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L’Histoire de Mode

L’Histoire de Mode~Elizabeth Taylor, RIP 2/1932-3/2011

B. Feb. 27, 1932 & D. March 23 2011

Elizabeth Rosemond “Liz” Taylor, DBE, was an English-born

American actress. Beginning as a child star, as an adult she came to

be known for her acting talent and beauty, and had a much publicised private

life, including eight marriages and several near-death experiences. Taylor was

considered one of the great actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The

American Film Institute named Taylor seventh on its Female Legends list.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born in Hampstead, a wealthy district of

north west London, the second child of Francis Lenn Taylor and

Sara Viola Warmbrodt (1895–1994), who were Americans residing in England. Taylor’s

older brother, Howard Taylor, was born in 1929. Her parents were originally from Arkansas City, Kansas.

Francis Taylor was an art dealer, and Sara was a former actress whose stage name was

“Sara Sothern.” Sothern retired from the stage when she and Francis married in

1926 in New York City. Taylor’s two first names are in honor of her paternal

grandmother, Elizabeth Mary (Rosemond) Taylor.

A dual citizen of the United Kingdom

and the United States, she was born a British subject through her birth on British soil and

an American citizen through her parents. She reportedly sought,

in 1965, to renounce her United States citizenship, to wit: “Though never accepted

by the State Department, Liz renounced in 1965. Attempting to shield much of her

European income from U.S. taxes, Liz wished to become solely a British citizen.

According to news reports at the time, officials denied her request when she

failed to complete the renunciation oath, refusing to say that she

renounced ‘all allegiance to the United States of America.'”

At the age of three, Taylor began taking ballet lessons with Vaccani. Shortly

before the beginning of World War II, her parents decided to return to the United States

to avoid hostilities. Her mother took the children first, arriving in New York in April 1939,

while her father remained in London to wrap up matters in the art business, arriving in November.

They settled in Los Angeles, California, where Sara’s family, the Warmbrodts, were then living.

Through Hedda Hopper, the Taylors were introduced to Andrea Berens, a wealthy

English socialite and also fiancée of Cheever Cowden, chairman and major

stockholder of Universal Pictures in Hollywood. Berens insisted that

Sara bring Elizabeth to see Cowden who, she was adamant, would

be dazzled by Elizabeth’s breathtaking dark beauty; she was

born with a mutation that caused double rows of eyelashes,

which enhanced her appearance on camera.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer soon took interest in the

British youngster as well but she failed to secure

a contract with them after an informal audition

with producer John Considine had shown that she

couldn’t sing. However, on September 18, 1941,

Universal Pictures signed Elizabeth to a six-month

renewable contract at $100 a week.

Taylor appeared in her first motion picture at the age of nine in

There’s One Born Every Minute, her only film for Universal Pictures. Less than six

months after she signed with Universal, her contract was reviewed by Edward Muhl, the studio’s

production chief. Muhl met with Taylor’s agent, Myron Selznick (brother of David), and

Cheever Cowden. Muhl challenged Selznick’s and Cowden’s constant support of Taylor:

“She can’t sing, she can’t dance, she can’t perform. What’s more, her mother has to be

one of the most unbearable women it has been my displeasure to meet.”

Universal cancelled Taylor’s contract just short of her tenth birthday in February 1942.

Nevertheless on October 15, 1942, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed Taylor to $100 a week for up to

three months to appear as “Priscilla” in the film Lassie Come Home.

Lassie Come Home featured child star Roddy McDowall, with

whom Taylor would share a lifelong friendship. Upon its release in

1943, the film received favourable attention for both McDowall and Taylor.

On the basis of her performance in Lassie Come Home MGM signed Taylor

to a conventional seven-year contract at $100 a week but increasing at

regular intervals until it reached a hefty $750 during the seventh year.

Her first assignment under her new contract at MGM was a loan-out to

20th Century Fox for the character of Helen Burns in a film version of the

Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre (1944). During this period she also

returned to England to appear in another Roddy McDowall picture for

MGM, The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). But it was Taylor’s persistence in

campaigning for the role of Velvet Brown in MGM’s National Velvet that

skyrocketed Taylor to stardom at the tender age of 12.

Taylor’s character, Velvet Brown, is a young girl who trains her beloved

horse to win the Grand National. National Velvet, which also costarred

beloved American favorite Mickey Rooney and English newcomer Angela Lansbury,

became an overwhelming success upon its release in December 1944. Many years later

Taylor called it “the most exciting film” she had ever made, and the film changed her

life forever. Although it vastly increased her star power, many of her back problems were

traced to when she hurt her body falling off a horse during its filming.

National Velvet grossed over US$4 million at the box office and

Taylor was signed to a new long-term contract that raised her salary

to $30,000 per year. To capitalize on the box office success of Velvet,

Taylor was shoved into another animal opus, Courage of Lassie, in which

a different dog named “Bill”, cast as an Allied combatant in World War II,

regularly outsmarts the Nazis, with Taylor going through another outdoors

role. The 1946 success of Courage of Lassie led to another contract

drawn up for Taylor earning her $750 per week, her mother $250,

as well as a $1,500 bonus. Her roles as Mary Skinner in a loan-out

to Warner Brothers’ Life With Father (1947), Cynthia Bishop in Cynthia (1947),

Carol Pringle in A Date with Judy (1948) and Susan Prackett in

Julia Misbehaves (1948) all proved to be successful.

Her reputation as a bankable adolescent star and nickname of “One-Shot Liz”

(referring to her ability to shoot a scene in one take) promised her a full and bright career

with Metro. Taylor’s portrayal as Amy, in the American classic Little Women (1949) would prove to

be her last adolescent role. In October 1948, she sailed aboard the RMS Queen Mary

travelling to England where she would begin filming on Conspirator, in

which she would play her first adult role.

Unlike other child actors, Taylor easily transitioned to adult roles. Before

Conspirator’s 1949 release, a Time cover article called her “a jewel of

great price, a true star sapphire”, and the leader among Hollywood’s

next generation of stars such as Montgomery Clift, Kirk Douglas, and

Ava Gardner. The film failed at the box office, but 16-year-old

Taylor’s portrayal of a 21-year-old debutante who unknowingly

marries a communist spy played by 38-year-old Robert Taylor,

was praised by critics for her first adult lead in a film. Taylor’s

first picture under her new salary of $2,000 per week was

The Big Hangover (1950), both a critical and box office failure,

that paired her with screen idol Van Johnson. The picture also

failed to present Taylor with an opportunity to exhibit

her newly realized sensuality.

Her first box office success in an adult role came as Kay Banks in the romantic

comedy Father of the Bride (1950), alongside Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett.

The film spawned a sequel, Father’s Little Dividend (1951), which Taylor’s costar

Spencer Tracy summarised with “boring… boring… boring”. The film did well at the

box office but it would be Taylor’s next picture that would set the course for her career

as a dramatic actress. In late 1949, Taylor had begun filming George Stevens’

A Place In The Sun. Upon its release in 1951, Taylor was hailed for her performance as

Angela Vickers, a spoiled socialite who comes between George Eastman (Clift) and

his poor, pregnant factory-working girlfriend Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters).

The film became the pivotal performance of Taylor’s career as critics acclaimed it as a

classic, a reputation it sustained throughout the next 50 years of cinema history.

The New York Times’ A.H. Weiler wrote, “Elizabeth’s delineation of the rich and

beauteous Angela is the top effort of her career”, and the Boxoffice reviewer

unequivocally stated “Miss Taylor deserves

an Academy Award”.

Taylor became increasingly unsatisfied with the roles being offered to her

at the time. While she wanted to play the lead roles in The Barefoot Contessa

and I’ll Cry Tomorrow, MGM continued to restrict her to mindless and

somewhat forgettable films such as: a cameo as herself in Callaway Went Thataway

(1951), Love Is Better Than Ever (1952), Ivanhoe (1952),

The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) and Beau Brummel (1954). She had

wanted to play the role of Lady Rowena in Ivanhoe, but the part was given to

Joan Fontaine. Taylor was given the role of Rebecca. When Taylor

became pregnant with her first child, MGM forced her through

The Girl Who Had Everything (even adding two hours to her daily

work schedule) so as to get one more film out of her before she

became too heavily pregnant.

Taylor lamented that she needed the money, as she had just bought

a new house with second husband Michael Wilding and with a child on the way things

would be pretty tight. Taylor had been forced by her pregnancy to turn down Elephant Walk

(1954), though the role had been designed for her. Vivien Leigh, almost two decades Taylor’s

senior, but to whom Taylor bore a striking resemblance, got the part and went to Ceylon to

shoot on location. Leigh suffered a nervous breakdown during filming, and Taylor reclaimed the role

after the birth of her child Michael Wilding, Jr. in January 1953.

portrayed Louise Durant, a beautiful rich girl in love with a

temperamental violinist (Vittorio Gassman) and an earnest young

pianist (John Ericson). A film critic for the New York Herald Tribune

wrote: “There is beauty in the picture all right, with Miss Taylor glowing

into the camera from every angle… but the dramatic pretenses are

weak, despite the lofty sentences and handsome manikin poses.”

Taylor’s fourth period picture, Beau Brummell, made just after

Elephant Walk and Rhapsody, cast her as the elaborately costumed Lady Patricia,

which many felt was only a screen prop—a ravishing beauty whose sole purpose was to

lend romantic support to the film’s title star, Stewart Granger. The Last Time I Saw Paris

(1954) fared only slightly better than her previous pictures, with Taylor being reunited

with The Big Hangover costar Van Johnson. The role of Helen Ellsworth Willis was based on

that of Zelda Fitzgerald and, although pregnant with her second child, Taylor went ahead with the

film, her fourth in twelve months. Although proving somewhat successful

at the box office, she still yearned for meatier roles.

Following a more substantial role opposite Rock Hudson and

James Dean in George Stevens’ epic Giant (1956), Taylor was

nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress four years in

a row for Raintree County (1957) opposite Montgomery Clift;

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)  opposite Paul Newman;

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) with Montgomery Clift,

Katharine Hepburn and Mercedes McCambridge; and finally

winning for BUtterfield 8 (1960), which co-starred then husband Eddie Fisher.

In 1960, Taylor became the highest paid actress up to that time when she

signed a one million dollar contract to play the title role in 20th Century Fox’s

lavish production of Cleopatra,[14] which would eventually be released in 1963.

During the filming, she began a romance with her future husband Richard Burton, who

played Mark Antony in the film. The romance received much attention from the tabloid

press, as both were married to other spouses at the time. By working overtime,

Taylor received more than $2 million for her role.

Her second Academy Award, also for Best Actress in a Leading Role,

was for her performance as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966),

playing opposite then husband Richard Burton. Taylor and Burton would

appear together in six other films during the decade –

The V.I.P.s (1963), The Sandpiper (1965), The Taming of the Shrew (1967),

Doctor Faustus (1967), The Comedians {1967} and Boom! (1968).

Taylor appeared in John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)

opposite Marlon Brando (replacing Montgomery Clift who died before

production began) and Secret Ceremony (1968) opposite Mia Farrow.

However, by the end of the decade her box-office drawing power

had considerably diminished, as evidenced by the failure of

The Only Game in Town (1970), with Warren Beatty.

Taylor continued to star in numerous theatrical films throughout the 1970s, such

as Zee and Co. (1972) with Michael Caine, Ash Wednesday (1973), The Blue Bird (1976)

with Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner, and A Little Night Music (1977). With then-husband

Richard Burton, she co-starred in the 1972 films Under Milk Wood and Hammersmith Is Out,

and the 1973 made-for-TV movie Divorce His, Divorce Hers. A chain smoker from an early age,

Taylor feared she had lung cancer in October 1975 after an X-ray showed spots on her lungs;

however, she was later found not to have the disease.

Taylor starred in the 1980 mystery film The Mirror Crack’d, based

on an Agatha Christie novel. In 1985, she played movie gossip columnist

Louella Parsons in the TV film Malice in Wonderland opposite

Jane Alexander, who played Hedda Hopper. Taylor appeared in the

miniseries North and South. Her last theatrical film was 1994’s The Flintstones.

In 2001, she played an agent in the TV film These Old Broads. She appeared on a

number of television series, including the soap operas General Hospital and

All My Children, as well as the animated series The Simpsons—once as herself,

and once as the voice of Maggie Simpson, uttering one word “Daddy”.

Taylor also acted on the stage, making her Broadway and West End debuts in 1982

with a revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. She was then in a production

of Noel Coward’s Private Lives (1983), in which she starred with her former husband,

Richard Burton. The student-run Burton Taylor Theatre in Oxford was named for the

famous couple after Burton appeared as Doctor Faustus in the Oxford University

Dramatic Society (OUDS) production of the Marlowe play. Taylor played the ghostly,

wordless Helen of Troy, who is entreated by Faustus to “make [him]

immortal with a kiss”. In the 1980s, she received

treatment for alcoholism.

In March 2003 Taylor declined to attend the 75th Annual Academy

Awards, due to her opposition to the Iraq war. She publicly condemned

then US President George W. Bush for calling on Saddam Hussein to leave

Iraq, and said she feared the conflict would lead to “World War III”.

Taylor is known to have smoked cigarettes into her mid-fifties.

In November 2004, she announced that she had been diagnosed with

congestive heart failure, a progressive condition in which the

heart is too weak to pump sufficient blood throughout the

body, particularly to the lower extremities: the ankles and feet.

She broke her back five times, had both her hips replaced, survived

a benign brain tumor operation and skin cancer, and faced life-

threatening bouts with pneumonia twice, one of which (1961),

resulted in an emergency tracheotomy. Towards the end of her

life she was reclusive and sometimes failed to make scheduled

appearances due to illness or other personal reasons. She used a

wheelchair and when asked about it stated that she had osteoporosis

and was born with scoliosis.

In 2005, Taylor was a vocal supporter of her friend Michael Jackson in his trial

in California on charges of sexually abusing a child.[26][27] He was eventually acquitted when

the prosecution collapsed due to a lack of concrete evidence. On 30 May 2006,

Taylor appeared on Larry King Live to refute the claims that she had been ill,

and denied the allegations that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease

and was close to death.

In late August 2006, Taylor decided to take a boating trip to

help prove that she was not close to death. She also decided to

make Christie’s auction house the primary place for selling her

jewelry, art, clothing, furniture and memorabilia.[29] Six months later,

the February 2007 issue of Interview magazine was devoted entirely

to Taylor. It celebrated her life, career and her upcoming 75th birthday.

On 5 December 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California

First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Taylor into the California Hall of Fame,

located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.

Taylor was in the news in 2007 for a rumored ninth marriage to her companion

Jason Winters, which she dismissed as a rumour. However, she was quoted

as saying, “Jason Winters is one of the most wonderful men I’ve ever known and

that’s why I love him. He bought us the most beautiful house in Hawaii and we visit

it as often as possible,” to gossip columnist Liz Smith. Winters accompanied

Taylor to Macy’s Passport HIV/AIDS 2007 gala, where Taylor was honoured with

a humanitarian award. In 2008, Taylor and Winters were spotted celebrating the

4th of July on a yacht in Santa Monica, California. The couple attended the Macy’s

Passport HIV/AIDS gala again in 2008.

On December 1, 2007, Taylor acted on-stage again, appearing

opposite James Earl Jones in a benefit performance of the

A. R. Gurney play Love Letters. The event’s goal was to raise

$1 million for Taylor’s AIDS foundation. Tickets for the show

were priced at $2,500, and more than 500 people attended.

The event happened to coincide with the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike

and, rather than cross the picket line, Taylor requested a “one night dispensation.

” The Writers Guild agreed not to picket the Paramount Pictures lot

that night to allow for the performance.

Taylor had a passion for jewelry. She was a client of well-known jewelry

designer Shlomo Moussaieff. Over the years she owned a number of well-known

pieces, two of the most talked-about being the 33.19-carat (6.64 g) Krupp

Diamond and the 69.42-carat (13.88 g) pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond, which

were among many gifts from husband Richard Burton. Taylor also owned the 50-carat (10 g)

La Peregrina Pearl, purchased by Burton as a Valentine’s Day present in 1969. The pearl

was formerly owned by Mary I of England, and Burton sought a portrait of Queen Mary

wearing the pearl. Upon the purchase of such a painting, the Burtons discovered that the

British National Portrait Gallery did not have an original painting of Mary, so they

donated the painting to the Gallery. Her enduring collection of jewelry has been

documented in her book My Love Affair with Jewelry (2002) with photographs by

the New York photographer John Bigelow Taylor (no relation).

Taylor started designing jewels for The Elizabeth Collection, creating

fine jewelry with elegance and flair. The Elizabeth Taylor collection by

Piranesi is sold at Christie’s. She also launched three perfumes, “Passion”,

“White Diamonds”, and “Black Pearls”, which, together, earn an estimated

US$200 million in annual sales. In fall 2006, Taylor celebrated the 15th

anniversary of her White Diamonds perfume, one of the top 10 best selling

fragrances for more than the past decade.

Taylor devoted much time and energy to AIDS-related charities and

fundraising. She helped start the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)

after the death of her former costar and friend, Rock Hudson. She also created

her own AIDS foundation, the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation (ETAF). By 1999,

she had helped to raise an estimated US$50 million to fight the disease. In 2006,

Taylor commissioned a 37-foot (11 m) “Care Van” equipped with examination tables

and X Ray equipment and also donated US$40,000 to the New Orleans Aids task force, a

charity designed for the New Orleans population with AIDS and HIV. The donation of the

van was made by the Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation and Macy’s.

In the early 1980s, Taylor moved to Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, which was her

residence until her death. She also owned homes in Palm

Springs, London and Hawaii.

Taylor was a supporter of Kabbalah and member of the

Kabbalah Centre. She encouraged long-time friend Michael Jackson

to wear a red string as protection from the evil-eye during his 2005

trial for molestation, where he was eventually cleared of all charges. On

6 October 1991, Taylor had married construction worker Larry Fortensky

at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.[38] In 1997, Jackson presented Taylor

with the exclusively written-for-her epic song “Elizabeth, I Love

You”, performed on the day of her 65th birthday celebration.

In October 2007, Taylor won a legal battle, over a Van Gogh painting

in her possession, View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint Remy. The

United States Supreme Court refused to reconsider a legal suit filed by four persons

claiming that the artwork belonged to one of their Jewish ancestors,

regardless of any statute of limitations. Taylor attended Michael Jackson’s

-private funeral on 3 September 2009.

Marriages

Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands:

  • Conrad “Nicky” Hilton (May 6, 1950 – January 29, 1951) (divorced)
  • Michael Wilding (February 21, 1952 – January 26, 1957) (divorced)
  • Michael Todd (February 2, 1957 – March 22, 1958) (widowed)
  • Eddie Fisher (May 12, 1959 – March 6, 1964) (divorced)
  • Richard Burton (March 15, 1964 – June 26, 1974) (divorced)
  • Richard Burton (October 10, 1975 – July 29, 1976) (divorced)
  • John Warner (December 4, 1976 – November 7, 1982) (divorced)
  • Larry Fortensky (October 6, 1991 – October 31, 1996) (divorced)

Burton and Taylor remarried 16 months after their first divorce, in a mud hut in Botswana. He disagreed with others about her’s famed beauty, saying that calling Taylor “the most beautiful woman in the world is absolute nonsense. She has wonderful eyes, but she has a double chin and an overdeveloped chest, and she’s rather short in the leg.

Taylor converted from Christian Science to Judaism, between her marriages to Todd and Fisher.

Children

With Wilding (two sons):

  • Michael Howard Wilding (born 1953)
  • Christopher Edward Wilding (born 1955)

With Todd (one daughter):

  • Elizabeth Frances “Liza” Todd (born 1957)

With Burton (one daughter):

  • Maria Burton (born 1961; adopted 1964)

In 1971, Taylor became a grandmother at the age of 39. At the time of her death she was survived by her four children, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Taylor dealt with many serious health problems during her life, and many

times newspaper headlines announced that she was close to death. In 2004 it

was announced that she was suffering from congestive heart failure, and in 2009 she

underwent cardiac surgery to replace a leaky valve. In February 2011, new

symptoms related to congestive heart failure caused her to be admitted into

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment.

