How The Fashion Of Past Centuries Differs From Modern
How The Fashion Of Past Centuries Differs From Modern
Video: How The Fashion Of Past Centuries Differs From Modern
Video: Why I dress as a Regency gentleman... everyday of my life - BBC News 2023, February
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Dress, approx. 1885; Yohji Yamamoto coat fall-winter 1986/87
Dress, approx. 1885; Yohji Yamamoto coat fall-winter 1986/87

Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The relationship between fashion and time is constantly on our minds. Even at the highest level: Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum, has pondered this. And based on the results of his reflections, he made a whole large-scale exhibition, which will open in New York this Thursday. True, not everyone thinks so big and so deeply. Many people are still interested in much more applied issues. How does the fashion of past centuries differ from modern fashion? Why is she always chasing newness, but at the same time always turning to the past? This is what we will try to figure out.

Dress with train by Charles Frederick Worth (Charles Frederick Worth), 1888
Dress with train by Charles Frederick Worth (Charles Frederick Worth), 1888

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Christian Dior Spring-Summer 1947; Junya Watanabe fall-winter 2011/12
Christian Dior Spring-Summer 1947; Junya Watanabe fall-winter 2011/12

Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

When did fashion start? In the modern sense, this concept appeared in the 17th century in Western Europe. It was then that the idea of ​​the cyclical change of seasons and their characteristic forms, silhouettes and colors was born. At the same time, the first tailors appeared, who monopolized the fashion market. True, they were not yet designers in the modern sense of the word. Charles Frederick Worth was the first to transfer his craft to the category of art and began to dictate his vision to clients, rather than fulfill any of their orders.… It was he who, in 1858, founded the first fashion house in history, began to produce seasonal collections and conduct fashion shows. In general, he did everything that all the designers of the world are doing now. He is also considered to be the founder of the Haute Couture phenomenon. However, it would be strange to believe that already in the middle of the 19th century, fashion abruptly took on a modern look. Yes, many things already familiar to us appeared back then, but the very essence of the phenomenon was still completely different.

Fashion of the mid-19th (and most of the 20th) century was still a purely class phenomenon. There was no mass production of clothing yet, and the very Haute Couture was fabulously expensive. Therefore, fashion did not even reach the middle class - it was the privilege of only a very narrow circle of the elite. Pret-a-Porter (in other words, ready-to-wear) will appear only in the 70s of the last century, and the mass market - even later. Therefore, the most important distinguishing feature of modern fashion is its affordability. Today, fashion is no longer something extremely expensive and exclusive. All the key items of the season appear in the shops of democratic brands at the same time as at the big brands (if not earlier). Moreover, this accessibility is not only financial, but also informational.With the development of the media and the advent of the Internet, absolutely everyone can see current collections and read about the latest trends - regardless of where they live and their level of income. And the pandemic further accelerated these processes and acted as a "great equalizer": this season absolutely everyone watched shows from home, including celebrities of the first magnitude and the chief editors of the key gloss. Live streams on Instagram and YouTube have replaced the traditional front row - the last vestige of classiness in fashion. A quiet revolution has taken place right before our eyes.Live streams on Instagram and YouTube have replaced the traditional front row - the last vestige of classiness in fashion. A quiet revolution has taken place right before our eyes.Live streams on Instagram and YouTube have replaced the traditional front row - the last vestige of classiness in fashion. A quiet revolution has taken place right before our eyes.

Model in the Dior workshop, 1950s
Model in the Dior workshop, 1950s

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Yves Saint Laurent with models, circa 1960
Yves Saint Laurent with models, circa 1960

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Information accessibility also determines another important quality of modern fashion. Thanks to the Internet, getting into the industry itself has become much easier. If earlier fashion professionals were a certain circle of the elite (say, glossy editors were exclusively from aristocratic families or the higher establishment), today there are many success stories of people who "entered" the industry without connections and some special position: take at least would be fashionable bloggers. It turns out that fashion in general has become much more democratic - both as an industry and as a set of trends. And from this, in fact, another important feature of fashion today follows: inclusiveness. Since access here is now open not only to the elite, it means that in general, everyone has it. And this also manifests itself visually.If earlier on the catwalks and in advertising campaigns we saw at best 3-4 types of models, now there are hundreds, including plus-size and transgender girls.

So why then do we keep going back to the past every time? It would seem that the past centuries and the present day divide the abyss - in approaches, perception and sensations. But we keep quoting the Middle Ages, the Baroque, the 80s or 90s over and over again. Perhaps, everything is very simple here: nobody canceled nostalgia and escapism. When the current realities begin to seem too complicated for us, we like to mentally move for a while to where “the trees were tall”, and the social agenda is not so intricate (and no new ethics!). Here crinolines, Victorian stand-up collars, medieval chain mail and voluminous shoulders from the 80s appear on modern catwalks. True, in a significantly modified form. Whatever one may say, our requirements for comfort and appearance are changing. Therefore, the original dress of the Victorian era with a corset,bustle and puff sleeves hardly fit into the current "Victorian" trend. So we quote, but do not copy, taking only the best from past centuries.

Gucci fall-winter 2020/21
Gucci fall-winter 2020/21

Photo: IMAXTREE

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