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The Empress’s Old Clothes: Biographies of African Dress at the Victoria And Albert Museum

Nicola Stylianou

Source: Dress History. New Directions in Theory and Practice 2015

Book chapter

On 20 April 1869 the V&A accessioned a number of objects from Ethiopia including clothes and jewellery that were listed in the museum register as having been given to the museum by the ‘Secretary of State for India’ and ‘belonging formerly to the Queen of Abyssinia’ (V&A 1869). At this time the V&A had not yet been divided into departments with objects being accepted for inclusion in the museum on the grounds of design excellence or as demonstrations of particular techniques. Included in this gif

1815–1871: Turkophilia, Afromania and the Indes

Adam Geczy

Source: Fashion and Orientalism. Dress, Textiles and Culture from the 17th to the 21st Century 2013

Book chapter

Yet neither high Egyptian nights nor the black and opulent coffee with cardamom seed nor the frequent literary discussions with the Doctors of the Law nor the venerable muslin turban nor the meals eaten with his fingers made him forget his British reticence, the delicate central solitude of the masters of the earth.

Morocco

Cynthia J. Becker

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Morocco has long been a crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa, and dress reflects the richness of its history as well as its geographic and cultural diversity. Forty to sixty percent of the Moroccan population is Berber, and many Berbers have retained their indigenous language. After the Phoenicians and then the Romans settled in Morocco and encountered the Berbers, Arabs moved into Morocco in the seventh century, founding the city of Fes and gradually converting the

Helmet

Beverly Chico

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Prehistoric peoples probably wore woven basketry or hide head protectors; ancient Ethiopians used horse skulls, manes, and tails. Archaeological evidence reveals that rawhide caps and copper helmets, protecting ears and neck nape—with chin straps and padded wool or leather lining—were worn by Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian warriors during the third to first millennia B.C.E. Early Greek helmets were usually bronze hemispherical crowns. The Corinthian version incorporated a movable face mask; t

The Shawl and the Head Cover

Rosemary Crill

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A draped, uncut length of cloth has been the basis of Indian male and female dress since the earliest times. This draped cloth has taken many forms, with the turban, sari, and dhoti having been the major components of dress across India for centuries. The focus on wrapped, untailored lengths of cloth altered with the arrival of the Kushans in the second century b.c.e. and in the wake of closer contacts with Central Asia through migrations and trade. Later, under the influence of Muslim culture fr

Accessories

Valerie Cumming

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

There is a debate about whether accessories are “essential” or “additional to dress.” From 1800 onwards, there are relatively few new accessories; some gradually disappeared, and others became increasingly important, their roles reflecting a changing world. Many times those actually producing these goods could themselves afford only basic, practical items. Certain crafts were more suited to mechanized production—knitted goods like stockings and printed fabrics—others, like millinery, beaded bags,

Linen

Margarita Gleba

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Since prehistory, linen, made from flax, has been one of the most widely used textile materials. Linen does not take easily to natural dyes, so before the advent of synthetic colorants it was rarely dyed. Linen is particularly suitable for utilitarian fabrics, owing to its strength, low elasticity, and durability. The earliest known textiles are linen. In Europe, flax was cultivated by the second half of the seventh millennium b.c.e. Some surviving fabrics are so fine that they still cannot be du

Aboriginal Dress in Arnhem Land

Louise Hamby

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The items that Aboriginal people wore on their bodies in Arnhem Land, an Aboriginal reserve in the top portion of the Northern Territory, before contact with outsiders from Macassar and the rest of Australia, were influenced by environmental, cultural, and social factors. The landscape varies from the coast; Arnhem Land changes from escarpment to open woodlands. It has a monsoonal climate with hot to warm temperatures in both the wet and the dry seasons. Bodily items were not worn for warmth, pro

Neckties and Neckwear

Anna König

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Explore
Body and Beauty

Babatunde Lawal

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

As many scholars have pointed out, the body is much more than flesh, bones, and blood. Apart from defining an individual, it is socially constructed in different ways by different cultures, relating an individual to his or her habitus. As anthropologist Jean Comaroff has put it: The relationship between the human body and the social collectivity is a critical dimension of consciousness in all societies. Indeed, it is a truism that the body is the tangible form of selfhood in individual and collec

Muslim Dress and the Head-Scarf Debate

Annelies Moors

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Debates about the presence of students wearing head scarves in public schools in West Europe started in the late 1980s; about a decade later, the employment of women wearing head scarves also became the focus of attention. These debates need to be seen within a context in which a new generation of Muslims (often second-generation migrants) started to enter the educational system and then the labor market. As new Muslim citizens, these young men and women have increasingly become socially and poli

Early History of Dress and Fashion in Continental West Europe

Mechthild Müller

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The discovery of the Iceman “Oetzi,” who lived between 3500 and 3000 b.c.e., provides valuable information on early dress. His many garments included a patchwork-style goat-fur mantle. Much later, Roman dress included tunics and togas for Roman citizens or friendly allied nations. In 816/817 Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, made monks and members of the clergy accept dress codes. Lay men and women were required to dress differently, and women had to cover their heads in public. Fashion during

Materials

Giorgio Riello

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Before 1800, fashionable individuals were defined as much by the textiles they chose as the styles they wore. There are characteristics shared by all textiles. First, they were used by people across society to construct notions of worth and appropriateness. Second, their importance in medieval, early modern, and modern European societies was linked to their value. Before industrialization reduced production costs, textiles remained generally luxuries. A third shared characteristic was their ubiqu

