Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Historical and Artistic Styles


This style is composed of vertical lines, layers of fabrics, twisting, pleating, and draping with little sewing. Ancient Greek and Roman art such as statues and painted vases exhibit this style; Madame Grès repeated this style in her gowns which became very popular.

1958 - White silk jersey evening gown by Madame Grès (Alix Barton, French, 1903–1993)

Other silk jersey gowns by Madame Grès


Sharp top spires of towers were stamps of Gothic architecture. This was echoed in the clothing worn during the time period of the 12th century to the Renaissance. The cornette is a conical hat worn by women and men wore poulaines which were shoes with pointy tips. The Temperley London hat hints to the gothic style because of the conical shape of the hat.

1300–1450 - Brown leather Poulaine

Temperley London Fall 2009 RTW Conical Hat


Garments during the 17th century were extravagant. Elements such as high waistlines, large collars and cuffs, and wide breeches hid the natural figure. The large collars shown in the fashion designs by Christian Lacroix and Gareth Pugh display Baroque style like the oil painting of Princess Elizabeth (later to be Queen of Bohemia).

Christian Lacroix Spring 2009 couture

Gareth Pugh Spring 2009 RTW

1606 - Painting by Robert Peake the Elder (British, active by 1576, died 1619) of Princess Elizabeth (1596–1662), Later Queen of Bohemia


In the time period of the 1789 French Revolution to 1825, clothing was inspired by the Classical style. Sheer fabric dresses with high waistlines were draped in the Greek-Roman style. The two dresses from the Met are Neoclassical in design because of the high waistlines and sheer cotton fabric. The natural figure was hidden due to the columnar form of the garment, but with emphasis on the breasts. The Alexander McQueen fashion design is also Neoclassical because of the sheerness and empire waist.

1810 - Two French White cotton Dresses from the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

Alexander McQueen Fall 2008 RTW


The Romantic style was born around the 1820s but differed from Neoclassical because of the waistline changing to the rib cage. Sleeves ballooned and were a nod to the Gothic style. The balloon-like sleeves shown in the fashion designs by Badgley Mischka and Jean-Paul Gaultier are Romantic in style like the American silk walking dress from the Met.

Badgley Mischka Fall 2009 RTW

Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2009 Couture

1835 - American Silk Walking Dress from the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York


The bustle was introduced in the 1870s so now the fullness of the skirt sat at the back of the dress for functionality but still kept the decorative aesthetic. Lace ruffles going down the dress suggested a light and frothy look. The Elie Saab design has alternating layers of light and lace-like fabric down the length of the dress in the style of Impressionism. The dress layers and bustle in the silk ball gown designed by Charles Frederick Worth is strong in Impressionism style as well.

Elie Saab Couture Spring 2009 Couture

1872 - Silk Ball Gown by Charles Frederick Worth (French, born England, 1825–1895)

Alinda Norasing

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Geneology of a Garment - Power Suit

"The Power Suit connotes authority, strength, and leadership. Yet the term also implies that power -- especially for women -- is not a birthright as it is for men. It is something that can be acquired and put on. And something that can be stripped away. The power suit is akin to armor, outfitting a woman to do battle in a predominantly male world."

- International Museum of Women

1473-1458 b.c. -
Hatshepsut, one of several female rulers of Egypt. This is an indurated limestone statue of her wearing Egyptian pharaoh attire traditionally for men; most likely the pharaoh attire was to display power and enforce her rule.

"In spite of the masculine dress, the statue has a distinctly feminine air, unlike most other representations of Hatshepsut as pharaoh. Even the kingly titles on the sides of the throne are feminized to read "Daughter of Re [the sun god]" and "Lady of the Two Lands [Upper and Lower Egypt]."" - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1548 - Armors for Man and Horse by Kunz Lochner from Nuremberg Germany. This armor is composed of etched steel and leather; the lion mark is Lochner's signature.

"Duke Johann Ernst (1521–1553) may have commissioned the horse armor for his attendance at the Diet of Augsburg, a political assembly of the German nobility called in 1548 by Charles V to deal with the crisis of the Reformation." - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

*That is me in the pink :)

1808-11 - Tapestry: Potrait of Napoleon I was a woven copy from the work of French painter Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard. The painting shows Napoleon in imperial robes in the Throne Room of Tuileries Palace, the royal residence.

"A painted replica could have been produced quickly and with little expense, but tapestry was much more time-consuming and costly, and therefore considerably more precious. Eight weavers worked for three full years to make this tour de force. It was presented to the arch-chancellor of the empire, Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, four days after it was completed on March 7, 1811." - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1854 - Painting titled "Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII in Reims Cathedral" by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; Joan of Arc wore armor, to enforce her power coming from divine guidance. Also known as Jeanne d'Arc or the Maid of Orléans, she was was born in 1412 and died May 30th, 1431. At the age of 19, she claimed to have heard divine voices telling her to lead the French army to victory. She joined the army and led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans during the Hundred Years’ War.

January 20, 2009 - to display victory and his new power at the inaugural ball, President Barack Obama wears a tuxedo by Hart Schaffner Marx.