Taylor won two Academy Awards for Best Actress (for her

performance in Butterfield 8 in 1960, and for Who’s Afraid of

Virginia Woolf in 1966). She joined a select list of two-time Academy

Award winning Best Actress winners which includes Luise Rainer,

Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Glenda

Jackson, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Jodie Foster, and Hillary Swank.

Additionally, she was awarded the Jean Herscholt Humanitarian

Academy Award in 1992 for her work fighting AIDS. In 1999, Taylor

was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Taylor died on March 23, 2011, surrounded by her four

children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles,

California, at the age of 79.


L’Histoire de Mode~Corset

 

Click picture for 18th Century Corset Pattern

A corset is a garment worn to hold and shape the torso into a

desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration

of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect). Both men and women are

known to wear corsets, though women are more common wearers.

In recent years, the term “corset” has also been borrowed by the fashion

industry to refer to tops which, to varying degrees, mimic the look of

traditional corsets without actually acting as one. While these modern

corsets and corset tops often feature lacing and/or boning and generally

mimic a historical style of corsets, they have very little if any effect

on the shape of the wearer’s body. Genuine corsets are usually made by

a corsetmaker and should be fitted to the individual wearer.

The word corset is derived from the Old French word corps, the diminutive of

body, which itself derives from corpus – Latin for body. The craft of corset construction

is known as corsetry, as is the general wearing of them. (The word corsetry is

sometimes also used as a collective plural form of corset.) Someone who makes

corsets is a corsetier or corsetière (French terms for a man and for a woman,

respectively), or sometimes simply a corsetmaker. The word corset came into general

use in the English language in 1785. The word was used in The Ladies Magazine

to describe a “quilted waistcoat” called un corset by the French. The word was used

to differentiate the lighter corset from the heavier stays of the period.

Fashion

The most common and well-known use of corsets is to slim the

body and make it conform to a fashionable silhouette. For women

this most frequently emphasizes a curvy figure, by reducing

the waist, and thereby exaggerating the bust and hips. However,

in some periods, corsets have been worn to achieve a tubular

straight-up-and-down shape, which involves minimizing the bust and hips.

For men, corsets are more customarily used to slim the figure. However,

there was a period from around 1820 to 1835 when a wasp-waisted figure

(a small, nipped-in look to the waist) was also desirable for men; this

was sometimes achieved by wearing a corset.

An overbust corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms

to the hips. An underbust corset begins just under the breasts and extends down

to the hips. Some corsets extend over the hips and, in very rare instances, reach the knees.

A shorter kind of corset, which covers the waist area (from low on the ribs to just

above the hips), is called a waist cincher. A corset may also include garters to hold up

stockings (alternatively a separate garter belt may be worn for that).

Normally a corset supports the visible dress, and

spreads the pressure from large dresses, such as the

crinoline and bustle. Sometimes a corset cover is used to

protect outer clothes from the corset and to smooth the lines

of the corset. The original corset cover was worn under the

corset to provide a layer between it and the body. Corsets

were not worn next to the skin, possibly due to difficulties

with laundering these items during the 19th century, as they

had steel boning and metal eyelets which would rust. The

corset cover would be in the form of a light chemise,

made from cotton lawn or silk.

Medical

People with spinal problems such as scoliosis or with internal injuries may be fitted

with a form of corset in order to immobilize and protect the torso. Andy Warhol was shot

in 1968 and never fully recovered, and wore a corset for the rest of his life.

Fetish

Aside from fashion and medical uses, corsets are also used

in sexual fetishism, most notably in BDSM activities. In BDSM, a

submissive can be forced to wear a corset which would be laced

very tight and give some degree of restriction to the wearer. A dominant

can also wear a corset, often black, but for entirely different reasons,

such as aesthetics, and to achieve a severe, armored, “unbending”,

commanding appearance. A very common fetish costume for

women is the dominatrix costume. Usually it consists of mostly

dark or even black clothing. The woman usually wears a corset or

bustier and stockings with high-heeled footwear. High boots

are quite common as they enhance the woman’s domination.

Women in dominatrix costumes usually carry an accessory such

as a whip or a riding crop. A specially designed corset, in which

the breasts and vulva are left exposed can be worn during.

vanilla sex or BDSM activities.

Corsets are typically constructed of a flexible material (like cloth,

particularly coutil, or leather) stiffened with boning (also called ribs or stays) inserted

into channels in the cloth or leather. In the 19th century, bones of elephant, moose,

and whale were favored for the boning. Plastic is now the most commonly

used material for lightweight corsets and the majority of poor quality corsets,

whereas spring or spiral steel is preferred for stronger corsets and generally the

better quality corset too. Other materials used for boning include ivory, wood,

and cane. (By contrast, a girdle is usually made of elasticized fabric,

without boning.)

Corsets are held together by lacing, usually (though

not always) at the back. Tightening or loosening the lacing

produces corresponding changes in the firmness of the corset.

Depending on the desired effect and time period, corsets can be

laced from the top down, from the bottom up, or both up from the

bottom and down from the top, using two laces that meet in the

middle. It is difficult—although not impossible—for a back-laced

corset-wearer to do his or her own lacing. In the Victorian

heyday of corsets, a well-to-do woman’s corset laces would

be tightened by her maid, and a gentleman’s by his valet.

However, Victorian corsets also had a buttoned or

hooked front opening called a busk. If the corset was

worn loosely, it was possible to leave the lacing as

adjusted and take the corset on and off using the front

opening (if the corset is worn snugly, this method will

damage the busk if the lacing is not significantly

loosened beforehand). Self-lacing is also almost impossible

with tightlacing, which strives for the utmost possible reduction

of the waist. Modern tightlacers, lacking servants,

are usually laced by spouses and partners.

By wearing a tightly-laced corset for extended periods, known

as tightlacing, men and women can learn to tolerate extreme waist constriction

and eventually reduce their natural waist size. Tightlacers dream of 16 inches (41 cm)

and 17 inches (43 cm) waists[citation needed], but most are satisfied with anything under

20 inches (51 cm). Some went so far that they could only breathe with the top part of their

lungs. This caused the bottom part of their lungs to fill with mucus, symtoms of this

include a slight but persistant cough and heavy breathing causing a heaving

appearance of the bosom. Until 1998, the Guinness Book of World Records

listed Ethel Granger as having the smallest waist on record at 13 inches (33 cm).

After 1998, the category changed to “smallest waist on a living person”

and Cathie Jung took the title with a 15 inches (38 cm) waist. Other women,

such as Polaire, also have achieved such reductions

(14 inches (36 cm) in her case).

However, these are extreme cases. Corsets were and are still usually

designed for support, with freedom of body movement, an important

consideration in their design. Present day corset-wearers usually tighten

the corset just enough to reduce their waists by 2 inches (5.1 cm) to

4 inches (10 cm); it is very difficult for a slender woman to achieve

as much as 6 inches (15 cm), although larger women can do so more easily.

In the past, a woman’s corset was usually worn over a chemise, a sleeveless

low-necked gown made of washable material (usually cotton or linen). It absorbed

perspiration and kept the corset and the gown clean. In modern times, an

undershirt or corset liner may be worn.

Moderate lacing is not incompatible with vigorous activity.

Indeed, during the second half of the 19th century, when corset

wearing was common, there were sport corsets specifically designed

to wear while bicycling, playing tennis, or horseback riding,

as well as for maternity wear.

The corset has been erroneously attributed to Catherine de’ Medici, wife

of King Henry II of France. She enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance

during the 1550s. For nearly 350 years, women’s primary means of support was

the corset, with laces and stays made of whalebone or metal. Other

researchers have found evidence of the

use of corsets in early Crete.

The corset has undergone many changes. The corset was

originally known as stays in the early 16th century. It was a

simple bodice with tabs at the waist, stiffened by horn, buckram,

and whalebone. The center front was further reinforced by a busk

made of ivory, wood, or metal. It was most often laced from

the back, and was, at first, a garment reserved for the aristocracy.

Stays took a different form in the 18th century, whalebone began to be

used more, and there was more boning used in the garment. The shape of the

stays changed as well. The stays were low and wide in the front, while in the

back they could reach as high as the upper shoulder. Stays could be strapless
or use shoulder straps. The straps of the stays were attached in

the back and tied at the front sides.

The purpose of 18th century stays was to support the bust, confer

the fashionable conical shape while drawing the shoulders back. At this

time, the eyelets were reinforced with stitches, and were not placed

across from one another, but staggered. This allowed the stays to be

spiral laced. One end of the stay lace is inserted and knotted in the

bottom eyelet, the other end is wound through the stays’ eyelets

and tightened on the top. Tight-lacing was not common in this

time period, and indulged in only by the very fashionable.

Stays were worn by women in all societal levels, from

ladies of the court to street vendors. At this time, there

were two other variants of stays, jumps, which were

looser stays with attached sleeves, like

a jacket, and corsets.

Corsets were originally quilted waistcoats, worn by French women

as an alternative to stiff corsets. They were only quilted linen, laced in the

front, and un-boned. This garment was meant to be worn on informal occasions,

while stays were worn for court dress. In the 1790s, stays fell out of fashion. This

development coincided with the French Revolution, and the adoption of neoclassical

styles of dress. Interestingly, it was the men, Dandies, who began to wear corsets.

The fashion persisted thorough the 1840s, though after 1850 men who wore corsets

claimed they needed them for “back pain”.

Stays went away in the late 18th century, but the corset remained.

Corsets in the early 19th century lengthened to the hip, the lower

tabs replaced by gussets at the hip. Room was made for the bust in

front with more gussets, and the back lowered. The shoulder straps

disappeared in the 1840s for normal wear.

In the 1820s, fashion changed again, with the waistline lowered back to

almost the natural position. Corsets began to be made with some

padding and boning. Corsets began to be worn by all classes of society.

Some women made their own, while others bought their corsets. Corsets

were one of the first mass produced garments for women. Corsets began to

be more heavily boned in the 1840s. By 1850, steel

boning became popular.

With the advent of metal eyelets, tight lacing became possible.

The position of the eyelets changed, they were now situated across

from one another at the back. The front was now fastened with a metal

busk in front. Corsets were mostly white. The corsets of the 1850s-1860s

were shorter than the corsets of the 19th century through 1840s. This

was because of a change in the silhouette of women’s fashion.

The 1850s and 60s emphasized the hoopskirt. After the 1860s,

when the hoop fell out of style, the corset became longer to

mold the abdomen, exposed by the new lines of the

princess or cuirass style.

During the Edwardian period, the straight front corset (also known as

the S-Curve corset) was introduced. This corset was straight in front, with a

pronounced curve at the back that forced the upper body forward, and

the derrière out. This style was worn from 1900-1908.

The corset reached its longest length in the early 20th century.

The longline corset at first reached from the bust down to the

upper thigh. There was also a style of longline corset that started

under the bust, and necessitated the wearing of a brassiere.

This style was meant to complement the new silhouette.

It was a boneless style, much closer to a modern

girdle than the traditional corset. The longline

style was abandoned during World War I.

The corset fell from fashion in the 1920s in Europe and North America,

replaced by girdles and elastic brassieres, but survived as an article of costume.

Originally an item of lingerie, the corset has become a popular item of outerwear in

the fetish, BDSM and goth subcultures. In the fetish and BDSM literature, there is often

much emphasis on tightlacing, and many corset

makers cater to the fetish market.

Outside the fetish community, living history re-enactors

and historic costume enthusiasts still wear corsets

according to their original purpose, to give the proper

shape to the figure when wearing historic fashions.

In this case, the corset is underwear rather than

outerwear. Skilled corset makers are available to

make reproductions of historic corset shapes,

or to design new styles.

There was a brief revival of the corset in the late 1940s and early

1950s, in the form of the waist cincher sometimes called a “waspie”. This

was used to give the hourglass figure dictated by Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’.

However, use of the waist cincher was restricted to haute couture, and mos

t women continued to use girdles. This revival was brief, as the New Look

gave way to a less dramatically-shaped silhouette.

Since the late 1980s, the corset has experienced periodic

revivals, which have usually originated in haute couture and

which have occasionally trickled through to mainstream fashion.

These revivals focus on the corset as an item of outerwear

rather than underwear. The strongest of these revivals

was seen in the Autumn 2001 fashion collections and

coincided with the release of the film Moulin Rouge!, the costumes

for which featured many corsets as characteristic of the era. Another

fashion movement which has renewed interest in the corset is the

“Steampunk” culture, which utilizes late-Victorian fashion

shapes in new ways. The look was popularized by the

costumes in the film “The Golden Compass.”


L’Histiore de Mode: Nouvelle Mode~Fabrican

 

 

In 2000 Fabrican patented an instant, sprayable, non-woven fabric.

Developed through a collaboration between Imperial College London and the

Royal College of Art, Fabrican technology has captured the imagination of designers,

industry and the public around the world. The technology has been developed for use

in household, industrial, personal and healthcare, decorative and fashion applications

using aerosol cans or spray-guns, and will soon be found in

products available everywhere.

The original idea of spray-on fabric came from Manel Torres’

work in the fashion industry.  These photos capture the essence

of science and fashion in collaboration. Fabrican spray-on fabric

will liberate designers to create new and unique garments, offer a

carrier technology for delivery of fragrance or even medical active

substances, and allow the wearer to personalise their wardrobe

in infinite combinations. New textures and material characteristics are

a matter of adjusting chemistry. In addition to fashion, the technology is

opening new vistas, offering sprayable material for any application requiring a

fabric coating.  The technology opens new vistas for personalised fashion,

allowing individual touches to be added to manufactured garments, or even impromptu

alterations. Garments could incorporate fragrances, active substances,

or conductive materials to interface with information technolgy.

After a decade of research, this futuristic

vision is taking shape.

Fabrican is a rare achievement in transforming a dream to practical realisation.

Through combination of clever exploitation of people’s immediate fascination with

the spray-on fabric, and Manel’s extraordinary ability to motivate multi-disciplinary

collaboration, Fabrican has brought interest and worldwide

media coverage.

  • 1995 – 1997 Manel Torres conceives the idea for Spray-on Fabric whilst studying for his MA in Fashion Women’s Wear, Royal College of Art, London.
  • 1998 – 2001 Manel Torres obtains his PhD for Spray-on Fabric at the Royal College of Art and has a patent filed for this technology. During his PhD research, his work was supervised by Dr Susannah Handley (Royal College of Art) and Professor Paul Luckham (Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London).
  • 2003 Manel Torres establishes Fabrican Ltd. with Professor Paul Luckham.
Dr Manel Torres BA (Hons), MA (RCA), Ph.D (RCA), is the managing director of Fabrican Ltd., which was established in
February 2003. The company has its R&D facilities at Imperial College London. Its research involves crossing interrelating disciplines of science and design.

Aware of the slow process of constructing garments, Manel investigated novel ways to speed up this process. Manel’s foresight and vision led him to think of developing a material that would almost magically fit the body like a second skin and at the same time have the appearance of clothing.

The original concept was to utilise Spray-on Fabric in the fashion industry. However, the technology has the potential to revolutionise and enhance numerous market areas.

Fabrican is focused on the research and development of Spray-on Fabric which can then be used across a number of market sectors. Fabrican’s mission is to develop prototype products, in collaboration with leading industrial partners, leading to commercial exploitation by the partner.

Our technology can be used across many industries, positively impacting the lives of millions of people as well as the environment.

From Spray-on clothes, to Spray-on medicine patches, to Spray-on hygiene wipes, to Spray-on air fresheners (plus many more uses!), Fabrican is developing products with real benefits.

Fabrican Ltd. is a company exploiting inter-disciplinary research which links the subjects of science and design.

Our team is dedicated to meeting the needs of consumers with creative ideas and innovative products, through the development of new applications for Spray-on Fabric technology.

Our novel concepts are enlightening major worldwide manufacturers as to the huge potential which exists, through the successful branding of a product range.

Our underlying ethos is to produce concept products which are market leaders, through scientific research and development for future markets.

Fabrican in Action

In the science lab

On the Runway

Couture in a Can

 

I still can’t tell yet if it would be a good investment as a designer or a huge waste of money, time, & effort. LoL Who wears that out? Gaga? That’s it?!?


L’Histoire de Mode~Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

File:TriangleTradeParade.jpg

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on

March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the

history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest

loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire

caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died

from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were

recent immigrant Jewish women aged sixteen to twenty-three.

Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the

managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from

the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved

factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union,

which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was

located in the Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building of Science, a New York University facility.

It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and

a New York City landmark.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors

of the Asch Building. Under the ownership of Max Blanck and Isaac Harris,

the factory produced women’s blouses, known as “shirtwaists.” The factory normally

employed about 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women, who worked nine

hours a day on weekdays plus seven hours on Saturdays.

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 25, 1911, as the workday was ending, a fire

flared up in a scrap bin under one of the cutters’ tables on the eighth floor.Both owners of the

factory were in attendance and had invited their children to the factory on that afternoon.

The Fire Marshal concluded that the likely cause of the fire was the disposal of an

unextinguished match or cigarette butt in the scrap bin. Although smoking was banned in the

factory, cutters were known to sneak cigarettes, exhaling the smoke through their lapels

to avoid detection. A New York Times article suggested that the fire may have been

started by the engines running the sewing machines, while The Insurance Monitor, a leading

industry journal, suggested that the epidemic of fires among shirtwaist manufacturers

was “fairly saturated with moral hazard.” No one suggested arson.

A bookkeeper on the eighth floor was able to warn employees on the

tenth floor via telephone, but there was no audible alarm and no way

to contact staff on the ninth floor. According to survivor

Yetta Lubitz, the first warning of the fire on the ninth

floor arrived at the same time as the fire itself.

The floor had a number of exits – two freight elevators, a

fire escape, and stairways down to Greene Street and

Washington Square – but flames prevented workers from

descending the Greene Street stairway and the door to the Washington Square

stairway was locked to prevent theft and the foreman who held the

key had escaped by another route.

Dozens of employees escaped the fire by going up the Greene Street

stairway to the roof. Other survivors were able to jam themselves into the elevators

while they continued to operate. Within three minutes, the Greene Street stairway

became unusable in both directions. Terrified employees crowded

onto the single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly-anchored iron structure

which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the

heat and overload, spilling victims to their deaths onto the concrete pavement

nearly a hundred feet below. Elevator operators Joseph Zito

and Gaspar Mortillalo saved many lives by traveling three times up

to the ninth floor for passengers, but Mortillalo was eventually forced

to give up when the rails of his elevator buckled under the heat. Some victims pried

the elevator doors open and jumped down the empty shaft. The weight of these

bodies made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt.

As a large crowd of bystanders gathered on the street, sixty-two people

died by jumping or falling from the ninth floor. Louis Waldman, later a

New York Socialist state assemblyman, described the scene years later:

One Saturday afternoon in March of that year — March 25, to be precise — I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library… It was a raw, unpleasant day and the comfortable reading room seemed a delightful place to spend the remaining few hours until the library closed. I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines. Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire. A few blocks away, the Asch Building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was ablaze. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.

Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.

The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.

The remainder waited until smoke and fire overcame them. The fire

department arrived quickly but was unable to stop the flames,

as there were no ladders available that could reach beyond

the sixth floor. The fallen bodies and falling victims also

made it difficult for the fire department

to reach the building. Bodies of the

victims being placed in coffins

on the sidewalk.

Although early references of the death toll ranged from 141 to 148, almost all modern

references agree that 146 people died as a result of the fire. Six victims remained

unidentified until 2011. Most victims died of burns, asphyxiation,

blunt impact injuries, or a combination of the three. Almost thirty

of the victims were men. The first person to jump was a man, and another man

was seen kissing a young woman at the window before they

both jumped to their deaths.

Twenty-two victims of the fire were buried by the

Hebrew Free Burial Association in a special section at Mount

Richmond Cemetery. In some instances, their tombstones refer to the fire.

Another six victims were buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in

Brooklyn. Originally interred elsewhere on the grounds, their

remains now lie underneath a monument to the tragedy,

a large marble slab featuring a kneeling woman.

Six of those victims were identified in February 2011.

