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Emma Davenport

Source: Fashion Photography Archive, 2015, Fashion Photography Archive


Historically associated with cultural symbols of sorrow, experience, drama, and abstinence, the color black has frequently been worn since the fourteenth century to mark out the wearer from others in a variety of social and economic ways. On the catwalk, black has been used by a variety of designers including John Rocha, Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo, and Romeo Gigli. Since the 1970s, black has often been worn in the Western world to challenge and subvert cultural values. Yet, by the end of th

Dress for Rites of Passage

Annette Lynch

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

Encyclopedia entry

A rite of passage is a series of ritualized acts moving an individual from one stage of life to another, a formal and public marking of changing status and position within society. Rituals are repeated patterned actions that serve to reinforce and publicly announce beliefs and values to both the participating initiate and a culturally aware audience. Dress as a visible sign of social position is very often used within rites of passage as a public symbol of changing identity, and a means of expres


John Mack

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

Encyclopedia entry

Madagascar is by far the largest of the islands lying off the coast of Africa, yet its traditions of dress and personal decoration are distinctively different from what is found even on adjacent parts of the continent. They also show considerable differentiation within the island itself. Clothing is adapted both to extremes of heat and, in the center of the island, to cold, especially at night. Banana tree fiber, bark, hemp, and indigenous silkworms have all been exploited in making textiles, and

Mourning Dress

Lou Taylor

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion, 2010, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

At royal funerals, the hearse was accompanied for burial by a vast procession of representatives of the nation’s power: the bereaved family, the aristocracy, military, church, and merchants—their mourning dress carefully coded to indicate their gender and social rank. The highest in the land, both men and women, wore the longest mourning trains and hoods in expensive dull black wool, with black or white crape or linen trimmings. Lengths of mourning and details of the requisite dress followed stri

Birth, Marriage, and Death

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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

Encyclopedia entry

Important rites of passage relate to dress in Southwest Asia; namely, engagement, marriage, birth, and death customs. Because of the region’s size and the many different ethnic and religious groups and numerous variations, only general descriptions are possible. In the West, the sequence of life events is usually listed as birth, marriage, and death. In contrast, among many Southwest Asian cultures, birth is regarded as a product of marriage; thus marriage, birth, and death is considered the “nat

The Nasca on the South Coast of Peru

Mary Frame

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean, 2005, Berg Fashion Library

Encyclopedia entry

Knowledge of how people dressed in the Nasca region during the early phases of the Nasca period (1–300 c.e.) is reconstructed largely from archaeological sources. The garments themselves have been preserved in burials and ritual deposits, and technical studies of the garments reveal how they were made. In the middle and late phases (300–600 c.e.), textile preservation is too sporadic to provide an accurate overview of Nasca dress. Nasca people embellished their woven clothing with dyeing, embroid

Revolutionary Relics

Richard Wrigley

Source: The Politics of Appearances. Representations Of Dress In Revolutionary France, 2002, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

In narrating the Revolution, dress figures repeatedly as tangible evidence by means of which to articulate the present’s relation to the past, whether for reasons of celebration and commemoration, or for those of condemnation and denunciation. The preservation of special items of dress as highly charged and cherished souvenirs is a phenomenon that is evident from the earliest days of the Revolution.

Breathless with Anticipation: Romance, Morbidity and the Corset

Leigh Summers

Source: Bound to Please. A History of the Victorian Corset, 2001, Berg Fashion Library

Book chapter

a woman true as Death. A woman, upon whose first real lie, would be tenderly chloroformed into a better world, where she could have an angel for a governess, and feed on strange fruits which . . . make her all over again, even to her bones and marrow.O.W.Holmes, The Autocrat of The Breakfast Table: Every Man His Own Boswell, Ward Lock, London, 1865, p. 243.

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