"The Chicago-based men’s wear firm, founded in 1883, was one of the first clothing companies to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a union in 1911." - WWD Fashion

Alinda Norasing

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Historical Draped and Tailored Garments

Draped Garments

Lela Ahmadzai created her project Burka Meets Haute Couture for her graduation presentation on September 30th, 2004 at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover. The burka (burqa), chadri, chador, and ruband were featured in her collection. The burka is a full-body veil worn by Muslim women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The burka is the Persian chador and ruband combined. The ruband is a face veil that is now rarely worn today; it is a strip of transparent fabric or mesh material covering the face and may be embroidered. The chadri is a burka worn by Afghan women where the cape is pleated. The chador is a full body veil with a half-moon and armless cape worn by Iranian women.

On June 22nd, 2009 the burka/burqa has caught attention because of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s words: “The burqa is not a religious sign. It is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women […].”


Chadri (Pleats):

Chador (Cape):

Kimono from the Meiji period 1868-1912 gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Naoki Nomura depicts carp, water lilies, and morning glories.

“This kimono was worn by Naoki Nomura's grandmother, one of four generations of female textile artisans in Kyoto, during her thirteenth year, in about 1876. The occasion was her jusan mairi (literally, thirteenth temple visit), her final visit as a child to Arashiyama Horinji, a temple in Saga, Kyoto. The jusan mairi, which involves the blessing of young people as they enter adolescence, is sometimes practiced today, and Horinji, located in the scenic Arashiyama district west of the city of Kyoto, still welcomes more than 20,000 participants every year”

- “Kimono with carp, water lilies, and morning glories [Japan] (2006.73.2)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–2009. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/10/eaj/ho_2006.73.2.htm (February 2008).

Kimono and obi (sash) worn by Geisha in this beautiful Salt Print from the 1890s; I love the photographer’s sense of humor titling this piece “The Macaroni Maidens of Old Japan” or “How Four Geisha Put Away a Ton of Soba Noodles”.

Another beautiful 1890s Salt Print titled “Show Me The Obi” showcase geisha in their Kimono but this time their colorful obi (sash) is the focal point.

Queen Sirikit of Thailand wears an outfit that is a variation of the style of Thai Ruean Ton, one of eight Thai national costume styles. It is a variation because the sleeves of her blouse are above the elbow when typically the sleeves are supposed to be about 3 inches below the elbow. The photograph is dated to April 1960; she is shown with her daughters and husband in the background, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (a.k.a. Phumiphon Aduldet).

After thorough online research, I could only find two sources (they are more of personal websites by webmaster Suchat Tongdee and another anonymous blogger) listing the eight Thai national costume styles. The spellings of the styles vary on each website since it is an attempt to translate to English.

Some Thai history from Suchat’s website:

The King and Queen Sirikit were preparing for a six-month long visit to 14 countries in America and Europe in 1960. Thailand had traditional clothing but it was not official or clearly defined. To define formal attire, Queen Sirikit rounded up a team of historians, scholars, designers along with her relative and aide Thanpuying Maneerat Bunnag. A fixed series of eight Thai national costume styles made from Thai silk were established by the team and from the Queen’s inspiration.

The most casual of these, the Thai Reun Ton (Thai Ruean Ton) or the Royal Thai House style, has a plain or horizontally/vertically striped silk ankle-length skirt (pa sin or pha sin) which is folded to one side. The collarless blouse covers the upper hips. The sleeves end at just about three inches beneath the elbow. The blouse has five round buttons on the front.

Please feel free to read about the other seven Thai national costume styles on Suchat’s website or on the blogger’s website.

Style 2 – Thai Chitralada (Thai Chitlada)

Style 3 – The Thai Amarin (Thai Amarin)

Style 4 – Thai Borom Bimarn (Thai Boromphiman)

Style 5 – Thai Chakri (Thai Chakkri)

Style 6 – Thai Dusit (Thai Dusit)

Style 7 – Thai Chakraphat (Thai Chakkraphat)

Style 8 – Thai Sivalai (Thai Siwalai)

Another example of draped Thai garments would be the traditional clothing of Muay Thai fighters (Thai Kickboxing). Miss Thailand 2008 Gavintra Photijak competed in Miss Universe with an outfit inspired by Muay Thai and won best national costume. The garment was titled "Spirit of Fighting" and created by Thai student Sathapat Moonma, a senior-year architecture student from Khon Kaen Univerisity.

Tailored Garments

Trousers worn by peasant farmers in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s oil on wood Netherlandish painting titled The Harvesters dated to 1565.

Trousers worn by Gustave Manet (artist’s younger brother) in Édouard Manet’s oil on canvas French painting titled Young Man in the Costume of a Majo dating back to 1863.

“Manet purportedly painted many Spanish subjects because he owned a trunkful of Andalusian costumes that had enormous visual appeal for him. For this depiction of one of the dashing young Spaniards known as majos […]”

- "Édouard Manet: Young Man in the Costume of a Majo (29.100.54)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–2009. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mane/ho_29.100.54.htm (December 2008).

Coat Armor (jupon) of Charles VI of France, late 14th century.

“In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, […] in addition to mail and plate armor, […] knights and men-at-arms wore armor made of fabric, many-layered and heavily quilted body armor known as a gambeson (worn under mail and early plate armor), or a jupon (worn alone or over a mail shirt).”

- Breiding, Dirk H. "The Function of Armor in Medieval and Renaissance Europe". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–2009. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ufarm/hd_ufarm.htm (October 2002)

A 1960s wool suit created by American designer Bill Blass.

Alinda Norasing