Fashion history 1

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  • Publicado : 30 de agosto de 2012
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Fashion is a representative of its time. It varies according to place, this place’s condition and the different social groups interacting in this space, and it will always be what the general reality is not. It is a small elite group that makes fashion and it is them trying to differentiate from the general crowd. Fashion is to stand out and stand away, it iswhat everyone cannot have. Fashion clothes will be opulent in times of poverty and quality and simplicity will rule when opulence is achievable by anyone who can afford H&M. When fashion becomes fashionable a group will stray away and start something new, and thus fashion continues its path forward. So shapes, sizes, colours and meanings change. Silhouettes grow larger as food becomes lesser, skinsgo paler as sunburn means work, fitness will reign when fat-fastfood has made half of the western world obese and when it’s hard to afford time for vacation a tan is what is “in”. A body part will change its shape and will be covered or uncovered accordingly depending on what fashion dictates. One body part of significance, which variations in time give great account of the historical period, isthe female stomach. The parts of a body have enjoyed different levels of exposure and shape shifting through fashion history. The face has always been in display (with some exceptions) since it is our main tool of communication. The arms come close after for practicality reasons and because the have little meaning in terms of sex, but the rest has been covered for the most part of the Middle Agesand modern times. But emphasis has been made on these covered parts by playing with proportions and volume, by adding or subtracting from the natural shape of the body. No one part plays a role on it’s own, the silhouette is a composition, but for practical reasons we will focus on one: With the genderization of bodies as a result of the development in clothes making in the late Middle Ages, theshapes of both males and females began their everchanging path through fashion history. Different parts were highlighted through patterns that evidenced the birth of tailoring. Clothes and shapes became more than just practicality, they adopted meaning. Women portrayed in paintings of the time can be seen wearing high waisted dresses with big amount of fabric and padding in the stomach area.Analyzed from today’s parameters one ne would think pregnancy, but it is an illusion to give the impression of fertility. Women carry children in their stomachs, and that was hard to achieve at the time. Birth and life expectancy of babies was low and plagues had a big impact in Europeans at the time. The Black Plague in the middle of the 14th century took the lives of around half of the population ofthe continent. Hence, life was a treasure. The purpose of a woman was to give birth and perpetuate life in a world full of hostility, therefore, showing child bearing capacities was crucial and pregnant looking stomachs became fashion.

This silhouette can be seen in Jan Van Eyck’s portrait of the Arnolfini wedding (1434) (see image on left), a painting full of references to family andfruitfulness. A couple stands in a room that opens to the outside through a window showing fruit trees in the garden. Both characters are standing, holding hands. He has his right hand up and she holds her left hand over her belly. She is not pregnant, but her posture and padded robe suggest her fertility and desired pregnancy that never was. The Renaissance (from to 16th centuries in Europe) is the momentin time that marked the transition from medieval to the modern world. It is a period marked by big progress in science, art, politics and religion. It derives from an opening of thought that seeks to break with religious predominance. In terms of fashion it meant striving to move away from our animal nature, it was about showing progress and that meant artificiality. Waists are made smaller...