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Orientalism in Fashion

Osman Ahmed

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This essay explores the relationship with fashion and Orientalism as a modern study of Western culture, as well as an ancient dialogue between East and West that has laid the foundations for the modern fashion system. Designers discussed include Paul Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent, and John Galliano, who each represent various waves of Orientalism and the changing ways in which its appearance in fashion collections contributed to the course of fashion and design history.

Grace Jones

Shayla Corinne Black

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Born in 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Grace Jones’s whimsical career began as a model, where she was a brash addition to international designers Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana, and Kenzo Takada. Grace Jones obliterated all boundaries with her incorporation of gender-bending fashions, notorious buzz-cut hairstyle, and her determination to don original and outrageous styles. Artists like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna have all paid homage to Jones for her exuberance and eccentricity, whic

Capes and Cloaks

Emma Davenport

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

A cape or cloak is a layer of fabric that wraps around the body for warmth and protection and is with or without sleeves. While men have historically worn both as a military garment, they became popular as womenswear in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, they had fallen out of fashion, replaced by a wider range of coat styles. On the catwalk, both are associated with adventure and intrigue, making them more of a romantic accessory than a daily necessity. While designers like Yves Saint Laurent a

Yves Saint Laurent, Spring/Summer 1988 Haute Couture

Lorynn Divita

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Throughout his career, Yves Saint Laurent famously drew inspiration from all of the fine arts, including painting, opera, the ballet, literature, poetry, and the works of Shakespeare. The influence of various painters on Saint Laurent’s creations dates back to his famous fall/winter 1965 “Mondrian Poliakoff” collection. His spring/summer 1988 collection, a tribute to cubism and impressionism and the work of Georges Braque and Vincent Van Gogh, was a natural fit into his oeuvre, with jackets embro

Léon Bakst

Waleria Dorogova

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Léon Bakst (1866–1924), while not a style icon in the conventional sense, is well known to have profoundly influenced fashion throughout the twentieth century. Vanity Fair declared as early as 1914 that Bakst “has done more to revolutionize costume than any man since Adam.” His vibrant designs for the costumes and settings of the Ballets Russes in the period between 1909 and 1922 have enduringly inspired fashion designers to a substantially higher degree than his less well-known work in couture o

Russian Style

Waleria Dorogova

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Manifestations of the Russian style are a recurring motif in the vocabulary of Western fashion. Their spectrum ranges from rural peasant dresses to opulent, zibeline-edged Boyar coats and covers many stereotypes of equally Tsarist and Soviet Russia. Despite the fact that the Soviet Union existed as a hermetically closed entity, culturally isolated from Europe, French fashion repeatedly featured a Russian note. The second half of the 1960s experienced the popularity of the Zhivago look, while Yves

Bianca Jagger

Jessica Draper

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The 1970s was a highly creative period in fashion, and one in which designers’ celebrity muses were prominent. Model and actress Bianca Jagger was a very fashionable friend to designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Roy Halston, and became a particularly memorable icon of the 1970s, embodying the eclectic style that came to define the decade. Jagger referenced themes of exoticism, menswear, and the 1940s in her attention-grabbing wardrobe, which became a subject of particular press interest afte

Yves Saint Laurent

Casey Mackenzie Johnson

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

African Influences in European Fashion Design

Elizabeth Kutesko

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Since the late nineteenth century, European fashion design has been lured by the exotic “otherness” of Africa as a source of creative inspiration and exotic raw materials, such as ivory and tropical woods, for use in luxury consumer goods. The more recent stylistic appropriation, since the 1970s, of African motifs, patterns, and color combinations has became increasingly prominent in European fashion and needs to be understood as part of the industry’s continual cross-cultural pursuit of innovati

Visual Media and Dress

Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Gibson Church

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

Encyclopedia entry

Visual media have played an enormous role in the development of fashion in West Europe. Fashion imagery emerged within print journalism, more specifically women’s magazines, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The development of popular cinema in the first half of the twentieth century had a momentous impact on the global fashion industry, especially in the star system, the “tie-in,” and the involvement of both couturiers and ready-to-wear designers in film. From the radical changes of th

France

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell

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

Encyclopedia entry

The French Revolution abolished the rigid dress etiquette and bureaucracy of the ancien régime fashion industry. Napoleon’s campaigns inspired fashions with soldierly details and created a vogue for exotic accessories. His imperial court ensured the survival of French luxury goods industries, while promoting a more modern silhouette. Napoleon encouraged pre-Revolutionary tastes for classical Greek and Roman styles, to glorify his own reign. The restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and the Romantic

Historical Influences on Contemporary Fashion Design

Lorynn Divita

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Fashion designers regularly draw inspiration from historical influences, which they appropriate and reinterpret for the modern consumer, often while making a deeper commentary about the current era by referencing the ideals of the past. Theoretical concepts such as Nystrom’s Zeitgeist and Laver’s Law, which demonstrate society’s “gap in appreciation” of fashion styles, enable fashion observers to more accurately interpret the statement a designer is making through retro fashions. Two collections

Saint Laurent, Yves

Pamela Golbin

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

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