The company’s owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, had fled to the building’s roof

when the fire began and survived. They were later put on trial, at which Max Steuer, counsel for

the defendants, managed to destroy the credibility of one of the survivors, Kate Alterman,

by asking her to repeat her testimony a number of times — which she did without altering

key phrases that Steuer believed were perfected before trial. Steuer argued to the jury that

Alterman and probably other witnesses had memorized their statements and might even

have been told what to say by the prosecutors. The defense also stressed that the

prosecution had failed to prove that the owners knew the exit doors were locked at the

time in question. The jury acquitted the owners. However, they lost a subsequent

civil suit in 1913 and plaintiffs won compensation in the amount of $75 per

deceased victim. The insurance company paid Blanck and Harris about

$60,000 more than the reported losses, or about $400 per casualty. In 1913, Blanck

was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory

during working hours. He was fined $20.

Rose Schneiderman, a prominent socialist and union activist, gave a
speech at the memorial meeting held in the Metropolitan Opera House
on April 2, 1911, to an audience largely made up of the members of the
Women’s Trade Union League. She used the fire as an argument
for factory workers to organize and not rely on the “good people
of the public….We have tried you citizens; we are trying you now,
and you have a couple of dollars for the sorrowing mothers,
brothers and sisters by way of a charity gift. But every time the
workers come out in the only way they know to protest against
conditions which are unbearable the strong hand of the law is
allowed to press down heavily upon us….I know from my
experience it is up to the working people to save themselves.
The only way they can save themselves is by a strong
working-class movement.”

Films

  • American Experience: Triangle Fire (2011), documentary produced and directed by Jamila Wignot, narrated by Michael Murphy
  • The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979), directed by Mel Stuart, produced by Mel Brez and Ethel Brez
  • Those Who Know Don’t Tell: The Ongoing Battle for Workers’ Health (1990), produced by Abby Ginzberg, narrated by Studs Terkel
  • With These Hands (1950), directed by Jack Arnold

L’Histoire de Mode~Crochet

Crochet

Crochet (pronounced /kroʊˈʃeɪ/) is a process of creating fabric from yarn using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the French word “crochet”, meaning hook. Crocheting, similar to knitting, consists of pulling loops of yarn through other loops. Crochet differs from knitting in that only one loop is active at one time (the sole exception being Tunisian crochet), and that a single crochet hook is used instead of two knitting needles.

Lis Paludan theorizes that crochet evolved from traditional practices

in Arabia, South America, or China, but there is no decisive evidence of the

craft being performed before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century

The earliest written reference to crochet refers to shepherd’s knitting from

The Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant in the 19th century.

The first published crochet patterns appeared in the Dutch magazine Pénélopé in

1824. Other indicators that crochet was new in the 19th century include the

1847 publication A Winter’s Gift, which provides detailed instructions for

performing crochet stitches, although it presumes that readers

understand the basics of other needlecrafts. Early references to

the craft in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1846 and 1847

refer to crotchet before the

spelling standardized

in 1848.

Knit and knotted textiles survive from very early periods,

but there are no surviving samples of crocheted fabric in

any ethnological collection, or archeological source prior to

1800. These writers point to the tambour hooks used in

tambour embroidery in France in the 18th century, and

contend that the hooking of loops through fine fabric in tambour

work evolved into “crochet in the air.” Most samples of early work

claimed to be crochet turn out to actually be samples of nålebinding.

Donna Kooler identifies a problem with the tambour hypothesis:

period tambour hooks that survive in modern collections cannot

produce crochet because the integral wing nut necessary for tambour

work interferes with attempts at crochet. Kooler proposes that early

industrialization is key to the development of crochet. Machine spun

cotton thread became widely available and inexpensive in Europe and

North America after the invention of the cotton gin and the spinning jenny,

displacing hand spun linen for many uses. Crochet technique consumes

more thread than comparable textile production methods

and cotton is well suited to crochet.

Early crochet hooks ranged from primitive bent needles in a

cork handle, used by poor Irish lace workers, to expensively crafted

silver, brass, steel, ivory and bone hooks set into a variety of handles, some of which

were better designed to show off a lady’s hands than they were to work with thread.

By the early 1840s, instructions for crochet were being published

in England, particularly by Eleanor Riego de la Blanchardiere and Frances Lambert.

These early patterns called for cotton and linen thread for lace,

and wool yarn for clothing,

often in vivid color combinations.

In the 19th century, as Ireland was facing the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849),

crochet lace work was introduced as a form of famine relief (the production of crocheted

lace being an alternative way of making money for impoverished Irish workers).

Mademoiselle Riego de la Blanchardiere is generally credited with the

invention of Irish Crochet, publishing the first book of patterns in 1846.

Irish lace became popular in Europe and America, and was

made in quantity until the first World War.

Fashions in crochet changed with the end of the Victorian era in the 1890s.

Crocheted laces in the new Edwardian era, peaking between 1910 and 1920, became

even more elaborate in texture and complicated stitching.The strong Victorian

colours disappeared, though, and new publications called for white or pale threads,

except for fancy purses, which were often crocheted of brightly colored silk

and elaborately beaded. After World War I, far fewer crochet patterns were published,

and most of them were simplified versions of the early 20th century patterns.

After World War II, from the late 40s until the early 60s, there was a resurgence in

interest in home crafts, particularly in the United States, with many new

and imaginative crochet designs published for colorful doilies, potholders,

and other home items, along with updates of earlier publications. These patterns

called for thicker threads and yarns than in earlier patterns and included

wonderful variegated colors. The craft remained primarily a homemaker’s art

until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the new generation picked up on crochet

and popularized granny squares, a motif worked in the round and incorporating

bright colors. Although crochet underwent a subsequent decline in popularity,

the early 21st century has seen a revival of interest in handcrafts and DIY, as well

as great strides in improvement of the quality and varieties of yarn. There are many

more new pattern books with modern patterns being printed, and most yarn

stores now offer crochet lessons in addition to the traditional knitting lessons.

Filet crochet, Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, hairpin lace, cro-hooking, and

Irish crochet are all variants of the basic crochet method.

Crochet patterns have an underlying mathematical

structure and have been used to illustrate shapes

in hyperbolic geometry that are difficult to reproduce

using other media or are difficult to understand

when viewed two-dimensionally.

Materials:

Hook

The Crochet hook comes in many sizes and materials,

such as bone, bamboo, aluminum, plastic and steel.

Steel crochet hooks range from 0.4 to

3.5 millimeters in the size of the hook,

or from 00 to 16 in American sizing.

These hooks are used for fine crochet work.

Aluminum, bamboo, and plastic crochet

hooks are available from 2.5 to 19 millimeters

in hook size, or from B to S in American sizing.

There are also many artisan-made hooks,

most of hand-turned wood, sometimes

decorated with semi-precious stones or beads.

Crochet hooks used for Tunisian crochet are elongated and have a stopper at

the end of the handle, while double-ended crochet hooks have a hook on both ends

of the handle. There is also a double hooked apparatus called a Cro-hook that has become

popular. Also, a Hair-Pin Crochet Hook is often used to create lacey and long stitches.

For crocheting you will also need some type of material that will be crocheted,

which is most commonly yarn or thread.

Other equipment includes cardboard cut-outs, which can be

used to make tassels, fringe, and many other items; a pom-pom circle,

used to make pom-poms; a tape measure, a gauge measure, both

used for measuring crocheted work and counting stitches; a row counter;

and occasionally plastic rings, which are used for special projects.

Yarn

Yarn for crochet is usually sold as balls or skeins (hanks), although it may also be

wound on spools or cones. Skeins and balls are generally sold with a yarn-band, a label that describes

the yarn’s weight, length, dye lot, fiber content, washing instructions, suggested

needle size, likely gauge, etc. It is common practice to save the yarn band for future reference,

especially if additional skeins must be purchased. Crocheters generally ensure that the yarn

for a project comes from a single dye lot. The dye lot specifies a group of skeins that were

dyed together and thus have precisely the same color; skeins from different dye-lots,

even if very similar in color, are usually slightly different and may produce a

visible stripe when crocheted together. If insufficient yarn of a single dye lot

is bought to complete a project, additional skeins of the same dye lot can

sometimes be obtained from other yarn stores or online.

The thickness or weight of the yarn is a significant factor in

determining the gauge, i.e., how many stitches and rows are

required to cover a given area for a given stitch pattern. Thicker

yarns generally require thicker crocheting hooks, whereas thinner

yarns may be knit with thick or thin needles. Hence, thicker yarns

generally require fewer stitches, and therefore less time, to knit

up a given garment. Patterns and motifs are coarser with thicker

yarns; thicker yarns produce bold visual effects, whereas thinner

yarns are best for refined patterns. Yarns are grouped by thickness

into six categories: superfine, fine, light, medium, bulky and

superbulky; quantitatively, thickness is measured by the

number of wraps per inch (WPI). The related weight

per unit length is usually measured in tex or dernier.

Before use, one would typically transform a hank into a ball where the yarn

emerges from the center of the ball; this making the work easier by preventing the

yarn from becoming easily tangled. This transformation may be done

by hand, or with a device known as a ballwinder.

A yarn’s usefulness is judged by several factors, such as its loft (its ability to trap air),

its resilience (elasticity under tension), its washability and colorfastness,

its hand (its feel, particularly softness vs. scratchiness), its durability against abrasion,

its resistance to pilling, its hairiness (fuzziness), its tendency to twist or untwist, its overall

weight and drape, its blocking and felting qualities, its comfort (breathability,

moisture absorption, wicking properties) and of course its look, which includes its

color, sheen, smoothness and ornamental features. Other factors include allergenicity;

speed of drying; resistance to chemicals, moths, and mildew; melting point and

flammability; retention of static electricity; and the propensity to become stained and to

accept dyes. Different factors may be more significant than others for different projects, so

there is no one “best” yarn. The resilience and propensity to (un)twist are general

properties that affect the ease to work with.

Although crochet may be done with ribbons, metal wire or more exotic

filaments, most yarns are made by spinning fibers. In spinning,

the fibers are twisted so that the yarn resists breaking under tension;

the twisting may be done in either direction, resulting in an Z-twist

or S-twist yarn. If the fibers are first aligned by combing them, the

yarn is smoother and called a worsted; by contrast, if the fibers are

carded but not combed, the yarn is fuzzier and called woolen-spun. The

fibers making up a yarn may be continuous filament fibers such as silk and

many synthetics, or they may be staples (fibers of an average length, typically

a few inches); naturally filament fibers are sometimes cut up into staples before

spinning. The strength of the spun yarn against breaking is determined

by the amount of twist, the length of the fibers and the thickness of the

yarn. In general, yarns become stronger with more twist (also called worst),

longer fibers and thicker yarns (more fibers); for example, thinner

yarns require more twist than do thicker yarns to resist breaking

under tension. The thickness of the yarn may vary along its l

ength; a slub is a much thicker section in which a mass

of fibers is incorporated into the yarn.

The spun fibers are generally divided into animal fibers, plant and synthetic fibers.

These fiber types are chemically different, corresponding to proteins, carbohydrates and

synthetic polymers, respectively. Animal fibers include silk, but generally are l

ong hairs of animals such as sheep (wool), goat (angora, or cashmere goat), rabbit

(angora), llama, alpaca, dog, cat, camel, yak, and muskox (qiviut). Plants used for

fibers include cotton, flax (for linen), bamboo, ramie, hemp, jute, nettle, raffia, yucca,

coconut husk, banana trees, soy and corn. Rayon and acetate fibers are also produced from

cellulose mainly derived from trees. Common synthetic fibers include acrylics,[10] polyesters such

as dacron and ingeo, nylon and other polyamides, and olefins such as polypropylene. Of these types,

wool is generally favored for crochet, chiefly owing to its superior elasticity, warmth and

(sometimes) felting; however, wool is generally less convenient to clean and some people are

allergic to it. It is also common to blend different fibers in the yarn, e.g., 85% alpaca and 15%

silk. Even within a type of fiber, there can be great variety in the length and thickness of the

fibers; for example, Merino wool and Egyptian cotton are favored because they produce

exceptionally long, thin (fine) fibers for their type.

A single spun yarn may be crochet as is, or braided or plied with another.

In plying, two or more yarns are spun together, almost always in the

opposite sense from which they were spun individually; for example,

two Z-twist yarns are usually plied with an S-twist. The opposing

twist relieves some of the yarns’ tendency to curl up and produces

a thicker, balanced yarn. Plied yarns may themselves be plied together,

producing cabled yarns or multi-stranded yarns. Sometimes, the

yarns being plied are fed at different rates, so that one yarn loops

around the other, as in bouclé. The single yarns may be dyed

separately before plying, or afterwords to give the

yarn a uniform look.

The dyeing of yarns is a complex art. Yarns need not be dyed; or they may be

dyed one color, or a great variety of colors. Dyeing may be done industrially, by hand

or even hand-painted onto the yarn. A great variety of synthetic dyes have been developed

since the synthesis of indigo dye in the mid-19th century; however, natural dyes are also possible,

although they are generally less brilliant. The color-scheme of a yarn is sometimes called its colorway.

Variegated yarns can produce interesting visual effects,

such as diagonal stripes; conversely.

How it’s Done

Crocheted fabric is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook,

pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process

to create a chain of a suitable length. The chain is either turned and worked

in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in

rounds. Rounds can also be created by working many stitches into a single loop.

Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain.

At any one time at the end of a stitch, there is only one loop left on the hook.

Tunisian crochet, however, draws all of the loops for an entire row onto a long

hook before working them off one at a time.

Samples:

Free Crochet Lace Pattern, click the photo below. Something to start us off with….


L’Histoire de Mode~Kimono

click for pattern

The kimono (着物) is a Japanese traditional garment worn by women,

men and children. The word “kimono”, which literally means a “thing to wear”

(ki “wear” and mono “thing”), has come to denote these full-length robes. The

standard plural of the word kimono in English is kimonos, but the unmarked

Japanese plural kimono is also sometimes used. Kimonos are T-shaped,

straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached

collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimonos are wrapped around the body, always

with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial),

and secured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back. Kimonos are

generally worn with traditional footwear (especially zōri or geta)

and split-toe socks (tabi).

Today, kimonos are most often worn by women, and on special occasions.

Traditionally, unmarried women wore a style of kimono called furisode,

with almost floor-length sleeves, on special occasions. A few older women and even fewer men still

wear the kimono on a daily basis. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies,

and other very special or very formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often

seen in the kimono because they are required to wear

traditional Japanese dress whenever

appearing in public.

As the kimono has another name, gofuku (呉服, literally “clothes of Wu (吳)”),

the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing,

known today as hanfu (漢服, kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies

to China which resulted in extensive Chinese culture adoptions by Japan, as early

as the 5th century CE. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese

fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became

particularly a women’s fashion. During Japan’s Heian period (794–1192 CE),

the kimono became increaslingly stylized, though one still wore a half-apron,

called a mo, over it. During the Muromachi age (1392–1573 CE), the Kosode,

single kimono formerly considered underwear, began to be worn without the

hakama (trousers, divided skirt) over it, and thus began to be held closed by

an obi “belt”. During the Edo period (1603–1867 CE), the sleeves began to grow

in length, especially among unmarried women, and the Obi became wider, with

various styles of tying coming into fashion. Since then, the basic shape of

both the men’s and women’s kimono has remained essentially unchanged.

Kimonos made with exceptional skill from fine materials have

been regarded as great works of art.

The formal kimono was replaced by the more convenient Western clothes

and Yukata as everyday wear. After an edict by Emperor Meiji,police, railroad men

and teachers moved to Western clothes. The Western clothes became the army and school uniform

for boys. After the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, kimono wearers often became victims of robbery

because they could not run very fast due to the restricting nature of the kimono on the body and

geta slippers. The Tokyo Women’s & Children’s Wear Manufacturers’ Association

(東京婦人子供服組合) promoted Western clothes. Between 1920 and 1930 the sailor outfit replaced

the undivided hakama in school uniforms for girls. The 1932 fire at Shirokiya’s Nihombashi

is said to have been the catalyst for the decline in kimonos as everyday wear. Kimono-clad Japanese

women did not wear panties and several women refused to jump into safety nets because they were ashamed

of being seen from below. (It is, however, suggested, that this is an urban myth.)The national uniform,

Kokumin-fuku (国民服), a type of Western clothes, was mandated for males in 1940.Today

most people wear Western clothes and wear the cooler and more

comfortable yukata for special occasions.

Kimonos for men are available in various sizes and should fall

approximately to the ankle without tucking. A woman’s kimono

has additional length to allow for the ohashori, the tuck that can be

seen under the obi, which is used to adjust the kimono to the individual

wearer. An ideally tailored kimono has sleeves that fall to the wrist

when the arms are lowered.

Kimonos are traditionally made from a single bolt of fabric called a tan.

Tan come in standard dimensions—about 14 inches wide and 12½ yards long—and the

entire bolt is used to make one kimono. The finished kimono consists of four main strips

of fabric—two panels covering the body and two panels forming the sleeves—

with additional smaller strips forming the narrow front panels and collar.

Historically, kimonos were often taken apart for washing as separate panels

and resewn by hand. Because the entire bolt remains in the finished

garment without cutting, the kimono can be retailored

easily to fit a different person.

The maximum width of the sleeve is dictated by the width of the fabric.

The distance from the center of the spine to the end of the sleeve could not

exceed twice the width of the fabric. Traditional kimono fabric was typically

no more than 36 centimeters (14 inches) wide. Thus the distance from spine to

wrist could not exceed a maximum of roughly 68 centimeters (27 inches).

Modern kimono fabric is woven as wide as 42 centimeters (17 inches) to

accommodate modern Japanese body sizes. Very tall or heavy people,

such as sumo wrestlers, must have kimonos custom-made by either

joining multiple bolts, weaving custom-width fabric, or using

non-standard size fabric.

Traditionally, kimonos are sewn by hand, but even machine-made kimonos

require substantial hand-stitching. Kimono fabrics are also frequently hand made

and hand decorated. Various techniques such as yūzen dye resist are used for

applying decoration and patterns to the base cloth. Repeating patterns that cover a

large area of a kimono are traditionally done with the yūzen resist technique

and a stencil. Over time there have been many variations in color, fabric

and style, as well as accessories such as the obi.

The kimono and obi are traditionally made of silk, silk brocade, silk crepes

(such as chirimen) and satin weaves (such as rinzu). Modern kimonos are also

widely available in less-expensive easy-care fabrics such as rayon, cotton

sateen, cotton, polyester and other synthetic fibers. Silk is still

considered the ideal fabric.

Customarily, woven patterns and dyed repeat patterns are considered informal.

Formal kimonos have free-style designs dyed over the whole surface or along the hem.

During the Heian period, kimonos were worn with up to a dozen or more colorful contrasting layers,

with each combination of colors being a named pattern.Today, the kimono is normally worn with

a single layer on top of one or more undergarments. The pattern of the kimono can also

determine in which season it should be worn. For example, a pattern with butterflies or

cherry blossoms would be worn in spring. Watery designs are common during the summer.

A popular autumn motif is the russet leaf of the Japanese maple; for winter, designs

may include bamboo, pine trees and plum blossoms.

A popular form of textile art in Japan is shibori (intricate tie dye),

found on some of the more expensive kimonos and haori kimono jackets.

Patterns are created by minutely binding the fabric and masking off areas,

then dying it, usually done by hand. When the bindings are removed, an

undyed pattern is revealed. Shibori work can be further enhanced with

yuzen (hand applied) drawing or painting with textile dyes or with embroidery;

it is then known as tsujigahana. Shibori textiles are very time consuming to

produce and require great skill, so the textiles and garments created from

them are very expensive and highly prized.

Old kimonos are often recycled in various ways: altered to make haori, hiyoku, or

kimonos for children, used to patch similar kimono, used for making handbags and similar

kimono accessories, and used to make covers, bags or cases for various implements, especially

for sweet-picks used in tea ceremonies. Damaged kimonos can be disassembled and resewn

to hide the soiled areas, and those with damage below the waistline can be worn under a hakama.

