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Films dealing with fashion: Blow-Up (1966)

Movements: Antwerp fashion - Art Deco fashion - heroin chic - space age pop culture and fashion

Designers: Karl Lagerfeld - Paco Rabanne - Pierre Cardin - André Courrèges - Elsa Schiaparelli - Hubert de Givenchy - Yves Saint-Laurent - Barbara Hulanicki (Biba) - Vivienne Westwood

Theory: Dick Hebdige - Pierre Bourdieu - Georg Simmel - more fashion theory ...

Dress by André Courrèges, photo credit unidentified

Photo by Guy Bourdin


A fashion consists of a current (constantly changing) trend, favoured for frivolous rather than practical, logical, or intellectual reasons. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion [Apr 2005]

Fashion refers to a current (constantly changing) trend, chosen for a frivolous rather than logical or intellectual reasons. Although it is most often used in the context of clothes and other aspects of appearance, fashion can apply to music, art, politics and even mathematics and the choice of programming techniques.

Fashion in clothes has been used to express emotions, or to express solidarity with other people, for millennia. There is a great deal of choice available in the possible selection of clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect their personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start; people who like or respect them start to wear clothes of a similar style. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion [Aug 2003]

Fashion designer history

Fashion design is the applied art dedicated to the design of clothing and lifestyle accessories.

The first fashion designer who was not merely a dressmaker was Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895). Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from styles worn at royal courts. Worth's success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. With his unprecedented success, his customers could attach a name and a face to his designs once they learned that they were from the House of Worth, thus starting the tradition of having the designer of a house be not only the creative head but the symbol of the brand as well. (Foreshadowing another contemporary trend, the House of Worth remained in business long after its founder's death in 1895, continuing until Worth's great-grandson closed the house in 1952.)

Worth's former apprentice Paul Poiret opened his own fashion house in 1904, melding the styles of Art Nouveau and aestheic dress with Paris fashion. His early Art Deco creations signalled the demise of the corset from female fashion.

Following in Worth's and Poiret's footsteps were: Patou, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior. Hand in hand with clothing, haute couture accessories evolved internationally with such names as Guccio Gucci, Thierry Hermès, Judith Leiber, and others. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_design [Mar 2006]

History of Western fashion

The European idea of fashion as a personal statement rather than a cultural expression begins in the 16th century: ten portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats. But the local culture still set the bounds, as Albrecht Dürer recorded in his actual or composite contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century. Fashions among upper-class Europeans began to move in synchronicity in the 18th century; though colors and patterns of textiles changed from year to year, (Thornton), the cut of a gentleman's coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady's dress was cut changed more slowly. Men's fashions derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette are galvanized in theatres of European war, where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles.

The pace of change picked up in the 1780s with the publication of French engravings that showed the latest Paris styles. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike: local variation became first a sign of provincial culture, and then a badge of the conservative peasant (James Laver; Fernand Braudel).

Fashion in clothes has allowed wearers to express emotion or solidarity with other people for millennia. Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person's personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start; people who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style.

Fashions may vary significantly within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The term "fashion victim" refers to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions (implementations of fashion)..

One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion#Fashion_and_variation [Mar 2006]

Art and Fashion (2005) - Alice Mackrell

Art and Fashion: The Impact of Art on Fashion and Fashion on Art (2005) - Alice Mackrell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Art in Fashion takes a long-overdue look at the influences of art on fashion, chronicling the close relationship between the two, which dates back at least to the Renaissance. It covers for each of the following artistic movements the historical background, the definitions of that art movement and its assimilation into fashion: Rococo and Neo-classicism; Romanticism; Impressionism; Art Nouveau and Art Deco; Vienna Secession, Fauvism and Cubism; Surrealism; 20th-Century Threads (with inclusion of Pop Art and Op Art); Fin-de-Siecle and the new millennium. The book is illustrated throughout with fine art, sketches and fashion plates, visually demonstrating the twin developments of art and fashion. It also includes a chronology of art movements plus appendices of fashion designers, fashion houses, and icons of fashion. --from the publisher

See also: art - fashion

Films dealing with fashion

  • Prêt-à-Porter / Ready to Wear (1994) - Robert Altman [Amazon.com]
    Robert Altman's much-anticipated broadside at the world of fashion is a disappointment. The film's crazy-quilt Nashville-like narrative structure and ensemble casting (Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Lauren Bacall, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren) are a thing to behold, but the story's many interlocking pieces lack overall depth and resonating emotion. There is a grand, satiric statement about fashion and society at the end of the film, and there are hints of an aging, nostalgic filmmaker's skepticism about our postmodern world of short-lived attachments and meanings. But watching this film is a long, long uphill climb, with a lot of thin air to endure before arriving at a destination. --Tom Keogh

    Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk (1994) - Ted Polhemus

    Streetstyle: From Sidewalk to Catwalk (1994) - Ted Polhemus [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Polhemus provides an informative, concise, lively rundown of all its major substyles, from those of zooties and hip cats to those of New Age travelers and acid jazz fans. They're all here, fully illustrated and, best of all, fun. So set aside personal prejudices, pretend you're from another planet, and marvel at the human ability to express individuality. --via Amazon.com

    This is an up-beat look at street fashion from 1940 to today, celebrating some 40 different styletribes, which will accompany a major exhibition on Streetstyle at the Victoria and Albert Museum in November 1994. We see how the styletribes interweave and evolve - the American Modernists of the early 1950s living on in the English Mods of the early 1960s, who became the Hard Mods, then the Skinheads, then the Ois!; while the 1950s Folkies became first the 1970s Hippies and then the New Age Travellers of the 1980s and 1990s. But for today's fashion-conscious young people, this is not all ancient history: Streetstyle offers the 1990s fashion world a supermarket of styles from which to pick and mix. Anyone is free to be part Beatnik, part Raver, or part Punk, part Grunge; Goths one day and Indie Kids the next. More than 200 illustrations, including 100 in colour, document the styles and their wearers - on the street, but also on the high-fashion catwalk, to which streetstyle has made an enormous, if perhaps unwilling, contribution. Ted Polhemus's many books include "Fashion and Anti Fashion", "Popstyles", "Social Aspects of the Human Body", "Bodystyles" and "Rituals of Love". He is the external curator of the Streetstyle exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. --via Amazon.de

    see also: style - clothing - street fashion

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