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

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