Historically, skilled craftsmen laboriously picked the silk thread from old kimono and rewove

it into a new textile in the width of a heko obi for men’s kimono, using a

recycling weaving method called saki-ori.

Parts of a kimono

Diagram of the kimono parts
  • Dōura (胴裏) upper lining on a woman’s kimono
  • Eri (衿) collar
  • Fuki hem guard
  • Furi sleeve below the armhole
  • Maemigoro (前身頃) front main panel, excluding sleeves. Covering portion of the other side of the back, maemigoro is divided into “right maemigoro” and “left maemigoro”.
  • Miyatsukuchi opening under the sleeve
  • Okumi (衽) front inside panel situated on the front edge of the left and right, excluding the sleeve of a kimono. Until the collar, down to the bottom of the dress goes, up and down part of the strip of cloth. Have sewn the front body. It is also called “袵”
  • Sode (袖) sleeve
  • Sodeguchi (袖口) sleeve opening
  • Sodetsuke (袖付) kimono armhole
  • Susomawashi (裾回し) lower lining
  • Tamoto (袂) sleeve pouch
  • Tomoeri (共衿) over-collar (collar protector)
  • Uraeri (裏襟) inner collar
  • Ushiromigoro (後身頃) back main panel, excluding sleeves, covering the back portion. They are basically sewn back-centered and consist of “right ushiromigoro” and “left ushiromigoro”. But for wool fablic, ushiro migoro consists of 1 clothes.

Samples:

 

A traditional wedding kimono with tsunokakushi (wedding headpiece)
 

A traditional red Uchikake kimono with cranes
 

Modern styles of furisode
 

A young woman wearing a furisode kimono
 

Women dressed as maiko (apprentice geisha), wearing specially
tailored “maiko-style” furisode kimonos with tucks in sleeves and at shoulders
 

Jin-Haori – Kimono tabards for armoured Samurai
 

Couple being married in traditional dress.

L’Histoire de Mode~Athletic Shoe

Athletic shoe is a generic name for the footwear primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise but in recent years has come to be used for casual everyday activities.

They are also known as trainers (British English), sandshoes, gym boots or joggers (Australian English), running shoes, runners or gutties (Canadian English, Australian English, Hiberno-English), sneakers, tennis shoes (North American English, Australian English), gym shoes, tennies, sports shoes, sneaks, tackies(South African English and Hiberno-English), rubber shoes (Philippine English) or canvers (Nigerian English).

The idea of a “sneaker” did not come along until an American inventor, Charles Goodyear, patented the process for the vulcanization of rubber.

While many believe that the first basketball shoe was the famous Converse All Stars (developed in 1917), this is mistaken. The Spalding company produced shoes specifically for the game of basketball as early as 1907.

By the early 1900s, sneakers were being produced by small rubber companies who specialized in the production of bicycle tires. U.S. Rubber, introduced Keds in 1916, about the same time that Converse was marketing its All Star. Other companies, including B.F. Goodrich and Spalding Co., were producing tennis shoes and smaller family-owned companies were manufacturing early cleated shoes. At first, the market for sneakers was small and practically invisible, but after World War I, the U.S. turned to sports and athletes as a way to demonstrate moral fiber and patriotism. The U.S. market for sneakers grew steadily as young boys lined up to buy sneakers endorsed by football player Jim Thorpe and Converse All Stars endorsed by basketball player Chuck Taylor.

As the 1920s and 1930s approached, these companies added traction, and also started marketing them for different sports. A huge breakthrough of this time was the separation of designs for men and women. At this time, sneakers were used strictly for athletic events. When the Olympics were revived, this attracted more fans not only to sports, but to sneakers as well. In 1936, a French brand by the name of Spring Court was born as the first canvas tennis shoe featuring signature 8 ventilation channels on the vulcanized natural rubber sole.

The 1950s gave American families more leisure time, and as the baby boom started, more families chose to dress their youth in sneakers as school dress codes relaxed. Sneaker sales in the United States soared to six hundred million pairs a year in 1957, which led leather shoe makers to claim that “sneakers are bad for children’s feet” to which sneaker producers replied “sneakers cure the syndrome of Inhibited Feet.”

In the early 1960s, sneakers were imported to the United States from Japan, but accounted for only a small portion of the market until Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman began importing Tiger shoes under the name Blue Ribbon Sports.

In the 1970s, sneakers led their own way as jogging quickly became popular and so did the necessity to have a pair of shoes for the occasion. Until this time, factories had been concerned with high production, but now the companies started to market their products as a lifestyle purpose. Soon there were shoes for football, jogging, basketball, running—every sport had its own shoe. This was made possible by podiatrist development of athletic shoe technology.

By the 1980s, sneakers were everywhere; Woody Allen wore them to the ballet, Led Zeppelin wore them in their 1976 documentary, and Dustin Hoffman wore them while playing reporter Carl Bernstein in the movie All the President’s Men. The shoes originally developed for sports became the mainstay for most people. Nike and Reebok were among the market leaders. Newer brands went in and out of fashion, and sneaker companies started shelling out major endorsements to players. One of, if not the largest, endorsements was to Chicago player Michael Jordan, for a contract with Nike to make his own signature line of shoes and apparel.

During the 1990s, shoe companies perfected their fashion and marketing skills. Sports endorsements grew larger and marketing budgets went through the roof. Sneakers became a fashion statement, and definition of identity and personality rather than humble athletic aids. http://www.drpribut.com/sports/sneaker_odyssey.htmlAthletic shoes are also often worn by children to school.

Use in sports

The term athletic shoes is typically used for running in a marathon or half marathon, basketball, and tennis (amongst others) but tends to exclude shoes for sports played on grass such as association football and rugby football, which are generally known as “Studs,” or in North America as cleats.

Attributes of an athletic shoe include a flexible sole, appropriate tread for the function ability to absorb impact. As the industry and design have expanded, the term “athletic shoes” is based more on the design of the bottom of the shoe than the aesthetics of the top of the shoe. Today’s designs even include sandal, Mary Jane and even elevated styles suitable for running, dancing and jumping.

The shoes themselves are made of flexible compounds, typically featuring a sole made of dense rubber. While the original design was basic, manufacturers have since tailored athletic shoes for the different purposes that they can be used for. A specific example of this is the spiked shoe developed for track running. Many of these shoes are made up to a very large size because of athletes with large feet.

High-end marathon running shoes will often come in different shapes suited to different foot types, gait etc. Generally, these shoes are divided into neutral, overpronation and underpronation (supination) running shoes to fit the respective foot strike of the runners. As running shoes become more advanced, amateur joggers, as well as marathon runners, are beginning to purchase shoes based on their running style and foot arch. This is often important for injury prevention, as well as to increase running efficiency.

There are a variety of specialized shoes designed for specific uses:

  • Racing flats
  • Track shoe
  • Skate shoes
  • Climbing shoe
  • Approach shoe
  • Wrestling shoes
  • Cleats
  • Football boot
  • Dance Shoe

Types

  • High-tops cover the ankle.
  • Low-tops do not cover the ankle.
  • Mid-cut are in-between high-tops and low-tops.
  • Sneaker boots extend to the calf.

Sneakers

A pair of sneakers

Sneakers or canvas shoes are casual athletic shoes.

Sneaker collectors, called “Sneakerheads”, use sneakers as fashionable items. Casual sneakers like the Air Force One (Nike) or Superstar (Adidas) have become icons in today’s pop culture. Artistically-modified sneakers can sell for upwards of $500. In more recent years, the classic shoe Nike Dunk has come attention to sneakerheads. During the release of these shoes people often line up several hours before the shops while open patiently waiting to get their hands on the shoes. There artistically-modified sneakers can sell for up to $500 depending on its popularity. The opening day cost for these shoes can range from USD $60-300.

Shoe Game

The “Shoe Games” is a termed used by many people who buy and sells shoes for profit. This type of buying and re-selling started to become popular during the early 1970s when Nike first started to make basketball shoes, and began to rise with the introduction of “Air Force 1”. In 1984 the Shoe Game took off with the introduction of Nike’s “Air Jordan”. As the years went on Nike Came out with many shoes, naming them after basketball players, and maximizing their profits by doing limited releases, meaning a store would only carry a certain amount of shoes and once all stores are out, no more reproductions are made, and that is how many “Sneakerheads” make their profits. Each year after the introduction of the first style of shoe Nike would name the next years version two, three, and so on. For example, one of the most profitable shoes was the Nike Air Jordans XXIII, the twenty third release of Nike’s Air Jordans. Twenty-three was a big deal because Michael Jordan’s number is Twenty-three. People camped out hours sometimes days before to buy these limited edition shoes. The “Shoe Game” became very popular and productive in the late 1990s’ and continue to be very profitable until about 2010. This was mainly because the drop in the American Economy.

Brands

Large brands include:

  • Adidas
  • Anta
  • ASICS
  • BATA
  • Clae
  • Converse
  • DC Shoes
  • DVS
  • Fila
  • Gola
  • Globe
  • Heelys
  • Jordan shoes
  • K-Swiss
  • Kalenji
  • Keds
  • Keen
  • Lacoste
  • Li Ning
  • Lonsdale
  • Mizuno
  • New Balance
  • Nike
  • PF Flyers
  • Puma
  • Reebok
  • Saucony
  • Sperry Top-Sider
  • Starbury
  • Supra
  • UK Gear
  • Vans

L’Histoire de Mode~Jewellery/Jewelry

The history of jewellery is a long one, with many different uses among different cultures. It has endured for thousands of years and has provided various insights into how ancient cultures worked.

Early history

The first signs of jewellery came from the people in Africa. Perforated beads made from snail shells have been found dating to 75,000 years ago at Blombos Cave. In Kenya, at Enkapune Ya Muto, beads made from perforated ostrich egg shells have been dated to more than 40,000 years ago.

Outside of Africa, the Cro-Magnons had crude necklaces and bracelets of bone, teeth, berries and stone hung on pieces of string or animal sinew, or pieces of carved bone used to secure clothing together. In some cases, jewellery had shell or mother-of-pearl pieces. In southern Russia, carved bracelets made of mammoth tusk have been found. The Venus of Hohle Fels features a perforation at the top, showing that it was intended to be worn as a pendant.

Around 7,000 years ago, the first sign of copper jewellery was seen.

Egypt

Amulet pendant (254 BC) made from gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian, 14 cm wide.

An 18th dynasty pharaonic era princess’ crown

The first signs of established jewellery making in Ancient Egypt was around 3,000-5,000 years ago. The Egyptians preferred the luxury, rarity, and workability of gold over other metals. Predynastic Egypt had Jewellery in Egypt soon began to symbolise power and religious power in the community. Although it was worn by wealthy Egyptians in life, it was also worn by them in death, with jewellery commonly placed among grave goods.

In conjunction with gold jewellery, Egyptians used coloured glass in place of precious gems. Although the Egyptians had access to gemstones, they preferred the colours they could create in glass over the natural colours of stones. For nearly each gemstone, there was a glass formulation used by the Egyptians to mimic it. The colour of the jewellery was very important, as different colours meant different things; the Book of the Dead dictated that the necklace of Isis around a mummy’s neck must be red to satisfy Isis’s need for blood, while green jewellery meant new growth for crops and fertility. Although lapis lazuli and silver had to be imported from beyond the country’s borders, most other materials for jewellery were found in or near Egypt, for example in the Red Sea, where the Egyptians mined Cleopatra’s favourite gem, the emerald. Egyptian jewellery was predominantly made in large workshops attached to temples or palaces.

Egyptian designs were most common in Phoenician jewellery. Also, ancient Turkish designs found in Persian jewellery suggest that trade between the Middle East and Europe was not uncommon. Women wore elaborate gold and silver pieces that were used in ceremonies.

Europe and the Middle East

Mesopotamia

By approximately 4,000 years ago, jewellery-making had become a significant craft in the cities of Sumer and Akkad. The most significant archaeological evidence comes from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, where hundreds of burials dating 2900–2300 BC were unearthed; tombs such as that of Puabi contained a multitude of artefacts in gold, silver, and semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli crowns embellished with gold figurines, close-fitting collar necklaces, and jewel-headed pins. In Assyria, men and women both wore extensive amounts of jewellery, including amulets, ankle bracelets, heavy multi-strand necklaces, and cylinder seals.

Jewellery in Mesopotamia tended to be manufactured from thin metal leaf and was set with large numbers of brightly-coloured stones (chiefly agate, lapis, carnelian, and jasper). Favoured shapes included leaves, spirals, cones, and bunches of grapes. Jewellers created works both for human use and for adorning statues and idols; they employed a wide variety of sophisticated metalworking techniques, such as cloisonné, engraving, fine granulation, and filigree.

Extensive and meticulously maintained records pertaining to the trade and manufacture of jewellery have also been unearthed throughout Mesopotamian archaeological sites. One record in the Mari royal archives, for example, gives the composition of various items of jewellery:

1 necklace of flat speckled chalcedony beads including: 34 flat speckled chalcedony bead, [and] 35 gold fluted beads, in groups of five.
1 necklace of flat speckled chalcedony beads including: 39 flat speckled chalcedony beads, [with] 41 fluted beads in a group that make up the hanging device.
1 necklace with rounded lapis lazuli beads including: 28 rounded lapis lazuli beads, [and] 29 fluted beads for its clasp.

Greece

Gold earring from Mycenae, 16th century BC.

The Greeks started using gold and gems in jewellery in 1600 BC, although beads shaped as shells and animals were produced widely in earlier times. By 300 BC, the Greeks had mastered making coloured jewellery and using amethysts, pearl and emeralds. Also, the first signs of cameos appeared, with the Greeks creating them from Indian Sardonyx, a striped brown pink and cream agate stone. Greek jewellery was often simpler than in other cultures, with simple designs and workmanship. However, as time progressed the designs grew in complexity different materials were soon utilised.

Pendant with naked woman, made from electrum, Rhodes, around 630-620 BC.

Jewellery in Greece was hardly worn and was mostly used for public appearances or on special occasions. It was frequently given as a gift and was predominantly worn by women to show their wealth, social status and beauty. The jewellery was often supposed to give the wearer protection from the “Evil Eye” or endowed the owner with supernatural powers, while others had a religious symbolism. Older pieces of jewellery that have been found were dedicated to the Gods. The largest production of jewellery in these times came from Northern Greece and Macedon. However, although much of the jewellery in Greece was made of gold and silver with ivory and gemstones, bronze and clay copies were made also.

Ancient Greek jewellery from 300 BC.

They worked two styles of pieces; cast pieces and pieces hammered out of sheet metal. Fewer pieces of cast jewellery have been recovered; it was made by casting the metal onto two stone or clay moulds. Then the two halves were joined together and wax and then molten metal, was placed in the centre. This technique had been practised since the late Bronze Age. The more common form of jewellery was the hammered sheet type. Sheets of metal would be hammered to thickness and then soldered together. The inside of the two sheets would be filled with wax or another liquid to preserve the metal work. Different techniques, such as using a stamp or engraving, were then used to create motifs on the jewellery. Jewels may then be added to hollows or glass poured into special cavities on the surface. The Greeks took much of their designs from outer origins, such as Asia when Alexander the Great conquered part of it. In earlier designs, other European influences can also be detected. When Roman rule came to Greece, no change in jewellery designs was detected. However, by 27 BC, Greek designs were heavily influenced by the Roman culture. That is not to say that indigenous design did not thrive; numerous polychrome butterfly pendants on silver foxtail chains, dating from the 1st century, have been found near Olbia, with only one example ever found anywhere else.

Rome

Roman Amethyst intaglio engraved gem, c. 212 AD; later regarded as of St. Peter.

Although jewellery work was abundantly diverse in earlier times, especially among the barbarian tribes such as the Celts, when the Romans conquered most of Europe, jewellery was changed as smaller factions developed the Roman designs. The most common artefact of early Rome was the brooch, which was used to secure clothing together. The Romans used a diverse range of materials for their jewellery from their extensive resources across the continent. Although they used gold, they sometimes used bronze or bone and in earlier times, glass beads & pearl. As early as 2,000 years ago, they imported Sri Lankan sapphires and Indian diamonds and used emeralds and amber in their jewellery. In Roman-ruled England, fossilised wood called jet from Northern England was often carved into pieces of jewellery. The early Italians worked in crude gold and created clasps, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. They also produced larger pendants which could be filled with perfume.

Like the Greeks, often the purpose of Roman jewellery was to ward off the “Evil Eye” given by other people. Although women wore a vast array of jewellery, men often only wore a finger ring. Although they were expected to wear at least one ring, some Roman men wore a ring on every finger, while others wore none. Roman men and women wore rings with a engraved gem on it that was used with wax to seal documents, an practice that continued into medieval times when kings and noblemen used the same method. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the jewellery designs were absorbed by neighbouring countries and tribes.

Middle Ages

Merovingian fibulae, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

6th century bronze eagle-shaped Visigothic cloisonné fibula from Guadalajara, Spain, using glass-paste fillings in imitation of garnets.

Post-Roman Europe continued to develop jewellery making skills; the Celts and Merovingians in particular are noted for their jewellery, which in terms of quality matched or exceeded that of Byzantium. Clothing fasteners, amulets, and to a lesser extent signet rings are the most common artefacts known to us; a particularly striking celtic example is the Tara Brooch. The Torc was common throughout Europe as a symbol of status and power. By the 8th century, jewelled weaponry was common for men, while other jewellery (with the exception of signet rings) seems to become the domain of women. Grave goods found in a 6th-7th century burial near Chalon-sur-Saône are illustrative; the young girl was buried with: 2 silver fibulae, a necklace (with coins), bracelet, gold earings, a pair of hair-pins, comb, and buckle. The Celts specialised in continuous patterns and designs; while Merovingian designs are best known for stylised animal figures. They were not the only groups known for high quality work; note the Visigoth work shown here, and the numerous decorative objects found at the Anglo-Saxon Ship burial at Sutton Hoo Suffolk, England, are a particularly well-known example. On the continent, cloisonné and garnet were perhaps the quintessential method and gemstone of the period.

Byzantine wedding ring.

The Eastern successor of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, continued many of the methods of the Romans, though religious themes came to predominate. Unlike the Romans, the Franks, and the Celts, however; Byzantium used light-weight gold leaf rather than solid gold, and more emphasis was placed on stones and gems. As in the West, Byzantine jewellery was worn by wealthier females, with male jewellery apparently restricted to signet rings. Like other contemporary cultures, jewellery was commonly buried with its owner.

Renaissance

Sardonyx cameo.

The Renaissance and exploration both had significant impacts on the development of jewellery in Europe. By the 17th century, increasing exploration and trade lead to increased availability of a wide variety of gemstones as well as exposure to the art of other cultures. Whereas prior to this the working of gold and precious metal had been at the forefront of jewellery, this period saw increasing dominance of gemstones and their settings. A fascinating example of this is the Cheapside Hoard, the stock of a jeweller hidden in London during the Commonwealth period and not found again until 1912. It contained Colombian emerald, topaz, amazonite from Brazil, spinel, iolite, and chrysoberyl from Sri Lanka, ruby from India, Afghani lapis lazuli, Persian turquoise, Red Sea peridot, as well as Bohemian and Hungarian opal, garnet, and amethyst. Large stones were frequently set in box-bezels on enamelled rings. Notable among merchants of the period was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who in the 1660s brought the precursor stone of the Hope Diamond to France.

When Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned as Emperor of the French in 1804, he revived the style and grandeur of jewellery and fashion in France. Under Napoleon’s rule, jewellers introduced parures, suites of matching jewellery, such as a diamond tiara, diamond earrings, diamond rings, a diamond brooch and a diamond necklace. Both of Napoleon’s wives had beautiful sets such as these and wore them regularly. Another fashion trend resurrected by Napoleon was the cameo. Soon after his cameo decorated crown was seen, cameos were highly sought after. The period also saw the early stages of costume jewellery, with fish scale covered glass beads in place of pearls or conch shell cameos instead of stone cameos. New terms were coined to differentiate the arts: jewellers who worked in cheaper materials were called bijoutiers, while jewellers who worked with expensive materials were called joailliers; a practice which continues to this day.

Romanticism

Mourning jewellery in the form of a jet brooch, 19th century.