The Kashmir Shawl: A Historical Study

Janet Rizvi

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Kashmir produced export-quality textiles from at least the fourteenth century onwards, although the nature of the earliest ones is uncertain. By the late sixteenth century, fine Kashmir textiles were identified as shawl, meaning a twill-woven fabric in pashmina (cashmere) sourced from western Tibet. This material was made up not only as shoulder mantles but also as waist girdles, and in lengths to be tailored into men’s garments, as well as other forms. Only in the nineteenth century was the term

The Kashmir Shawl and Its Use in the Indo-Islamic World and Europe

Janet Rizvi

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

For the entire period of its known history, the classic Kashmir shawl, woven in twill tapestry from the finest trans-Himalayan goat pashm (cashmere), was manufactured as an export item, destined for the highest end of the market in plains India, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Ottoman Empire, and later in Europe and the United States. The industry was highly structured, and its output was tailored to the demand of particular markets. Merchants from foreign countries traveled to Srinagar, Kashmir’s cap

Palestinian Scarves and Flag Dresses

Tineke Rooijakkers

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Palestinian scarf and the flag dress are powerful nationalistic and political icons. Their history is strongly connected to the disruptive occurrences of the twentieth century, such as the British Mandate period from 1922 to 1948, the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, and the ensuing Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Lithuania: Ethnic Dress

Ruta Saliklis

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Lithuania, situated in northeastern Europe on the Baltic Sea, was until the twentieth century a nation of people living off the land. Up until 1970, more than half of Lithuania’s population lived outside of major urban areas. The country is covered with deciduous and coniferous forests, glacial lakes, and rivers. Many of the forests have been cut down, but until the mid-twentieth century, people living outside of major cities were very isolated, causing them to develop regional linguistic dialect

Identity and Gender in Traditional Jewish Dress

Eric K. Silverman

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Over the past few decades, North American Jews have increasingly contested and reshaped norms of Jewish gender and identity through ritual and everyday dress. Novel patterns on prayer shawls allow Jewish women to challenge long-standing male privilege during prayer and in the synagogue while nonetheless asserting a commitment to religious tradition and continuity. Skullcap or yarmulke designs increasingly draw on U.S. pop culture to uneasily balance Jewish religious particularity with cultural as

Accessories of Dress

Celia Stall-Meadows

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The accessories industries in Canada and the United States are multibillion dollar industries that include many diverse product categories. Fashion accessories may be defined as fashion items that are carried or worn, and support or accent apparel fashions. Common accessories used by consumers in North America include hats and headwear, eyewear, scarves, shawls, neckties, handkerchiefs, pocket squares, gloves, belts, handbags, small personal leather goods, luggage, umbrellas, fans, and watches. M

Scotland

Naomi E.A. Tarrant

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

By 1800, those people in Scotland who could afford it dressed in the style of clothing usually known as fashionable West European. This was no different from the dress of others of their class within Britain. There is no folk dress in Scotland, but there are some types of occupational dress that have been associated with Scotland or with particular types of work. Those who had little income for clothing dressed in what they could afford or were given by charities. As in former times, secondhand c

Spain

Silvia Ventosa

Translated by Lucy Lawton

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The influence of Spanish dress on European fashions is concentrated in two periods: the period of court life of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the moda a la española (Spanish-style fashion), and that of the majos, members of the Madrid artistic scene at the end of the eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century. The stereotypical image of the Spanish was fixed around 1800, an image that emanated from the south, from Andalusia, and this stereotype still survives in the early

Turkmen Dress and Embroidery

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Central and Southwest Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The majority of the Turkmen live around the Kara Kum (“Black Sand”) desert. The various Turkmen tribes consider themselves to be a single ethnic group. In the early twenty-first century, the Turkmen region is divided among Afghanistan, Iran, and the former Soviet Union. Turkmen of these countries have only been separated by international boundaries for some one hundred years. Prior to this, there was constant trade and social contact between the various groups. Turkmen also engaged in textile tra

Czech Ethnic Dress

Patricia Williams

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in central Europe, which, in the twenty-first century, comprises the three historic provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Upper Silesia. The country is composed primarily of West Slavic people, but political and ethnographic borders have changed through centuries of prolonged conflict and domination by the German states and Austria. Social differentiation through clothing developed in Bohemia around the fourteenth century, and by the fifteenth century dress

Slovakia: Ethnic Dress

Patricia Williams

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. East Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Slovakia is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Europe, slightly larger than Switzerland. Slovaks have retained an enduring sense of their ethnicity, as manifested in the preservation of the Slovak language despite a turbulent history of foreign control and deprivation. They were under Hungarian and Austro-Hungarian rule from the tenth century until 1918, but, although their territory was called Upper Hungary, Slovaks never identified themselves as Hungarian, maintaining their Slovak iden

Religion and Dress

Nigel Yates, Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Dawoud El-Alami

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The wearing of special dress by all or some members of particular religions is commonplace throughout the world. In most cases, a distinction is made between the special dress worn by those officiating at religious services and that worn by those attending the services. In West Europe, the wearing of special dress within the different Christian churches—Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant—has been largely confined to the clergy or to members of religious orders of monks and nuns, alt

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