function of certain garments as social markers remained consistent.
For example, in Venice men who held the rank of patrician or citizen upon attaining adulthood assumed a characteristic loose-fitting gown that they wore over their everyday clothes. This gown, called a toga, plus the long stole worn over the shoulders and a distinctive cap known as a beretta constituted the formal costume that set the gentleman and citizen apart from the artisan.
These loose gowns remained signals of status.
But from the fourteenth century on, clothing styles began to change rapidly, and following fashion became a mark of status. Dress followed new imperatives, becoming more revealing both for men and women.
Patrician Italian youths sported waist-length jackets, revealing legs sheathed in close-fitting hose. Women of this rank wore gowns cut low across the breast, with a tighter fit around the body. The fashion cycle was set in motion, to the dismay of moralists. After it spread with growing speed from one corner of Europe to the other.
But even as fashion picked up momentum, some materials remained emblems of authority. Throughout Europe cloth of gold was the signal fabric of leadership.
Woven in intricate brocaded patterns from gold and silk threads, it represented the apogee of material display. The pageantry of costume and setting associated with the meeting was so magnificent that it became known thereafter as the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
In a pavilion constructed of cloth of gold ranged people dressed in velvets, brocades, silks, and wools, with colors ranked from white, scarlet, and purples through blues, black, and browns. These colors, in combination with the textiles, communicated the standing of the wearer.
During the Renaissance, no region produced more lavish elaborations of dress than did Italy. Moreover, the modes of Renaissance Italy inspired nobles and royals of northern Europe, who looked to Italy for new kinds of social occasions suited to dramatic displays. One such event, the masquerade or masque, offered the frisson of sexual adventure in a formalized setting designed to exhibit the most elaborate costumes of court.
In the first masque was held at the court of Henry VIIIto the great excitement of the lords and ladies, who were quick to see the opportunities presented by masked revels with anonymous suitors.
As trade and diplomacy carried trends from one court to another, the Renaissance brought a more intense preoccupation with fashion among the social elites and a gradual acceleration in the transformation of styles.
High fashion flourished at the seats of political power. In this period fashion was the almost exclusive preserve of the mighty.
Indeed, in court society ambitions and competing rivalries found expression through competitive expenditure on clothing. All over Europe luxurious apparel was the medium through which the great and would-be-great of both sexes, from aspiring royal mistresses to enterprising noblemen, jousted for preeminence.
Their enormous collective expenditures were legitimized by their rank. Fashion and political power were inextricably linked. Distinction in dress also preoccupied governments. The authorities asserted that an orderly society could not function without clear distinctions in ornamentation and dress within each social order.
Sumptuary legislation ascribed specific colors, fabrics, and fashions to various social orders. In fifteenth-century England none but a lord was permitted to wear "any gown, jacket or coat, unless it be of such length that the same may cover his privy members and buttocks" 3 Edward IVc.
Lawmakers prized the rights that came with noble birth. Sumptuary laws were passed most vigorously from the fourteenth century onward, codifying the appropriate dress for each degree, with penalties assigned to transgressors.
The fixed orders of society were to be visible. The intent was to differentiate social groups and give a stable, recognizable appearance to each segment of society. Ambiguity was to be avoided; presumption was to be squashed.
In defense of this order the French government issued eighteen sumptuary decrees between and ; in England, seven acts and ten proclamations were issued between and Fashion Geek: Clothes Accessories Tech [Diana Eng] on r-bridal.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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CLOTHING AND FASHIONCLOTHING AND FASHION. Though often used interchangeably, there are distinct and important differences between clothing, fashion, and style.
The term clothing first appeared in the thirteenth century and refers to garments in general. Early Twenties. The salient features of women's clothing in the 20's are short skirts and dropped waistlines. The silhouettes of the earlier part of the decade are long and cylindrical, with the skirt falling 7" to 10" below the knee.
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