Starting in the late 18th century, Romanticism had a profound impact on the development of western jewellery. Perhaps the most significant influences were the public’s fascination with the treasures being discovered through the birth of modern archaeology, and the fascination with Medieval and Renaissance art. Changing social conditions and the onset of the Industrial Revolution also lead to growth of a middle class that wanted and could afford jewellery. As a result, the use of industrial processes, cheaper alloys, and stone substitutes, lead to the development of paste or costume jewellery. Distinguished goldsmiths continued to flourish, however, as wealthier patrons sought to ensure that what they wore still stood apart from the jewellery of the masses, not only through use of precious metals and stones but also though superior artistic and technical work; one such artist was the French goldsmith Françoise Désire Froment Meurice. A category unique to this period and quite appropriate to the philosophy of romanticism was mourning jewellery. It originated in England, where Queen Victoria was often seen wearing jet jewellery after the death of Prince Albert; and allowed the wearer to continue wearing jewellery while expressing a state of mourning at the death of a loved one.

In the United states, this period saw the founding in 1837 of Tiffany & Co. by Charles Lewis Tiffany. Tiffany’s put the United States on the world map in terms of jewellery, and gained fame creating dazzling commissions for people such as the wife of Abraham Lincoln; later it would gain popular notoriety as the setting of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In France, Pierre Cartier founded Cartier SA in 1847, while 1884 saw the founding of Bulgari in Italy. The modern production studio had been born; a step away from the former dominance of individual craftsmen and patronage.

This period also saw the first major collaboration between East and West; collaboration in Pforzheim between German and Japanese artists lead to Shakudō plaques set into Filigree frames being created by the Stoeffler firm in 1885). Perhaps the grand finalé – and an appropriate transition to the following period – were the masterful creations of the Russian artist Peter Carl Fabergé, working for the Imperial Russian court, whose Fabergé eggs and jewellery pieces are still considered as the epitome of the goldsmith’s art.

Art Nouveau

In the 1890s, jewellers began to explore the potential of the growing Art Nouveau style and the closely related German Jugendstil, British (and to some extent American) Arts and Crafts Movement.

Art Nouveau jewellery encompassed many distinct features including a focus on the female form and an emphasis on colour, most commonly rendered through the use of enamelling techniques including basse-taille, champleve, cloisonné and plique-à-jour. Motifs included orchids, irises, pansies, vines, swans, peacocks, snakes, dragonflies, mythological creatures and the female silhouette.

René Lalique, working for the Paris shop of Samuel Bing, was recognised by contemporaries as a leading figure in this trend. The Darmstadt Artists’ Colony and Wiener Werkstätte provided perhaps the most significant German input to the trend, while in Denmark Georg Jensen, though best known for his Silverware, also contributed significant pieces. In England, Liberty & Co. and the British arts & crafts movement of Charles Robert Ashbee contributed slightly more linear but still characteristic designs. The new style moved the focus of the jeweller’s art from the setting of stones to the artistic design of the piece itself; Lalique’s dragonfly design is one of the best examples of this. Enamels played a large role in technique, while sinuous organic lines are the most recognisable design feature.

The end of World War One once again changed public attitudes; and a more sober style came in.

Art Deco

Growing political tensions, the after-effects of the war, and a reaction against the perceived decadence of the turn of the 20th century led to simpler forms, combined with more effective manufacturing for mass production of high-quality jewellery. Covering the period of the 1920s and 1930s, the style has become popularly known as Art Deco. Walter Gropius and the German Bauhaus movement, with their philosophy of “no barriers between artists and craftsmen” lead to some interesting and stylistically simplified forms. Modern materials were also introduced: plastics and aluminium were first used in jewellery, and of note are the chromed pendants of Russian born Bauhaus master Naum Slutzky. Technical mastery became as valued as the material itself; in the west, this period saw the reinvention of granulation by the German Elizabeth Treskow (although development of the re-invention has continued into the 1990s).

Jewish jewellery

Jewellery has been a part of Jewish culture since Biblical times. There are references in the Bible to the wearing of jewellery, both as a decoration and as a symbol. Now, Jewish jewellery is worn to show affiliation with Judaism, as well as talismans and amulets.

One of the most common symbols in Jewish jewellery is the Star of David. Another popular symbol is the Hamsa, also known as the “Hamesh hand”. The Hamsa appears often in a stylised form, as a hand with three fingers raised, and sometimes with two thumbs arranged symmetrically. Its five fingers are said to symbolise the five books if the Torah. The symbol is used for protection and as a talisman to ward off the Evil eye in amulets and charms and can also be found in various places such as home entrances and cars. It is also common to place other symbols in the middle of the Hamsa that are believed to help against the evil eye such as fish, eyes and the Star of David. The colour blue, or more specifically light blue, is also considered protective against the evil eye and many Hamsas are in that colour or with embedded gemstones in different shades of blue.

The Chai is also a popular Jewish motif for necklaces.

Other motifs found in Jewish jewellery are symbols from the Kabbalah, such as the Merkaba, a three-dimensional Star of David, and the Tree of life. Pieces of jewellery are decorated with parts or initials of known Jewish prayers and with 3-letters combinations, believed to represent different names of the Jewish God.

Asia

Royal earrings, India, 1st Century BC.

In Asia, the Indian subcontinent has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery making anywhere, with a history of over 5,000 years.[31] One of the first to start jewellery making were the peoples of the Indus Valley Civilization in what is now predominately modern-day Pakistan. Early jewellery making in China started around the same period, but it became widespread with the spread of Buddhism around 2,000 years ago.

China

One of the earliest cultures to begin making jewellery in Asia was the Chinese around 5,000 years ago. Chinese jewellery designs were very religion-oriented and contained Buddhist symbols, a tradition which continues to this day.

The Chinese used silver in their jewellery more often than gold, and decorated it with their favourite colour, blue. Blue kingfisher feathers were tied onto early Chinese jewellery and later, blue gems and glass were incorporated into designs. However, jade was preferred over any other stone, and was fashioned using diamonds. The Chinese revered jade because of the human-like qualities they assigned to it, such as its hardness, durability and beauty. The first jade pieces were very simple, but as time progressed, more complex designs evolved. Jade rings from between the 4th and 7th centuries BC show evidence of having been worked with a compound milling machine; hundreds of years before the first mention of such equipment in the west.

Jade coiled serpent, Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD)

`Xin’ Shape Jewellery from Ming Dynasty Tombs, (1368–1644)

In China, jewellery was worn frequently by both sexes to show their nobility and wealth. However, in later years, it was used to accentuate beauty. Women wore highly detailed gold and silver head dresses and other items, while men wore decorative hat buttons, which showed rank, and gold or silver rings. Women also wore strips of gold on their foreheads, much like women in the Indus Valley. The band was an early form of tiara and was often decorated with precious gems. The most common piece of jewellery worn by in China was the earring, which was worn by both men and women. Amulets were also common too, often with a Chinese symbol or dragon. In fact, dragons, Chinese symbols and also phoenixes were frequently depicted on jewellery designs.

The Chinese often placed their jewellery in their graves; most Chinese graves found by archaeologists contain decorative jewellery.

India

India has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery making anywhere since Ramayana and Mahabharata times. While Western traditions were heavily influenced by waxing and waning empires, India enjoyed a continuous development of art forms for some 5000 years. One of the first to start jewellery making were the peoples of the Indus Valley Civilization (encompassing present-day Pakistan and northwest India). By 1500 BC the peoples of the Indus Valley were creating gold earrings and necklaces, bead necklaces and metallic bangles. Before 2100 BC, prior to the period when metals were widely used, the largest jewellery trade in the Indus Valley region was the bead trade. Beads in the Indus Valley were made using simple techniques. First, a bead maker would need a rough stone, which would be bought from an eastern stone trader. The stone would then be placed into a hot oven where it would be heated until it turned deep red, a colour highly prized by people of the Indus Valley. The red stone would then be chipped to the right size and a hole drilled through it with primitive drills. The beads were then polished. Some beads were also painted with designs. This art form was often passed down through family; children of bead makers often learnt how to work beads from a young age.

Jewellery in the Indus Valley was worn predominantly by females, who wore numerous clay or shell bracelets on their wrists. They were often shaped like doughnuts and painted black. Over time, clay bangles were discarded for more durable ones. In India today, bangles are made out of metal or glass. Other pieces that women frequently wore were thin bands of gold that would be worn on the forehead, earrings, primitive brooches, chokers and gold rings. Although women wore jewellery the most, some men in the Indus Valley wore beads. Small beads were often crafted to be placed in men and women’s hair. The beads were about one millimetre long.

A female skeleton (presently on display at the National Museum, New Delhi, India) wears a carlinean bangle (a bracelet) on her left hand.

India was the first country to mine diamonds, with some mines dating back to 296 BC. India traded the diamonds, realising their valuable qualities. This trade almost vanished 1,000 years after Christianity grew as a religion, as Christians rejected the diamonds which were used in Indian religious amulets. Along with Arabians from the Middle East restricting the trade, India’s diamond jewellery trade lulled.

Today, many of the jewellery designs and traditions are still used and jewellery is commonplace in Indian ceremonies and weddings.

America

Jewellery played a major role in the fate of the Americas when the Spanish established an empire to seize South American gold. Jewellery making developed in the Americas 5,000 years ago in Central and South America. Large amounts of gold was easily accessible, and the Aztecs, the Mixtecs, the Mayans and numerous Andean cultures like the Mochica of Peru created beautiful pieces of jewellery.

With the Mochica culture, goldwork flourished. The pieces are no longer simple metalwork, but are now masterful examples of jewellery making. Pieces are sophisticated in their design, and feature inlays of turquoise, mother of pearl, spondylus shell, and amethyst. The nose and ear ornaments, chest plates, small containers and whistles are considered masterpieces of ancient Peruvian culture.

Moche Ear Ornaments. 1-800 AD. Larco Museum Collection, Lima-Peru

Among the Aztecs, only nobility wore gold jewellery, as it showed their rank, power and wealth. Gold jewellery was most common in the Aztec Empire and was often decorated with feathers from Quetzal birds and others. In general, the more jewellery an Aztec noble wore, the higher their status or prestige. The Emperor and his High Priests, for example, would be nearly completely covered in jewellery when making public appearances. Although gold was the most common and a popular material used in Aztec jewellery, Jade, Turquoise, and certain feathers were considered more valuable. In addition to adornment and status, the Aztecs also used jewellery in sacrifices to appease the gods. Priests also used gem encrusted daggers to perform animal and human sacrifices.

Another ancient American civilisation with expertise in jewellery making was the Maya. At the peak of their civilisation, the Maya were making jewellery from jade, gold, silver, bronze and copper. Maya designs were similar to those of the Aztecs, with lavish head dresses and jewellery. The Maya also traded in precious gems. However, in earlier times, the Maya had little access to metal, so made the majority of their jewellery out of bone or stone. Merchants and nobility were the only few that wore expensive jewellery in the Maya Empire, much the same as with the Aztecs.

In North America, Native Americans used shells, wood, turquoise, and soapstone, almost unavailable in South and Central America. The turquoise was used in necklaces and to be placed in earrings. Native Americans with access to oyster shells, often located in only one location in America, traded the shells with other tribes, showing the great importance of the body adornment trade in Northern America.

Pacific

Main article: Jewellery in the Pacific

Jewellery making in the Pacific started later than in other areas because of recent human settlement. Early Pacific jewellery was made of bone, wood and other natural materials, and thus has not survived. Most Pacific jewellery is worn above the waist, with headdresses, necklaces, hair pins and arm and waist belts being the most common pieces.

Jewellery in the Pacific, with the exception of Australia, is worn to be a symbol of either fertility or power. Elaborate headdresses are worn by many Pacific cultures and some, such as the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea, wear certain headresses once they have killed an enemy. Tribesman may wear boar bones through their noses.

Island jewellery is still very much primal because of the lack of communication with outside cultures; some areas of Borneo and Papua New Guinea are yet to be explored by Western nations. However, the island nations which were flooded with Western missionaries have had drastic changes made to their jewellery designs. Missionaries saw any type of tribal jewellery as a sign of the wearer’s devotion to paganism. Thus many tribal designs were lost forever in the mass conversion to Christianity.

A modern opal bracelet

Australia is now the number one supplier of opals in the world. Opals had already been mined in Europe and South America for many years prior, but in the late 19th century, the Australian opal market became predominant. Australian opals are only mined in a few select places around the country, making it one the most profitable stones in the Pacific.

One of the few cultures to today still create their jewellery as they did many centuries prior is the New Zealand Māori, who create Hei-tiki. The reason the hei-tiki is worn is not apparent; it may either relate to ancestral connections, as Tiki was the first Māori, or fertility, as there is a strong connection between this and Tiki. Another suggestion from historians is that the Tiki is a product of the ancient belief of a god named Tiki, perhaps dating back to before the Māoris settled in New Zealand. Hei-tikis are traditionally carved by hand from bone (commonly whale), nephrite or bowenite; a lengthy and spiritual process. The Hei-tiki is now popular amongst tourists who can buy it from souvenir or jeweller shops.

Other than jewellery created through Māori influence, jewellery in New Zealand remains similar to other western civilisations; multi cultural and varied. This is more noticeable in New Zealand because of its high levels of non-European citizens.

Modern

The modern jewellery movement began in the late 1940s at the end of World War II with a renewed interest in artistic and leisurely pursuits. The movement is most noted with works by Georg Jensen and other jewellery designers who advanced the concept of wearable art. The advent of new materials, such as plastics, Precious Metal Clay (PMC) and colouring techniques, has led to increased variety in styles. Other advances, such as the development of improved pearl harvesting by people such as Mikimoto Kōkichi and the development of improved quality artificial gemstones such as moissanite (a diamond simulant), has placed jewellery within the economic grasp of a much larger segment of the population.

The “jewellery as art” movement was spearheaded by artisans such as Robert Lee Morris and continued by designers such as Gill Forsbrook in the UK. Influence from other cultural forms is also evident; one example of this is bling-bling style jewellery, popularised by hip-hop and rap artists in the early 21st century.

The late 20th century saw the blending of European design with oriental techniques such as Mokume-gane. The following are innovations in the decades stradling the year 2000: “Mokume-gane, hydraulic die forming, anti-clastic raising, fold-forming, reactive metal anodising, shell forms, PMC, photoetching, and [use of] CAD/CAM.”

Artisan jewellery continues to grow as both a hobby and a profession. With more than 17 United States periodicals about beading alone, resources, accessibility and a low initial cost of entry continues to expand production of hand-made adornments. Some fine examples of artisan jewellery can be seen at The Metropolitan Museum.

Body modification

A Kayan girl in Northern Thailand.

Jewellery used in body modification is usually plain; the use of simple silver studs, rings and earrings predominates. Common jewellery pieces such as earrings, are themselves a form of body modification, as they are accommodated by creating a small hole in the ear.

Padaung women in Myanmar place large golden rings around their necks. From as early as 5 years old, girls are introduced to their first neck ring. Over the years, more rings are added. In addition to the twenty-plus pounds of rings on her neck, a woman will also wear just as many rings on her calves too. At their extent, some necks modified like this can reach 10-15 inches long; the practice has obvious health impacts, however, and has in recent years declined from cultural norm to tourist curiosity. Tribes related to the Paduang, as well as other cultures throughout the world, use jewellery to stretch their earlobes, or enlarge ear piercings. In the Americas, labrets have been worn since before first contact by Innu and First Nations peoples of the northwest coast.[42] Lip plates are worn by the African Mursi and Sara people, as well as some South American peoples.

In the late 20th century, the influence of modern primitivism led to many of these practices being incorporated into western subcultures. Many of these practices rely on a combination of body modification and decorative objects; thus keeping the distinction between these two types of decoration blurred.

In many cultures, jewellery is used as a temporary body modifier, with in some cases, hooks or even objects as large as bike bars being placed into the recipient’s skin. Although this procedure is often carried out by tribal or semi-tribal groups, often acting under a trance during religious ceremonies, this practise has seeped into western culture. Many extreme-jewellery shops now cater to people wanting large hooks or spikes set into their skin. Most often, these hooks are used in conjunction with pulleys to hoist the recipient into the air. This practice is said to give an erotic feeling to the person and some couples have even performed their marriage ceremony whilst being suspended by hooks.

Jewellery market

According to a recent KPMG study the largest jewellery market is the United States with a market share of 30.8%, Japan, India and China and the Middle East each with 8 – 9% and Italy with 5%. The authors of the study predict a dramatic change in market shares by 2015, where the market share of the United States will have dropped to around 25%, and China and India will increase theirs to over 13%. The Middle East will remain more or less constant at 9%, whereas Europe’s and Japan’s marketshare will be halved and become less than 4% for Japan, and less than 3% for the biggest individual European countries: Italy and the UK.


L’Histoire de Mode~Vogue Magazine

 

 

Vogue

Vogue was founded as a weekly publication by

Arthur Baldwin Turnure in 1892. When he died in 1909,

Condé Nast picked it up and slowly began growing the publication.

The first change Nast made was that Vogue appeared every two

weeks instead of weekly. Nast also went overseas in the early 1910s.

He first went to Britain, and started a Vogue there, and it went well.

Then he went to Spain, however that was a failure. Lastly, Nast took

Vogue to France, and that was a huge success. The magazine’s

number of publications and profit increased dramatically

under Nast. The magazine’s number of subscriptions

surged during the Depression, and again during World War II.

In the 1960s, with Diana Vreeland as editor-in-chief and personality,

the magazine began to appeal to the youth of the sexual

revolution by focusing more on contemporary fashion

and editorial features openly discussing sexuality.

Vogue also continued making household names out

of models, a practice that continued with Suzy Parker,

Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Lauren Hutton, Veruschka,

Marisa Berenson, Penelope Tree, and others.

In 1973, Vogue became a monthly publication. Under editor-in-chief

Grace Mirabella, the magazine underwent extensive editorial and

stylistic changes to respond to changes in the lifestyles of its target audience.

The current editor-in-chief of American Vogue is Anna Wintour, noted for her

trademark bob and her practice of wearing sunglasses indoors. Since taking over in 1988,

Wintour has worked to protect the magazine’s high status and reputation

among fashion publications. In order to do so, she has made the magazine focus on

new and more accessible ideas of “fashion” for a wider audience. This allowed

Wintour to keep a high circulation while discovering new trends that a broader audience

could conceivably afford. For example, the inaugural cover of the magazine

under Wintour’s editorship featured a three-quarter-length photograph of Israeli super

model Michaela Bercu wearing a bejeweled Christian Lacroix jacket and a pair

of jeans, departing from her predecessors’ tendency to portray a woman’s face alone,

which, according to the Times’, gave “greater importance to both her clothing and her body.

This image also promoted a new form of chic by combining jeans with haute couture.

Wintour’s debut cover brokered a class-mass rapprochement that informs modern

fashion to this day.

“Wintour’s Vogue also welcomes new and young talent.

Wintour’s presence at fashion shows is often taken by fashion

insiders as an indicator of the designer’s profile within the industry.

In 2003, she joined the Council of Fashion Designers of America in

creating a fund that provides money and guidance to at least two

emerging designers each year. This has built loyalty among the emerging

new star designers, and helped preserve the magazine’s dominant

position of influence through what Time called her own “considerable

influence over American fashion. Runway shows don’t start until she

arrives. Designers succeed because she anoints them.

Trends are created or crippled on her command.”

The contrast of Wintour’s vision with

that of her predecessor has been noted as

striking by observers, both critics and defenders.

Amanda Fortini, fashion and style contributor to Slate

argues that her policy has been beneficial for Vogue:

[W]hen Wintour was appointed head of Vogue, Grace Mirabella
had been editor in chief for 17 years, and the magazine had grown
complacent, coasting along in what one journalist derisively called
“its beige years.” Beige was the color Mirabella had used to paint
over the red walls in Diana Vreeland’s office, and the metaphor
was apt: The magazine had become boring. Among Condé Nast
executives, there was worry that the grand dame of fashion
publications was losing ground to upstart Elle, which in just
three years had reached a paid circulation of 851,000 to
Vogue ‘s stagnant 1.2 million. And so Condé Nast publisher
Si Newhouse brought in the 38-year-old Wintour—who,
through editor in chief positions at British Vogue
and House & Garden, had become known not only
for her cutting-edge visual sense but also for her
ability to radically revamp a magazine—
to shake things up.

