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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.

1970s Style: Key Themes and Trends

Jo Turney

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The 1970s established fashion as performance, an element of cultures of display in which the street became catwalk (and vice versa), fusing fashion with media such as music, dance, film, and art. It was a decade of imagination and individuality, resulting from newfound social and personal freedoms (Tom Wolfe dubbed it the “Me” decade) which combined with a sartorial knowingness created a new confidence in the presentation of the self—anything was possible and the only limits were of one’s imagina

Early Orientalism and the Barbaresque

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

Just to what extent Justinian was instrumental in the demystification of silk within Europe is debatable, because the fibres of the highest quality still emanated from elsewhere: the Middle East and Cathay. Silks had always been the commodity of choice for the Roman citizenry and aristocracy. Although the earliest dates of trade with Asia and the Middle East are uncertain, they can be traced to as far back as the fourth century bc, when the commerce was predominately with India and Persia. China

1690–1815: Chinoiserie, Indiennerie, Turquerie and Egyptomania

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

See, mademoiselle, how that goes well with your Chinese-style hairstyle, your mantle of peacock feathers, your petticoat of celadon and gold, your cinnamon bottoms and your shoes of jade…

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.

1868–1944: The Japoniste Revolution, the Deorientalizing of the Orient and the Birth of Couture

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

Civilization! Read: ‘the era that has lost almost all its creative power…in jewellery as in furniture’; and in one or the other we are compelled to exhume or import. Import what? Indian bracelets of glass filament and Chinese earrings of cut paper? No. But more often the naïve taste that underlies their making.

1944–2011: Postwar Revivalism and Transorientalism

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

To call the toga or the mandarin’s gown ‘chic’ is to suggest a process of change which barely existed in ancient Rome or China; the clothes of the beefeater of the samurai are eminently respectable, precisely because they are not up to date; the tarboosh was never ‘all the go’ for it has never gone.

Conclusion: The Revenge of China

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

Dolce color d’orientale zaffiro [Sweet hue of oriental sapphire].

Introduction

Adam Geczy

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

Book chapter

We arrived at the opulent bazaars that form the centre of Istanbul, a solidly constructed stone labyrinth in the Byzantine style which served as a vast shelter from the daytime heat. Its huge galleries of arched and vaulted ceilings supported by sculpted pillars were in colonnades, each dedicated to particular kinds of merchandise. Most remarkable were the clothes and the female slippers [babouches], fabrics embroidered or in lamé, cashmeres, carpets, gold, silver or opal-encrusted furniture, the

Body and Beauty

Patrizia Calefato

Translated by Sveva Scaramuzzi

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

Encyclopedia entry

The concept of human “race” was extended for the first time from its meaning of “lineage” or “descent” by Georges Cuvier (1769–1823) who gave it a classificatory, hierarchical meaning. During the nineteenth century, this conception led to racial biology and eugenics. Notwithstanding the researchers’ intentions, the idea of “race” constituted the basis for nineteenth- and twentieth-century racist ideologies. The idea of feminine beauty also evolved in relation to the genesis of racism. Fashion bec

Orientalism in Western Dress and Stage Costume

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones

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

Encyclopedia entry

From the time of the European Renaissance, the West has been fascinated by the image of the “mysterious,” “exotic,” and “erotic” East. Sometimes, as Edward Said explored in his 1978 book Orientalism, this Western view of the East has been so dependent on the fantastical imaginings of European (and North American) authors, artists, and musicians that the realities of Eastern cultures and societies have been deliberately submerged beneath a vision of “theatricalized” Eastern despotism, characterize

Fashion, Dress, and Interior Spaces

Peter McNeil

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

Encyclopedia entry

Clothes are animated by bodies moving in space, and attitudes toward work and leisure that have changed dramatically across culture and time. In early modern Europe until the eighteenth century, sumptuary laws extended well beyond dress to even the type of finish and materials used in interior design. Other societies, including China and Thailand, continuously attempted to control these appearances. In England in the post-Restoration decades, very wealthy women exhibited new independence in the d

Orientalism

Patricia Mears

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Explore
Poiret, Paul

Caroline Rennolds Milbank

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Until the October 1908 publication of Les Robes de Paul Poiret, Poiret was merely an up-and-coming couturier, likely to assume a place in the hierarchy as secure as that of Doucet or Worth. However, the limited edition deluxe album of Poiret designs as envisioned and exquisitely rendered by new artist Paul Iribe would have far-reaching impact, placing Poiret in a new uncharted position, that of daringly inventive designer and arbiter of taste. Fashion presentation up to then had been quite straig

Dress and Art: Western

Sandra L. Rosenbaum

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

Encyclopedia entry

Images of people wearing clothing create an obvious connection between dress and art. Because relatively few examples of historic garments survive, these images document the history of dress. Historically, those sitting for portraits chose their dress to project a specific image; the artist was responsible for conveying messages encoded in dress, meticulously reproducing them. Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass have commented that Renaissance clothes were perceived as material forms of pers

Fashion, Historical Studies of

Lou Taylor

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A widening fascination with classical dress of ancient Greece and Rome in France led to Michel-François Dandré Bardon’s Costume des anciens peuples of 1772 and André Lens’s Costume des peuples de l’antiquité in 1776. These helped to fuel the eventual development of neoclassical fashions. The Gothic Revival too encouraged a wave of European interest in medieval dress history. These books provided “authentic” details of “Gothic” dress for dressmakers as well as artists, architects, and enthusiasts

Cultural Authentication in Dress

John E. Vollmer

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

Encyclopedia entry

Cultural authentication in dress is a process of assimilation through which a garment or an accessory external to a culture is adopted and changed. With this change, over time, the artifact becomes a vital, valued part of the adopting culture’s dress. Nigerian scholar T. V. Erekosima originally introduced this theoretical construct in the late 1970s to investigate the assimilation of material culture by the Kalabari people of southeastern Nigeria. In 1981 Erekosima and anthropologist and dress sc

The Management of Colour: The Kashmir Shawl in a Nineteenth-Century Debate

David Brett

Source: Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion 2nd Edition 2009

Book chapter

Writing about colour has always been difficult because colour is notoriously resistant to language. The inter-translatability of colour names and terms between languages is remarkably diffuse, which is a sure sign of their odd logical status. Even where we might expect coherent theory, in the art of painting, discourse on colour was generally defined (negatively) as against disegno, drawing as form and composition. This was true until the mid-nineteenth century, and remains influential. There is

The Influence of American Jazz on Fashion

Susan L. Hannel

Source: Twentieth-Century American Fashion 2008

Book chapter

Editors’ Introduction: The efforts to provide more sensible dress for women finally came to fruition in the 1920s, as seen in Chapter 3. Many factors help explain the change in women’s dress from highly structured complex garments to the short, shapeless dresses that emerged in the 1920s. The change occurred, in part, with a shift from Victorian and Edwardian sensibilities to modernist concepts of functionality. Also, in America more young people were entering college and creating new lifestyles

Ideological Roots to Ethnocentrism

Fadwa El Guindi

Source: Veil. Modesty, Privacy and Resistance 1999

Book chapter

Orientalism, both pictorial and literary . . . has set the stage for the deployment of phantasms – a central figure emerges, the very embodiment of the obsession: the harem.

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