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Tunisia

Meriem Chida

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

Encyclopedia entry

Tunisia lies on the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Libya and Algeria. The earliest inhabitants, called the Imazighen, spoke Berber languages and predated the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, and the Arabs. Until the early seventh century, Imazighen women wore a draped dress like the Greek chiton and the Roman toga, fastened with silver fibulae, with a woolen or leather sash wrapped around the waist. In the seventh century, Arabs brought Islam to Tunisia and influenced local d

Dance Costumes

Margaret A. Deppe

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

Encyclopedia entry

The category of dance costume is a specialized type of dress usually reserved for performances and masquerade. In North Africa as elsewhere, dance costumes are worn for performances at special events and in entertainment venues. Three general categories of dance in North Africa are raks shaabi (popular dance), raks beledi (country dance), and raks sharqi (eastern dance).

Mauritania and Western Sahara

Hudita Nura Mustafa

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

Encyclopedia entry

Mauritania and Western Sahara/Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic occupy a large region in northwest Africa on the edge of the Sahara Desert, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahel. For centuries, trade, migration, slavery, and intermarriage have created economic and cultural exchange across this desert region, bridging Arab and black Africa and their traditions of dress. Across the Senegal River, the famed Senegalese city of St. Louis long served as a host for Mauritanian merchants and migrants

Archaeological Evidence

Fred T. Smith

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

Encyclopedia entry

In Africa, the human body has always been a focus for creative expression. Each culture has evolved its own patterns of dress and associated symbolic system, yet cross-cultural influences and change have constantly occurred. A society’s political structure and religious institutions can determine the type of dress used. Societies with a centralized organization often have elaborate, even grandiose programs of visual culture associated with leadership. The ruler or an elite group often reserves th

North Africa

Fred T. Smith

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

Encyclopedia entry

North Africa consists of Egypt in the east and the lands to the west, or Maghreb (the Arabic term for “the place of sunset”). Because of a rich archaeological record, a substantial amount of information exists on ancient Egyptian textiles. In ancient Egypt, loincloths and linen kilts with a belt were common items of male clothing, while women wore tight-fitting dresses or skirts. Women’s dresses became looser in the New Kingdom and were decorated with pleats and folds. Both sexes wore woolen cloa

Alaïa, Azzedine

Claire Wilcox

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

By the 1970s, in response to the changing climate in fashion, Alaïa’s focus shifted from custom-made gowns to ready-to-wear for an emerging clientele of young, discerning customers. Toward the end of the decade he designed for Thierry Mugler and produced a group of leather garments for Charles Jourdan. Rejected for being too provocative, they have been kept ever since in Alaïa’s extensive archive. In 1981 he launched his first collection; already favored by the French fashion press, he soon found

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