Vogue was described by book critic Caroline Weber in The New York Times in December 2006 as “the world’s most

influential fashion magazine”: Vogue is most famous as a presenter of images of high fashion and high society, but it

also publishes writings on art, culture, politics, and ideas. It has also helped to enshrine the fashion model as celebrity.

Vogue is widely published; today, it is published in 18 countries and one region.

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latin America/Mexico
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

 

 

As Wintour came to personify the magazine’s image, she and Vogue

drew critics. Wintour’s one-time assistant at the magazine, Lauren Weisberger,

wrote a roman à clef entitled The Devil Wears Prada. Published in 2003,

the novel became a bestseller and was adapted as a highly successful,

Academy Award-nominated film in 2006. The central character resembled

Weisberger, and her boss was a powerful editor-in-chief of a fictionalized

version of Vogue. The novel portrays a magazine ruled by “the Antichrist

and her coterie of fashionistas, who exist on cigarettes, Diet Dr. Pepper,

and mixed green salads”, according to a review in the New York Times.

The editor is described by Weisberger as being “an empty, shallow,

bitter woman who has tons and tons of gorgeous clothes and not much else”.

The success of both the novel and the film brought new attention

from a wide global audience to the power and glamour of the

magazine, and the industry it continues to lead.

In 2007, Vogue drew criticism from the anti-smoking group,

“Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids”, for carrying tobacco advertisements

in the magazine. The group claims that volunteers sent the magazine

more than 8,000 protest e-mails or faxes regarding the ads.

The group also claimed that in response, they received

scribbled notes faxed back on letters that had been

addressed to editor Anna Wintour stating,

“Will you stop? You’re killing trees!”

A spokesperson for Condé Nast released an

official statement saying that, “‘Vogue’

does carry tobacco advertising.

Beyond that we have no

further comment.”

In April 2008, the American Vogue had a cover shot by the famed
photographer Annie Leibovitz, featuring the supermodel Gisele Bündchen
and the basketball superstar LeBron James. This was the third time that Vogue
featured a male on the cover of the American issue (the other two men were the
actors George Clooney and Richard Gere), and the first in which the man was black.
Some observers criticized the cover as a prejudicial depiction of James because his
pose with Bundchen was reminiscent of a poster for the film King Kong. Further criticism arose
when the website Watching the Watchers analyzed the photo alongside the World
War I recruitment poster titled Destroy This Mad Brute.
In 2005, Condé Nast launched Men’s Vogue and
announced plans for an American version of Vogue Living
launching in late fall of 2006 (there is currently an edition in Australia).
Men’s Vogue ceased publication as an independent publication in October 2008
and is now a twice-yearly extract in the main edition. Condé Nast Publications
also publishes Teen Vogue, a version of the magazine for teen girls,
the Seventeen demographic, in the United States. South Korea and Australia
has a Vogue Girl magazine (currently suspended from further publication), in
addition to Vogue Living and Vogue Entertaining + Travel.

Vogue Hommes International is an international men’s fashion

magazine based in Paris, France, and L’uomo Vogue is the Italian

men’s version. Other Italian versions of Vogue include Vogue Casa

and Bambini Vogue.

Until 1961, Vogue was also the publisher of Vogue Patterns, a home sewing

pattern company. It was sold to Butterick Publishing which also licensed the

Vogue name. In 2007 an Arabic edition of Vogue was rejected by Condé Nast International.

October 2007 saw the launch of Vogue India. Vogue Turkey was launched in March 2010.

Vogue has also created a global initiative, “Fashion’s Night Out” in order to help

boost the economy by bringing together fashionistas to support the cause of full price retails.

Cities across the globe participate to put on fabulous in

store events and promotions.

In 2009, the feature-length documentary The September Issue was

released; it was an inside view of the production of the record-breaking

September 2007 issue of U.S. Vogue, directed by R. J. Cutler. The film

was shot over eight months as editor-in-chief Anna Wintour prepared the issue.

It included at times testy exchanges between Wintour and her creative director

Grace Coddington. The issue became the largest ever published; over 5 pounds in

weight and 840 pages in length, a world record for a monthly magazine.

Since 2007, the feminist fashion blog Glossed Over has liveblogged

the September issue of Vogue, commenting on

its content, photos, and ads.

Editors-In-Chief:

The following individuals have served as editor-in-chief of Vogue:

Country Editor-in-Chief Start year End year
United States Josephine Redding 1892 1901
Marie Harrison 1901 1914
Edna Woolman Chase 1914 1951
Jessica Daves 1952 1963
Diana Vreeland 1963 1971
Grace Mirabella 1971 1988
Anna Wintour 1988 present
United Kingdom Elspeth Champcommunal 1916 1922
Dorothy Todd 1923 1926
Alison Settle 1926 1934
Elizabeth Penrose 1934 1940
Audrey Withers 1940 1961
Ailsa Garland 1961 1965
Beatrix Miller 1965 1984
Anna Wintour 1985 1987
Liz Tilberis 1988 1992
Alexandra Shulman 1992 present
France Cosette Vogel 1922 1927
Main Bocher 1927 1929
Michel de Brunhoff 1929 1954
Edmonde Charles-Roux 1954 1966
Francine Crescent 1968 1987
Colombe Pringle 1987 1994
Joan Juliet Buck 1994 2001
Carine Roitfeld 2001 2011
Emmanuelle Alt 2011 Present
Russia Aliona Doletskaya 1998 2010
Victoria Davydova 2010 present

 


L’Histoire de Mode~Condé Nast

 

Condé Montrose Nast

(March 26, 1873 – September 19, 1942) Nast was the founder of Condé Nast Publications, a leading American magazine publisher known for publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker.

 

Named for his uncle Condé L. Benoist, Condé Montrose Nast was born

in New York City to a family of Midwestern origin. His father,

William F. Nast (son of the German-born Methodist leader William Nast) was an

unsuccessful broker and inventor who had also served as U.S. attaché in Berlin.

His mother, the former Esther A. Benoist, was a daughter of pioneering St. Louis

banker Louis Auguste Benoist and a descendant of a prominent

French family that emigrated to Canada and

thence to Missouri.

He had three siblings: Louis, Ethel, and Estelle.

Nast’s aunt financed his studies at Georgetown University,

where he graduated in 1894. He went on to earn a law

degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1897.

Nast did not take well to law, and upon graduation he got a job

working for a former classmate as advertising manager for Collier’s

Weekly (1898–1907). Over the course of a decade he increased

the advertising revenue 100-fold. He published books and Lippincott’s

Monthly Magazine with Robert M. McBride (McBride, Nast & Co.).

After leaving Collier’s Nast bought Vogue, then a small

New York society magazine, transforming it into America’s

premier fashion magazine.

He then turned Vanity Fair into a sophisticated general interest publication,

with the help of his friend Frank Crowninshield, who was editor and a major influence for

more than 20 years. It published many new and high quality writers, as well as

displaying reproductions of modern art.

Nast eventually owned a stable of magazines that included

House & Garden, British, French, and Argentine editions of Vogue,

Jardins des Modes, and Glamour (the last magazine added to the group while he was alive).

While other publishers simply focused on increasing the number of magazines in

circulation, Nast targeted groups of readers by income level or common

interest. Among his staffers were Edna Woolman Chase,

who served as the editor in chief of Vogue; and

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley.

Nearly ruined in the Great Depression as many others were, Nast

spent his last years struggling to regain his early prosperity.

Condé Nast died in 1942 and is interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne,

New York. His grave is located in Section 25 of the cemetery,

near Babe Ruth and Billy Martin.

Condé Nast Publications:

List of Current Publications:

# Vogue
# W
# WWD
# Style
# Glamour
# Allure
# Self
# Nutrition Data
# Teen Vogue
# GQ
# Details
# Architectural Digest
# Brides
# Lucky
# FN
# Golf Digest
# Golf World
# Vanity Fair
# Bon Appétit
# Epicurious
# Condé Nast Traveler
# Concierge
# Jaunted
# Hotel Chatter
# Vegas Chatter
# Wired
# Reddit
# Ars Technica
# Parade
# The New Yorker


L’Histoire de Mode~Fashion Photography

 

 

Virginia Oldoini, Countess di Castiglione in a photo by Pierre-Louise Pierson (c. 1863/66)

 

Fashion Photography

 

Fashion photography is a genre of photography devoted

to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography

is most often conducted for advertisements or fashionmagazines such

as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Allure. Over time, fashion photography has

developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are

enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.

Photography was developed in the 1830s, but the earliest popular technique, the

daguerreotype, was unsuitable for mass printing. In 1856, Adolphe Braun

published a book containing 288 photographs of Virginia Oldoini, Countess di Castiglione,

a Tuscan noblewoman at the court of Napoleon III. The photos depict her in her

official court garb, making her the first fashion model.

In the first decade of the 20th century, advances in

halftone printing allowed fashion photographs to be featured

in magazines. Fashion photography made its first appearance in

French magazines such as La mode practique. In 1909, Condé Nast took

over Vogue magazine and also contributed to the beginnings of fashion

photography. In 1911, photographer Edward Steichen was “dared” by

Lucien Vogel, the publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazette du Bon Ton,

to promote fashion as a fine art by the use of photography. Steichen

then took photos of gowns designed by couturier Paul Poiret.

These photographs were published in the April 1911 issue of

the magazine Art et Décoration. According to Jesse Alexander,

This is “…now considered to be the first ever modern fashion

photography shoot. That is, photographing the garments in such

a way as to convey a sense of their physical quality as well as

their formal appearance, as opposed to simply illustrating the object.”

At this time, special emphasis was placed on staging the shots, a process

first developed by Baron Adolf de Meyer, who shot his models in natural

environments and poses. Vogue was followed by its rival, Harper’s Bazaar, and

the two companies were leaders in the field of fashion photography throughout

the 1920s and 1930s. House photographers such as Edward Steichen,

George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton transformed

the genre into an outstanding art form. Europe, and especially

Germany, was for a short time the leader

in fashion photography.

But now with that change in time every country has taken

considerable measures to promote the field of photography.

In the mid 1940s as World War II approached, the focus

shifted to the United States, where Vogue and Harper’s continued

their old rivalry. House photographers such as Irving Penn,

Martin Munkacsi, Richard Avedon, and Louise Dahl-Wolfe would

shape the look of fashion photography for the following decades.

Richard Avedon revolutionized fashion photography — and redefined

the role of the fashion photographer — in the post-World War II era

with his imaginative images of the modern woman. Today, his work is being

exhibited in the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, FL. This exhibition features

more than 200 works and spans Avedon’s entire career, including vintage

prints, contact sheets, and original magazines from Harper’s Bazaar,

Vogue and The New Yorker.

The artists abandoned their rigid forms for a much freer style. In 1936,

Martin Munkacsi made the first photographs of models in sporty poses at the beach.

Under the artistic direction of Alexey Brodovitch, the Harper’s

Bazaar quickly introduced this new style into its magazine.

In postwar London, John French pioneered a new form

of fashion photography suited to reproduction in

newsprint, involving where possible reflected

natural light and low contrast.

After the deaths of Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts,

some of today’s most famous fashion photographers are Patrick Demarchelier, Steven Meisel,

Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz.


L’Histoire de Mode~Fabric Burn Testing

BURN TESTING

Burn Test – CAUTION. WARNING. BE CAREFUL!

This should only be done by skilled burners! Make sure there is a bucket of water nearby and that you burn in a metal bucket or non-plastic sink.

What it is & how to do it:

To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be

done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, manmade fiber,

or a blend of natural and manmade fibers. The burn test is used by

many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the

exact fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine

the difference between many fibers to “narrow” the choices down to natural

or manmade fibers. This elimination process will give information

necessary to decide the care of the fabric.

It’s important to do a burn test in a well ventilated area to avoid inhaling potentially toxic fumes. At minimum, open some windows, or better yet, do the test outside on a calm day and avoid inhaling the fumes from the burning fibers.

 

• Pre-wash the mystery fabric to remove
any finishes that may affect the burn
characteristics. Cut fabric swatches for
testing approximately 2″ square.
• Use long tweezers to hold the swatches
you burn.
• Use a non-flammable container to place
under the burning swatch—a large
ashtray or glass dish will work, as will a
metal baking pan.
• Use a lighter, an unscented candle or a
fireplace starter to create a small flame.
• Keep water nearby in the event of a
flare-up, or do the testing near a sink.
• If you have long hair, tie it back out of
the way of the flame.

WARNING: All fibers will burn! Asbestos treated fibers are, for the most

part fire proof. The burning test should be done with caution. Use a small piece

of fabric only. Hold the fabric with tweezers, not your fingers. Burn over a metal dish with

soda in the bottom or even water in the bottom of the dish. Some fabrics will ignite and melt.

The result is burning drips which can adhere to fabric

or skin and cause a serious burn.

Cotton is a plant fiber. When ignited it burns with a steady flame

and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled.

Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would

a candle. Cotton fibers ignite as the flame draws near.

Linen is also a plant fiber but different from cotton in that the

individual plant fibers which make up the yarn are long where cotton fibers

are short. Linen takes longer to ignite. The fabric closest to the ash is very brittle.

Linen is easily extinguished by blowing on it as you would a candle.

Silk is a protein fiber and usually burns readily, not

necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning

hair. The ash is easily crumbled. Silk samples are not

as easily extinguished as cotton or linen.

Wool is also a protein fiber but is harder to ignite than silk as the individual

“hair” fibers are shorter than silk and the weave of the fabrics is generally looser

than with silk. The flame is steady but more difficult to keep burning. The smell

of burning wool is like burning hair.

Man Made Fibers

(Synthetic fibers curl away from the heat and tend to “melt.” Hard lumps are the remains of melted synthetic fibers.)

Acetate is made from cellulose (wood fibers), technically cellulose

acetate. Acetate burns readily with a flickering flame that cannot be

easily extinguished. The burning cellulose drips and leaves a hard ash.

The smell is similar to burning wood chips.

Acrylic technically acrylonitrile is made from natural gas

and petroleum. Acrylics burn readily due to the fiber content and the

lofty, air filled pockets. A match or cigarette dropped on an acrylic blanket

can ignite the fabric which will burn rapidly unless extinguished.

The ash is hard. The smell is acrid or harsh.

Nylon is a polyamide made from petroleum. Nylon melts

and then burns rapidly if the flame remains on the melted

fiber. If you can keep the flame on the

melting nylon, it smells like burning plastic.

Polyester is a polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products.

Polyester melts and burns at the same time, the melting, burning ash can bond

quickly to any surface it drips on including skin. The smoke from polyester

is black with a sweetish smell. The

extinguished ash is hard.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is almost pure cellulose.

Rayon burns rapidly and leaves only a slight ash.

The burning smell is close to burning leaves.

Blends consist of two or more fibers and, ideally, are supposed to take on the

characteristics of each fiber in the blend. The burning test

can be used but the fabric content

will be an assumption.

Household Chemicals

Several chemicals usually found in the home can help further identify fabrics. As in the burn test, caution should be used. Reactions between some of the fibers and household chemicals are rapid and could cause damage to surrounding surfaces.

Acetate is dissolved by acetone, an ingredient in nail polish remover and Super Glue. Caution should be used when wearing acetate or an acetate blend fabric and using any acetone containing product.

Fiber-Etch, a liquid used in embroidery or cutwork embroidery, dissolves any plant fiber including cotton, linen, and rayon. Since this product removes plant fibers, it is also useful to determine fabric content. With blends of plant fiber fabrics, the blended fibers will remain. For example, a cotton/polyester fabric will, when this product is applied to a small area, remove the cotton fiber and leave the polyester fiber.

REMEMBER:

FABRIC FLAME
QUALITY
ODOR ASH
QUALITY
COMMENTS
WOOL orange color
sputtery
burning hair
or feathers
blackish
turns to powder
when crushed
flame will self extinguish
if flame source is removed
no smoke
SILK burns slowly burning hair
or feathers
grayish
turns to powder
when crushed
burns more easily than wool
but will self extinguish is flame
source removed
COTTON yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
grayish, fluffy slow burning ember
LINEN yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
similar to cotton takes longer to ignite than cotton but otherwise very similar
RAYON fast orange flame burning paper
or leaves
almost no ash ember will continue to glow after flame source removed
POLYESTER orange flame, sputtery sweet or fruity smell hard shiny  black bead black smoke
ACETATE burns and melts,sizzly acidic or vinegary hard black bead will continue to burn after flame source removed
NYLON burns slowly and melts,  bluse base and orange tip, no smoke burning celery hard grayish or brownish bead self extinguish if flame source removed
ACRYLIC burns and melts, white-orange tip, no smoke acrid black hard crust will continue to burn after flame source removed

Fiber Burn Chart

I know this isn’t the normal Fashion History segment, but it’s a helpful technique for the most part plus it’s fun to experiment with burn testing, fiber Etching, and dying using tomato soup or anything really. BE SAFE & Have fun!


L’Histoire de Mode~Haute Couture

Haute Couture

Haute couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”) refers to the creation

of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer,

and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention

to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using

time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation

of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit.

It originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth’s

work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. In modern

France, haute couture is a “protected name” that can be used

only by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However,

the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted

clothing, whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as

Milan, London, New York and Tokyo.

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by

the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris based in Paris, France.

Their rules state that only “those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year

by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves”

of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and

updated in 1992. To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term

haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the

Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

However, the term haute couture may have been misused by

ready-to-wear brands since the late 1980s, so that its true meaning

may have become blurred with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for

ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Every haute couture house also

markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment

than their custom clothing . Falling revenues have forced a few couture

houses to abandon their less profitable couture division and concentrate

solely on the less prestigious prêt-à-porter. These houses, such as

Italian designer Roberto Capucci, all of whom have their

workshops in Italy, are no longer

considered haute couture.

Many top designer fashion houses, such as Chanel, use the word for

some of their special collections. These collections are often not for sale or they

are very difficult to purchase. Sometimes, “haute couture” is inappropriately used to

label non-dressmaking activities, such as fine art, music and more.

French leadership in European fashion may date from the

18th century, when the art, architecture, music, and fashions

of the French court at Versailles were imitated across Europe. Visitors

to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers.

Stylish women also ordered fashion dolls dressed in the latest Parisian fashion

to serve as models. As railroads and steamships made European travel easier,

it was increasingly common for wealthy women to travel to Paris to shop for clothing

and accessories. French fitters and dressmakers were commonly thought to be the best

in Europe, and real Parisian garments were considered better than local imitations.

The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895),

is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today. Although

born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French

fashion industry. Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived,

Worth made it so the dressmaker became the artist of garnishment: a fashion designer.

While he created one-of-a-kind designs to please some of his titled or wealthy customers,

he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the

House of Worth. Clients selected one model, specified colors and fabrics, and had a

duplicate garment tailor-made in Worth’s workshop. Worth combined individual

tailoring with a standardization more characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry,

which was also developing during this period.

Following in Worth’s footsteps were Callot Soeurs, Patou,

Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli,

Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses still exist today, under

the leadership of modern designers.

In the 1960s a group of young designers who had trained under

men like Dior and Balenciaga left these established couture houses and opened their

own establishments. The most successful of these young designers were Yves Saint Laurent,

Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, and Emanuel Ungaro. Japanese native and Paris-based

Hanae Mori was also successful in establishing her own line.

Lacroix is one of the fashion houses to have been started in

the late 20th century. Other new houses have included Jean-Paul Gaultier

and Thierry Mugler. Due to the high expenses of producing haute couture

collections, Lacroix and Mugler have since ceased

their haute couture activities.

For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of

income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales; it only adds the a

ura of fashion to their ventures in ready-to-wear clothing and related luxury products

such as shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that earn greater

returns for the company. Excessive commercialization and profit-making can be

damaging, however. Cardin, for example, licensed with abandon in the 1980s and his name

lost most of its fashionable cachet when anyone could buy Cardin luggage at a discount store.

It is their ready-to-wear collections that are available to a wider audience, adding a

splash of glamour and the feel of haute

couture to more wardrobes.

The 1960s also featured a revolt against established fashion

standards by mods, rockers, and hippies, as well as an increasing

internationalization of the fashion scene. Jet travel had spawned a jet set

that partied—and shopped—just as happily in New York as in Paris. Rich women

no longer felt that a Paris dress was necessarily better than one sewn elsewhere.

While Paris is still pre-eminent in the fashion world, it is no

longer the sole arbiter of fashion.

Couture Samples:


“Fashion Fairy Tale”~Lauren Milligan

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty, cover

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

Lacroix Sleeping Beauty

L auren  Milligan                                                                                       04 February 2011

CHRISTIAN LACROIX’S biography was never going to be captured in a simple, step-by-step story, so author Camilla Morton has woven it in to a fairy tale: Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty, illustrated by Lacroix himself.

“The book is a tale of two icons,” Morton told us. “Both well loved, both inspiring, and both living in magical kingdoms. I came up with the idea as I didn’t think a dry biography seemed an interesting prospect, nor could it hope to capture the mystique that surrounds the creative souls that punctuate the industry with their imagination. I thought the best way to tell their tales would be as a very special ‘Once Upon a Time’.”

Lacroix’s is the first in a series of designer biographies-cum-fairy- tales, written by Morton and illustrated by the designer – with Manolo Blahnik and Diane von Furstenberg to follow. “Its magical,” Morton said of her relationship with Lacroix. “He is a gentleman, and such a kind, inspiring friend, I feel honoured I was able to do this with him.”

Read more about the book in the March issue of Vogue, out now.


L’Histore de Mode~Codpiece

 

Metal Codpieces, 16th Century

 

Codpiece

A codpiece (from Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) is a

covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of

men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was held

closed by string ties, buttons, or other methods. It was an important item

of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries, and is still worn in the

modern era in performance costumes for rock music and metal musicians and

in the leather subculture.

From the ancient world there are extant depictions of the codpiece; for example,

archaeological recovery at Minoan Knossos on Crete has yielded figurines, some of which

are clad in codpieces. Most of what is objectively known about the cut, fit, and materials

of Renaissance clothing is learned from realistic portraits, clothing inventories, descriptive

receipts for payments of artifacts, or tailors’ cutting guides.In the 14th century, men’s

hose were two separate legs worn over linen drawers, leaving a man’s genitals covered only by a

layer of linen. As the century wore on and men’s hemlines rose, the hose became longer and

joined at the centre back but remained open at the centre front. The shortening of the cote

or doublet resulted in under-disguised genitals, so the codpiece began life as a

triangular piece of fabric covering the gap.

As time passed, codpieces became shaped and padded to

emphasize rather than to conceal, reaching their peak of size

and decoration in the 1540s before falling out of use by the 1590s.

Armor of the 16th century followed civilian fashion, and for a time

armored codpieces were a prominent addition to the best full harnesses.

A few of these are on display in museums today: the Metropolitan Museum

of Art in New York City has one, as does the Higgins Armory in Worcester,

Massachusetts; the armour of Henry VIII in the Tower of London has a

codpiece. In later periods, the codpiece became an object of the derision

showered on outlandish fashions. Renaissance humorist François

Rabelais jokingly refers to a book titled On the Dignity of Codpieces

in the foreword to his book The Histories of Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Through the same linguistic route, cods became

a modern slang term for the male genitalia.

Codpieces are worn in leather subcultural attire to cover and confine the

genitals of a man, sometimes while wearing leather chaps. The codpiece crossed over

from the leather subculture to become an established part of heavy metal fashion

performance costume when Rob Halford, of the band Judas Priest, began wearing clothing

adopted from the gay biker and leather subculture while promoting the Hell Bent for

Leather Album in 1978. Ian Anderson, front man for Jethro Tull, wore a codpiece during his

performances in the mid-1970s.

Gene Simmons of the American Rock Band Kiss often wore black and silver

costumes with codpieces. Shock rock performer Blackie Lawless, leader of the

group WASP, wore a codpiece that features a saw blade. Heavy metal singer King

Diamond has been known to wear a codpiece as part of his performance outfits.Electric

Six lead singer Dick Valentine can be seen wearing a brightly flashing codpiece in the

music video for the band’s 2003 hit single Danger! High Voltage. Metal singer Till

Lindemann of Rammstein occasionally wears codpieces on stage.

Black metal musician and Satanist Infernus

wore a codpiece as part of his attire during the Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam

era of Gorgoroth. William Murderface also wears a codpiece on

several occasions. Alice Cooper regularly wears bright red codpieces in concert.

GWAR front man Oderus Urungus wears a codpiece

called The Cuttlefish of Cthulu.

Codpieces:

 

Leather Codpiece

Batman in a codpiece

Vintage custom Codpiece

Armor codpiece

 

Oderus Urungus of metal band GWAR wearing a codpiece in a 2004 concert

Museum Exhibit on Codpieces


L’Histoire de Mode #1~Shoulder Pads

 

Shoulder Pads In Time

Shoulder pads are a type of fabric-covered padding used in men’s and women’s clothing to give the wearer the illusion of having broader and less sloping shoulders. In men’s styles, shoulder pads are often used in suits, jackets and overcoats, usually sewn at the top of the shoulder and fastened between the lining and the outer fabric layer. In women’s clothing, their inclusion depends on the fashions of the day. Their use is particularly associated with clothing of the early 1940s and the 1980s. Although from a non-fashion point of view they are generally for people with narrow or sloping shoulders, there are also quite a few cases in which shoulder pads will be necessary for a suit or blazer in order to compensate for certain fabrics’ natural properties, most notably suede blazers, due to the weight of the material.

1930

Shoulder pads originally became popular for women in the 1930s when

fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli included them in her designs of 1931, and the following

year Joan Crawford wore them in the film “Letty Lynton”. In the beginning, they were shaped

as a semicircle or small triangle, and were stuffed with wool, cotton or sawdust. They were

positioned at the top of the sleeve, to extend the shoulder line. A good example of this

is their use in “leg o’ mutton” sleeves, or the smaller puffed sleeves which were revived at

this time, and based on styles from the 1890s.

1940

After World War II began in 1939, women’s fashions became increasingly militarised.

Jackets and coats in particular were influenced by masculine styles and shoulder pads became bulkier and were

positioned at the top of the shoulder to create a solid look. Dresses too were made with shoulder pads;

soon the style was universal, found in all garments excepting lingerie but tapering off later in the

decade after the war was over and women yearned for a softer, more feminine look.

During the late 1940s to about 1951, some dresses featured a soft, smaller shoulder pad with

so little padding as to be barely noticeable. Its function seems to have been to slightly shape the shoulder line.

1950-1960

During the 1950s and 1960s small padded shoulder pads appeared only

in women’s jackets and coats—not in dresses, knitwear or blouses as

they had previously during the heyday of the early 1940s.

1970

Shoulder pads made their next appearance in women’s clothing in the early 1970s,

through the influence of British fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki and her label Biba.

Biba produced designs influenced by the styles of the 1930s and 1940s, and so a soft version

of the shoulder pad was revived. Ossie Clark was another London designer using shoulder

pads at the time. These styles did not, however, reach mainstream acceptance, and

so the popularity was relatively short lived.

1980

During the early 1980s there was a resurgence of interest in the ladies’ evening wear styles of the

early 1940s: peplums, batwing sleeves and other design elements of the times were re-interpreted for a new market.

The shoulder pad helped define the silhouette and was reintroduced in cut foam versions, especially

in well-cut suits reminiscent of the WWII era. Before too long, these masculinized shapes were adopted by women

seeking success in the corporate world and became an icon of women’s attempts to smash the

glass ceiling, a mission that was added by their notable appearance in the TV series Dynasty.

As the decade wore on, shoulder pads became the defining fashion statement of the era, known

as power dressing and bestowing the perception of status and position onto those who wore them. They became

both larger and more ubiquitous—every garment from the brassiere upwards would come with its own

set of shoulder pads. To prevent excessive shoulder padding, velcro was sewn onto the pads so that

the wearer could choose how many sets to wear. By the end of the era, some shoulder pads

were the size of dinner plates. It was inevitable that as the cycle of fashion

turned, they would lose favour in the early 1990s.

1990

The shoulder pad fashion carried over from the late 1980s with some popularity in the

early 1990s, but tastes were changing. Some designers continued to produce ranges featuring

shoulder pads into the mid-1990s, as shoulder pads were prominent in women’s formal

suits, and matching top-bottom attire, highly exampled in The Nanny. but the marketplace had

spoken—the styles now looked out of date and were shunned by the young and fashion-conscious.

Appearances were reduced to smaller, subtler versions augmenting the

shoulder lines of jackets and coats.

2000

In the late 2000s, a resurgence of shoulder pads appeared on many runways, fashion

designer collections and became mainstream among many people who were interested in

fashion. By the 2009-2010 seasons shoulder pads had made there way in

the mainstream market again. In 2010 many retailers

like Wal-Mart had shoulder pads on at

least half of all womens tops

and blouses.

Modern Samples:


 


L’Histoire de Mode #2~Fashion Week

 

 

Fashion Week History

In 1943, the first New York Fashion Week was held,

with one main purpose: to distract attention from French

fashion during WWII, when workers in the fashion industry

were unable to travel to Paris. This was an opportune

moment – as for centuries designers in America were thought

to be reliant on the French for inspiration. The fashion

publicist Eleanor Lambert organized an event she called

‘Press Week’ to showcase American designers for fashion journalists,

who had previously ignored their works. The Press Week was a success,

and, as a result, magazines like Vogue (which were normally filled with

French designs) began to feature more and more American innovations.

Until 1994, shows were held in different locations, such as hotels, or lofts.

Eventually, after a structural accident at a Michael Kors show, the event

moved to Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, where it remained

until 2010, when the shows relocated to Lincoln Center. However, long before

Lambert, there were fashion shows throughout America. In 1903, an NYC shop, called

Ehrich Brothers, put on what is thought to have been the country’s first fashion show,

to lure middle-class females into the store. By 1910, many big department stores

were holding shows of their own.

It is likely that American retailers saw that they were called

‘fashion parades’ in Paris couture salons and decided to use the idea.

These parades were an effective way to promote stores, and improved

their status. By the 1920s, the fashion show had been used by retailers

up and down the country. They were staged, and often held in the shop’s

restaurant during lunch or teatime. These shows were usually more theatrical

than those of today, heavily based upon a single theme, and accompanied

with a narrative commentary. The shows were hugely popular, enticing

crowds in their thousands – crowds so large, that stores in New York in the

fifties had to obtain a license to have live models. Nowadays, access to

New York Fashion Week is by invitation only, and only fashion magazine

editors, fashion magazine journalists, models (and ex-models)

and celebrities are invited.

Other buyers are restricted to the showrooms and stores, and the

articles in the magazines. The dominance of the big four has been

criticised for benefiting industry participants. For example, buyers,

journalists, models and celebrities can limit their travel and simply move

from one city to the other over the four week period. This arrangement

has been criticized for stifling manufacturing employment in the UK

and design talent in emerging fashion hubs such as Los Angeles.

 

Fashion Week Schedule

New York, London, Milan and Paris each host a fashion week twice a year with

New York kicking off each season and the other cities following in the

aforementioned order.

There are two major seasons per year – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer.

For Womenswear, the Autumn/Winter shows always start in

New York in February. Spring/Summer shows start in September

in London. Menswear Autumn/Winter shows start in January in Milan

for typically less than a week followed by another short week in Paris.

Menswear Spring/Summer shows are done in June. Womenswear Haute

Couture shows typically happen in Paris a week after

the Menswear Paris shows.

Over the past few years, more and more designers have shown

inter-seasonal collections between the traditional Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons.

These collections are usually more commercial than the main season collections and

help shorten the customer’s wait for new season clothes. The inter-seasonal

collections are Resort/Cruise (before Spring/Summer) and Pre-Fall (before Autumn/Winter).

There is no fixed schedule for these shows in any of the major fashion capitals but

they typically happen three months after the main season shows. Some designers show

their inter-seasonal collections outside their home city. For example, Karl Lagerfeld

has shown his Resort and Pre-Fall collections for Chanel in cities such

as Moscow, Los Angeles and Monte Carlo instead of Paris. Many designers

also put on presentations as opposed to traditional shows during Resort and

Pre-Fall either to cut down costs or because they feel the clothes

can be better understood in this medium.

Some fashion weeks can be genre-specific, such as a

Miami Fashion Week (swimwear), Rio Summer (swimwear),

Prêt-a-Porter (ready-to-wear) Fashion Week, Couture

(one-of-a-kind designer original) Fashion Week and Bridal

Fashion Week, while Portland (Oregon, USA) Fashion Week

shows some eco-friendly designers.


L’Histoire de Mode #1~Stiletto

 

 

Stiletto Heels

A stiletto heel is a long, thin, high heel found on some boots and shoes, usually for

women. It is named after the stiletto dagger, the phrase being first recorded in the early 1930s.

Stiletto heels may vary in length from 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) to 25 cm (10 inches) or more if a

platform sole is used, and are sometimes defined as having a diameter at the ground of

less than 1 cm (slightly less than half an inch). Stiletto-style heels 5 cm or shorter are called

kitten heels. Not all high slim heels merit the description stiletto. The extremely slender

original Italian-style stiletto heels of the late 1950s and very early 1960s were no more

than 5mm in diameter for much of their length, although the heel sometimes

flared out a little at the top-piece (tip). After their demise in the mid-late 1960s,

such slender heels were difficult to find until recently due to changes in the way

heels were mass-produced. A real stiletto heel has a stem of solid steel or alloy. The

more usual method of mass-producing high shoe heels, i.e. moulded plastic with an

internal metal tube for reinforcement, does not

achieve the true stiletto shape.

Relatively thin high heels were certainly around in the late 19th

century, as numerous fetish drawings attest. Firm photographic

evidence exists in the form of photographs of Parisian singer Mistinguett

from the 1940s. These shoes were designed by Andre Perugia, who began

designing shoes in 1906. It seems unlikely that he invented the stiletto, but

he is probably the first firmly documented designer of the high, slim heel. The

word stiletto is derived from stylus, meaning a pin or stalk. Its usage in footwear

first appeared in print in the New Statesman magazine in 1959: “She came …forward,

her walk made lopsided by the absence of one heel of the stilettos”.

High heel shoes were worn by men and women courtiers. The design of the

stiletto heel originally came from the late Kristin S. Wagner but would

not become popular until the late 1950s. The stiletto heel came with the advent of

technology using a supporting metal shaft or stem embedded into the heel, instead

of wood or other, weaker materials that required a wide heel. This revival of the

opulent heel style can be attributed to the designer Roger Vivier and such designs

became very popular in the 1950s.

As time went on, stiletto heels became known more for their erotic

nature than for their ability to make height. Stiletto heels are a common

fetish item. As a fashion item, their popularity was changing over time.

After an initial wave of popularity in the 1950s, they reached their most refined

shape in the early 1960s, when the toes of the shoes which bore them became as

slender and elongated as the stiletto heels themselves. As a result of the overall sharpness

of outline, it was customary for women to refer to the whole shoe as a “stiletto”, not

just the heel, via synecdoche (pars pro toto). Although they officially faded from the

scene after the Beatle era began, their popularity continued at street level, and women

stubbornly refused to give them up even after they could no longer readily find them in

the mainstream shops.

A version of the stiletto heel was reintroduced as soon as 1974

by Manolo Blahnik, who dubbed his “new” heel the Needle. Similar heels were stocked at

the big Biba store in London, by Russell and Bromley and by smaller boutiques. Old,

unsold stocks of pointed-toe stilettos, and contemporary efforts to replicate

them (lacking the true stiletto heel because of changes in the way heels

were by then being mass-produced) were sold in street fashion markets

and became popular with punks, and with other fashion “tribes” of the

late 1970s until supplies of the inspirational original styles dwindled in

the early 1980s. Subsequently, round-toe shoes with slightly thicker

(sometimes cone-shaped) semi-stiletto heels, often very high in an attempt

to convey slenderness (the best example of this being the shoes sold in

London by Derber), were frequently worn at the office with

wide-shouldered power suits.

The style survived through much

of the 1980s but almost completely disappeared during the 1990s,

when professional and college-age women took to wearing shoes

with thick, block heels. However, the slender stiletto heel staged

a major comeback after 2000, when young women adopted

the style for dressing up office wear or adding a feminine

touch to casual wear, like jeans. Stiletto heels are particularly

associated with the image of the femme fatale. They are often

considered to be a seductive item of clothing, and often

feature in popular culture.

Stilettos give the optical illusion of a longer, slimmer leg, a smaller foot,

and a greater overall height. They also alter the wearer’s posture and gait,

flexing the calf muscles, and making the

bust and buttocks more

prominent.

All high heels counter the natural functionality of the foot,

which can create skeleton/muscular problems if they are worn

excessively. Stiletto heels are no exception, but some people assume

that because they are thinner they must be worse for you. In fact, they are

safer to wear than the other extreme of high heel fashion, the platform shoe.

Despite their impracticality, their popularity remains undiminished – as Terry

DeHavilland (UK shoe designer) has said, “people say they’re bad for the

feet but they’re good for the mind. What’s more important?”

Stiletto heels concentrate a large amount of force into a small area.

The great pressure under such a heel (greater than that under the feet of an elephant.)

can cause damage to carpets and floors. The stiletto heel will also sink into soft

ground, making it impractical for

outdoor wear on grass.

Samples:

Ed Hardy

Dior

Jimmy Choo, Cole Haan, Sergio Rossi, Burberry, Louboutin, Guess, MIA, Madden

Balenciaga

Ducati

DeSquared F/W 10 (look familiar?)

 

 


L’Histoire de Mode~Naturally Colored Cotton

 

 

Naturally colored cotton is cotton that has been bred to

grow on the plant to have colors other than the yellowish off-white

typical of modern commercial cotton fibers. Colors grown include

red, green and several shades of brown. The cotton’s natural color

does not fade. Yields are typically lower and the fiber is shorter and

weaker but has a softer feel than the more commonly available “white” cotton.

Since it doesn’t have pesticides, chemicals, bleaches or artificial dyes,

fewer allergies and respiratory problems are found. This form of cotton

also feels softer to the skin and has a pleasant smell. Naturally

Colored Cotton is still relatively rare because it requires specialized

harvest techniques and facilities, making it more expensive to harvest

than white cotton. By the 1990s most indigenous colored cotton landraces

or cultivars grown in Africa, Asia and Central and South America were

replaced by all-white, commercial varieties.

Naturally colored cotton is believed to have originated in the Americas

around 5000 years ago in the Andes. Naturally colored cotton today mostly comes

from pre-Colombian stocks created by the indigenous peoples of South

America (Vreeland, 1999). Mochica Indians could be attributed with growing naturally

colored cotton of myriad hues, which they maintained for over the last two

millenniums on the northern coast of Peru.

Naturally colored cotton comes from pigments found in

cotton pigments and produce shades ranging from tan to green

and brown. Naturally-pigmented green cotton derives its color from

caffeic-acid, a derivative of innamic acid, found in the suberin (wax)

layer which is deposited in alternating layers with cellulose around the outside

of the cotton fiber.While green colored cotton comes from wax layers, brown

and tan cottons derive their color from tannin vacuoles in the

lumen of the fiber cells.

The naturally colored cotton has a small fiber and is not suitable

for heavy machine spinning. During the World War II the insufficient supply

of dye led to the cultivation of green and brown cotton in the Soviet Union.

The US government also showed interest in cultivation of naturally colored cotton

but later aborted the project due to low yield and short staple length.

Later on US government instructed a famous agronomist, J.O.Ware, to study the Soviet cotton plants to determine whether they were commercially viable in the U.S. Ware and his colleagues concluded that the green and brown cotton plants yielded too little lint that was too short in staple length. Colored cotton was officially regulated to obscurity. Only in a few places where people still entranced by its possibilities.”

Due to smaller fiber, it becomes unpractical to use naturally colored cotton

for clothing manufacturers. But now, colored cotton is literally squeezed in with the conventional

white cotton to make its fiber longer and stronger than other naturally colored cotton to be

used in typical looms. Since this hybrid cotton fiber is stronger, it is

being used by Levis, L.L. Bean, Eileen Fisher, and

Fieldcrest for clothes like khakis.

A new arrival on the Western fashion market, naturally pigmented

cotton originally flourished some 5,000 years ago. Its revival today

draws on stocks first developed and cultivated by Indians in South and

Central America. Recent commercial cultivation currently uses

pre-Colombian stocks created by the indigenous peoples of South America.

Commercial cultivation still continues in South America as many big US

companies such as Patagonia, Levi Strauss and Esprit are buying naturally

grown cotton along with white cotton which requires significant

amount of insecticides and pesticides.

As mentioned the naturally colored cotton had smaller fiber which were

not suitable for mechanical looms used today, therefore kept naturally

colored cotton to enter in the commercial market. In 1982, Sally Fox

a graduate in Integrated Pest Management from University of California with a

Masters Degree started researching on colored cotton and integrated her knowledge

and experience in technology and introduced first long fiber of naturally colored cotton.

Sally Fox later started her company, Natural Cotton Colors, Inc. and got patents in different shades

including: green, Coyote brown, Buffalo brown, and Palo Verde green under FoxFiber®.

Later on the technology was further improved by a cotton breeder Raymond Bird in 1984.

Bird began experimenting in Reedley, California with red, green and brown cotton to

improve fiber quality. Later on Raymond Bird along with his brother and C. Harvey

Campbell Jr., a California agronomist and cotton breeder, and formed BC Cotton Inc.

to work with naturally colored cottons. Naturally colored cotton usually

come in four standard colors – green, brown, red (a reddish brown)

and mocha (similar to tan).

There is experimental evidence to demonstrate that

naturally-pigmented cottons, especially green cotton, have excellent

sun protection properties, when compared with unbleached white

cotton that needs to be treated with dyes or finishes to obtain similar

properties. It is hypothesized that the pigments in naturally-pigmented

cotton fibers are present to provide protection from ultraviolet radiation

for the embryonic cotton seeds, however they can also provide protection

from the sun’s harmful rays for consumers who wear garments manufactured

from these naturally-pigmented fibers. The UPF values of the naturally-pigmented

cottons examined in a university study remained high enough, even after 80 AFUs

(AATCC Fading Units)of light exposure and repeated laundering, that the fabrics

merited sun protection ratings of “good” to “very good” according to ASTM 6603

voluntary labeling guidelines for UV-protective textiles.

Naturally colored cotton is unique and exceptionally different from

white cotton as it does not need to be dyed. According to, agronomists the cost

of dying could be up to half of the value, and also environmentally friendly,

as it eliminates disposal costs for toxic dye waste. According to Dr. Frank

Werber, National Program Leader for Fabric and Materials, Agriculture Research

Service, USDA, naturally colored cotton is ecologically valid as well as economical.

Elimination of dyeing in production could save from $.60-1.50 per pound of fabric.

Naturally colored cotton is also resistant to change as compared with the

conventional dyed white cotton. After laundering, the color becomes

stronger and more intense, a characteristic documented during research

studies at Texas Tech University. The length of time required to “bring out” the

color varies with color and variety. Eventually, the colors may start to return

to their original color. Some naturally colored cotton darkens with

exposure to the sun. However, green is less stable and fades

to tan when exposed to sunlight.

Due to the non-industrialized product naturally colored cottons

yield less per acre, but growers are paid higher prices for their harvest.

In 1993, colored cotton prices ranged from $3.60 to $4.50 per pound

compared to conventional white cotton at $.60 to $.90 per pound.


L’Histoire de Mode~Levi Strauss

 

Strauss was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

 

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss was born in Buttenheim, in the Franconian region of Bavaria, Germany, to Hirsch Strauss and his wife Rebecca (Haass) Strauss. At the age of 18, Strauss, his mother and two sisters sailed for the United States to join his brothers Jonas and Louis, who had begun a wholesale dry goods business in New York City called J. Strauss Brother & Co.

The family decided to open a West Coast branch of the family dry goods business in San Francisco, which was the commercial hub of the California Gold Rush. Levi was chosen to represent the family, and after becoming an American citizen in January of 1853, he then caught another steamship for San Francisco, arriving in early March 1853.

Strauss opened his dry goods wholesale business as Levi Strauss & Co. and imported fine dry goods – clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs – from his brothers in New York. He sold the goods to the small general stores and men’s mercantiles of California and the West. Around 1856 Levi’s sister Fanny, her husband David Stern and their infant son Jacob moved from New York to San Francisco to join the business.

In late 1872 Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada tailor, started making men’s work pants with metal points of strain for greater strength. He wanted to patent the process but needed a business helper, so he turned to Levi Strauss, from whom he purchased some of his fabric.On May 20, 1873, Strauss and Davis received United States patent for using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of denim work pants. Levi Strauss & Co. began manufacturing the famous Levi’s brand of jeans, using fabric from the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, New Hampshire.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Levi’s jeans became a symbol of youth culture, being worn by revolutionaries and rock stars. They were famously photographed being worn by many of the young people who helped to dismantle the first bricks when the Berlin Wall was brought down in 1989.

Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902 at the age of 73. He never married, so he left the business to his four nephews, Jacob, Sigmund, Louis, and Abraham Stern, the sons of his sister Fanny and her husband David Stern. He also left bequests to a number of charities such as the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum and the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum. Levi’s fortune was estimated to be around 6 million dollars. He was buried in Colma, California

A Levi Strauss museum is maintained in Buttenheim, Germany, located in the 1687 house where Strauss was born. There is also a Visitors Center at Levi Strauss & Co. world headquarters in San Francisco, which features a number of historical exhibits.

 


L’Histoire de Mode~Lolita (JSF pt.3)

 

Lolita Fashion:

Lolita is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is primarily influenced by Victorian clothing as well as costumes from the Rococo period. Lolita has made this into a unique fashion by adding Gothic and original design elements to the look. From this, Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub styles and has created a devoted subculture in Japan. The Lolita look consists primarily of a knee length skirt or dress, headdress, blouse, petticoat, knee high socks or stockings and rocking horse or high heel/platform shoes.  Although the origin of Lolita fashion is unclear, it is likely the movement started in the late 1970s when famous labels including Pink House, Milk and Angelic Pretty began selling clothes that would be considered “Lolita” by today’s standards. Shortly after that came Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, and Metamorphose temps de fille. In the 1990s, Lolita fashion became better recognized, with bands like Malice Mizer and other Visual Kei (or visual type) bands coming into popularity. These bands wore intricate costumes, which fans began adopting as their own style. The style soon spread from its origins in the Kansai region, and ultimately reached Tokyo where it became popularized throughout Japanese youth culture. Today, Lolita fashion has grown so much in popularity that it can be found even in department stores in Japan.

 

Gothic Lolita

Gothic lolita, sometimes shortened to GothLoli (ゴスロリ, gosu rori), is a

combination of the Gothic and Lolita fashion. The fashion originated in

the late 1990s in Harajuku and was promoted by Visual Kei bands such as

Malice Mizer, which brought it to greater popularity amongst fans of

alternative street fashion and followers of the musical style. Gothic Lolita

fashion is characterized by a darker make-up and clothing. Red lipstick

and smokey or neatly defined eyes, created using black eyeliner, are

typical styles, although as with all Lolita substyles the look remains fairly

natural. Though Gothic make-up is associated with a white powdered

face, this is usually considered bad taste within the Lolita fashion. Gothic

Lolita usually uses dark color schemes including black, dark blues and

purples, although black and white remains popular.  As with some Western

Gothic styles, cross jewelry and other religious symbols are also used

to accessorize the Gothic Lolita look. Other accessories in the Gothic Lolita

style include bags and purses which are often in shapes like bats, coffins, and crucifixes.

Mana, a Visual Kei artist known for dressing in the fashion, created a style of the

Gothic Lolita fashion which he calls “Elegant Gothic Lolita”, most connected

with the fashion label Moi-même-Moitié, which has grown to be very successful.

To describe the designs of his new label, he encouraged the use of the aforementioned

term Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL) and Elegant Gothic Aristocrat (EGA).

Sweet Lolita

Sweet Lolita, also known as ama-loli (甘ロリ, ama rori) in Japanese, is heavily

influenced by Rococo styles as well as Victorian and Edwardian clothing. Focusing on the

child and fantasy aspects of Lolita, the Sweet Lolita style adopts the basic Lolita

format and uses lighter colors and childlike motifs in its design. Makeup used in

sweet Lolita is common throughout most Lolita styles. Pink, Peach, or Pearl make

up styles are highly ‘sweet’ and used by many Sweet Lolitas. This look, paired with

a shade of bright pink, red or sometimes nude-pink lipstick, is commonly used as

well. Outfits consist of pastels, fruit themes (cherries or strawberries, or any type

of sugary fruit), flowers (roses, jasmines, lily, cherry blossoms) lace, bows, animal

themes (cats, bunnies, puppies) and ribbons to emphasize the cuteness of the

design. Popular themes in the sweet Lolita are references to Alice in Wonderland,

sweets, and classic fairy tales. Jewelry often reflects this fantasy theme.

Headdresses, bonnets and bows are a popular hair accessory to the sweet Lolita

look. Bags and purses usually have a princess-like design and often take the shape

of strawberries, crowns, hearts, and stuffed animals. Examples for Sweet Lolita brands

are Angelic Pretty, Baby, The Stars Shine Bright and Metamorphose temps de fille. Emily Temple

cute (sister brand of Shirley Temple, a Japanese boutique), Jane Marple, and

MILK are brands that carry more clothing that would be considered more

casual, and are available to purchase at department

stores in Japan.

 

Classic Lolita

Classic Lolita is a more mature style of Lolita that focuses on

Baroque, Regency, and Rococo styles. Colors and patterns used

in classic Lolita can be seen as somewhere between the Gothic and

sweet styles; it is not as dark as Gothic Lolita, but not as cutesy as

sweet Lolita. This look can be seen as the more sophisticated, mature

Lolita style because of its use of small, intricate patterns, as well more

muted colors on the fabric and in the overall design. Designs containing a-lines,

as well as Empire waists are also used to add to the more mature look of

the classic style. Most classic Lolita outfits, however, still stick to the basic

Lolita silhouette. Shoes and accessories are less whimsical and more functional.

Jewelry with intricate designs is also common. The makeup used in classic Lolita

is often a more muted version of the sweet Lolita makeup, with an emphasis placed

on natural coloring. Classical Lolita brands include

Juliette et Justine, Innocent World,

Victorian Maiden, Triple Fortune,

and Mary Magdalene.

 

Punk Lolita:

Punk Lolita (or Lolita Punk) adds punk fashion elements to Lolita fashion. Motifs that

are usually found in punk clothing, such as tattered fabric, ties, safety pins and

chains, screen-printed fabrics, plaids, and short, androgynous hairstyles

are incorporated into the Lolita look. The most popular garments are

blouses or cutsews and skirts, although dresses and jumper skirts

are also worn. Common footwear includes boots, Mary Janes

or oxfords with platforms. Common Punk Lolita brands are A+Lidel,

Putumayo, h. NAOTO and Na+H. Many of the Japanese punk Lolita

fashion brands take influence from London’s famous Camden Town Markets.

Vivienne Westwood, who, though not a Lolita designer, has items

and collections that reflect Lolita sensibilities, especially in her

Japanese collections, is popular in the punk Lolita scene.

Males have known to take up Punk Lolita fashion, and

as well as Victorian style Lolita fashion.

More

Because of the ‘do-it-yourself’ nature of Lolita fashion, many other themes have come out of the basic Lolita frame. These styles are often not as well known as the ones mentioned above, but they do showcase the creative nature of the Lolita fashion, and illustrate how people make the fashion their own. Listed below are just a few examples of the smaller subtypes of Lolita fashion:

  • Wa Lolita or Wa rori (和ロリ), traditional Japanese clothing styles with the Lolita fashion.
  • Qi Lolita , a similar style but uses Chinese clothing and accessories in place of Japanese.
  • Ōji (王子) or Ōji-sama (王子様),  meaning “prince”, is a Japanese fashion that is considered the male version of Lolita fashion. Worn by both sexes.
  • Hime (姫), or “Princess,” Lolita is characterized by a princess-style look which typically includes a tiara and a bustle back skirt.
  • Guro Lolita (Gore Lolita),  the portrayal of a ‘broken doll’ or “Innocent Gore” by using items such as fake blood, make-up, and bandages to give the appearance of injury.
  • and many many more.

Well this was the last part in our “Japanese Street Fashion” series, I thoroughly emjoyed doing the research & sharing this tiny obsession of my mine & my sisters. If you like this please comment & I will keep doing three part history series on international fashion. Give us feedback so we know what you like.

Thanks,

~Chris J.~


L’Histoire de Mode~Harajuku (JSF pt.2)

This is part two of the three part history series. Yesterday we talked about the main branch, Japanese Street Fashion, today we are talking about Harajuku Fashion Lolita Fashion.

 

 

Harajuku:

 

Harajuku is the common name for the area around Harajuku Station

on the Yamanote Line in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan. Every Sunday,

young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei,

and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing.

The fashion styles of these youths rarely conform to one particular style and are usually

a mesh of many. Most young people gather on Jingu Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that

connects Harajuku to the neighboring Meiji Shrine area.

 

Harajuku is also a fashion capital of the world, renowned for its

unique street fashion.  Harajuku street style is promoted in

Japanese and international publications such as Kera, Tune,

Gothic & Lolita Bible and Fruits. Many prominent designers and

fashion ideas have sprung from Harajuku and incorporated themselves

into other fashions throughout the world. Harajuku is also a large

shopping district that includes international brands, its own brands,

and shops selling clothes young people can afford.

 

Harajuku is an area between Shinjuku and Shibuya. Local landmarks include

the headquarters of NHK, Meiji Shrine, and Yoyogi Park. The area has two main shopping

streets, Omotesandō and Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dōri). The latter caters to youth fashions

and has many small stores selling Gothic Lolita, visual kei, rockabilly, hip-hop, and

punk outfits,in addition to fast food outlets and so forth. Omotesandō has recently seen

a rise in openings of up-scale fashion shops such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada. The

avenue is sometimes referred to as “Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées”. Until 2004, one side of the

avenue was occupied by the Dōjunkai Aoyama apāto, Bauhaus-inspired apartments built in

1927 after the 1923 Kantō earthquake. In 2006 the buildings were controversially

destroyed by Mori Building and replaced with the “Omotesando Hills” shopping mall,

designed by Tadao Ando. The area known as “Ura-Hara”, back streets of Harajuku,

is a center of Japanese fashion for younger people—brands such as A Bathing Ape

and Undercover have shops in the area.

 

Harajuku as it is now traces its roots to the end of World War II during

the Allied occupation of Japan. U.S. soldiers and government civilians and

their families lived in a nearby housing area called Washington Heights.

It became an area where curious young people flocked to experience a different

culture and stores in the area stocked goods marketed towards middle and

upper class Japanese and Americans. In 1958, Central Apartments were built

in the area and were quickly occupied by fashion designers, models,

and photographers. In 1964, when the Summer Olympics came to

Tokyo the Harajuku area was further developed, and the idea of “Harajuku”

slowly began to take a more concrete shape. After the Olympics the young

people who hung out in the area, frequently referred to as the Harajuku-zoku,

or the Harajuku tribe, began to develop a distinct culture and style unique to

different groups and the area. From this distinct style grew the culture of

Harajuku as a gathering ground for youths and as a fashion mecca.

 

The term “Harajuku Girls” has been used by English-language media to describe

teenagers dressed in any fashion style who are in the area of Harajuku.

This fashion infuses multiple looks and styles to create a unique form of dress.

The cyber-punk look takes its influence from gothic fashion and incorporates

neon and metallic colors. However, it isn’t as popular as it was in the 1990s.

Punk style in Harajuku is more of a fashion than a statement. Its fashion mainly

consists of dark colors, plaid, chains, and zippers. Punk style is also one of the

more gender-neutral fashions in Harajuku. Ganguro is a style that symbolizes the

average American teenager. The term translates to ‘black-faced’.

 

The basic look is what Westerners would call a ‘California girl’,

with bleached hair, dark skin, fake eyelashes and nails. It is not

clear how Ganguro came to be. Many assume it originated in

the early 1990s, when singer and performer Janet Jackson was popular.

Cosplay is more of a costume-based style. A cosplay enthusiast

will usually dress as a fictional or iconic character from a band, game,

movie, anime, or manga. Ura-Hara is another section of Harajuku,

which caters to a mostly male population interested in a hip-hop,

graffiti, and skater fashion and culture. Ura-Hara is seen as the

opposite of Harajuku in that it’s more hidden and reserved.

In addition to Harajuku is its counterpart, known as

Visual Kei. this refers to the style of bands and their fanbase.

The term Visual Kei literally means a ‘visual style of music’.

The melodies of the music these bands perform often resemble

eighties rock, heavy metal, or techno; in some cases, the sound is a

good mix of the three. The fashion began in the 1980s, when American

metal bands were popular. Japanese fans loved how their idols would

dress frantically and paint makeup wildly on their faces, so they began

to emulate their style. This mimicking is also known is costume play, or cosplay.

 

Some countries have embraced this culture and arrange meetings under the

same fashion as their Japanese counterpart. For example, in Colombia they are frequently

held at the surrounding area of the Virgilio Barco Library in Bogotá.

 

Samples:

 


 


L’Histoire de Mode~Japanese Street Fashion pt.1

This is going to be a three part history series for the next few days in which I will go over the main branch, Japanese Street Fashion, then move onto Harajuku Fashion & then onto Lolita Fashion.

 

Japanese Street Fashion Collage

 

The Beginning:

Japan began to emulate Western fashion during the middle of the

19th century. By the beginning of the 21st century it had altered into

what is known today as ‘street fashion’. The term ‘street fashion’ is

used to describe fashion where the wearer customizes outfits by

adopting a mixture of current and traditional trends. Such clothes

are generally home-made with the use of material purchased at stores.

At present there are many styles of dress in Japan, created from

a mix of both local and foreign labels. Some of these styles are

extreme and avant-garde, similar to the haute couture seen

on European catwalks.

The rise and fall of many of these trends has been chronicled by Shoichi

Aoki since 1997 in the fashion magazine FRUiTS, which is a notable magazine for

the promotion of street fashion in Japan. More recently, Japanese hip-hop,

which has long been present among underground Tokyo’s club scene, has influenced

the mainstream fashion industry. The popularity of the music is so influential that Tokyo’s

youth are imitating their favorite hip hop stars from the way they dress with over-sized

clothes to darkening their skin with ultraviolet rays, usually done by tanning.

Many Japanese youth believe that tanning or being darker is a freedom of expression they

are unable to experience in their circumscribed social role as ‘Japanese’. The idea

of darkening one’s skin to more closely resemble an American hip-hop star or

ethnic group may seem like a fad, but this subculture, the black facers,

do not particularly set themselves apart from many other

sub cultures that have emerged as a result of hip hop.

 

The motives driving the pursuit of fashion in Japan are complex.

Firstly, the relatively large disposable income available to Japanese

youth is significant. Many argue this was made possible through youth

living at home with their parents, reducing living expenses. In addition,

the emergence of a strong youth culture in the 1960s and 1970s that

continues today (especially in the Harajuku district) drives much of

the striving for new and different looks. The rise of consumerism to an

important part of the “national character” of Japan during the economic

boom of the 1980s and even after the bubble burst also contributes

to the feverish pursuit of fashion. These factors result in the

incredibly swift turnover and variability in styles

popular at any one time.

 

Japanese Street Fashion:

If you like this post, then come back tomorrow for Part 2: Harajuku Fashion.

Please rate & comment so I know how I’m doing and what you like to see.

Thanks for coming.


Quote of the Day: 29 Jan. ’11~ Jean-Luc Godard

“Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion.”~Jean-Luc Godard

 

A French-Swiss film director, screen writer and critic. He is often identified with the group of filmmakers known as the Nouvelle Vague, or "French New Wave".