Fashion History

Topics: Versace, Gianni Versace, Milan Pages: 8 (2131 words) Published: May 31, 2012

What is fashion?

Fashion is something we deal with everyday. Even people who say they don't care what they wear choose clothes every morning that say a lot about them and how they feel that day.

One certain thing in the fashion world is change. We are constantly being bombarded with new fashion ideas from music, videos, books, and television. Movies also have a big impact on what people wear. Ray-Ban sold more sunglasses after the movie Men In Black. Sometimes a trend is world­wide. Back in the 1950's, teenagers everywhere dressed like Elvis Presley.

Who dictates fashion?

Musicians and other cultural icons have always influenced what we're wearing, but so have political figures and royalty. Newspapers and magazines report on what Hillary Clinton wears. The recent death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, was a severe blow to the high fashion world, where her clothes were daily news.

Even folks in the 1700s pored over fashion magazines to see the latest styles. Women and dressmakers outside the French court relied on sketches to see what was going on. The famous French King Louis XIV said that fashion is a mirror. Louis himself was renowned for his style, which tended towards extravagant laces and velvets.

How does fashion influence our lives ?

What role does it play in Modern Society ?

I aim to answer these questions in my report.

The history of fashion.


Although prehistoric clothing didn't hold much style it did exist and became the beginning of fashion. The main purpose of prehistoric dress was to ward off insects, protect the body from the environment, and for warmth. There is evidence that a coarse type of fabric was woven. Apparel was merely squares of textiles fastened across the shoulders and at the waist.


The Egyptian style was also simple but held a great deal more beauty than earlier clothing. Most Egyptian clothing was merely wrapped and tied. The main article for men, although clothing was unisex, was the schenti, a wrapped loin cloth. Women wore kalasiris, long clinging skirts that started underneath the breast and went to the ankle. The Egyptians added beauty to their clothes with bright dyes and jewels. Their main fabric was sheer, woven flax (linen); flax was the principal crop along the Nile.


The Minoans lived around the same time as the Egyptians but had a completely different style of dress. The Minoans were one of the earliest cultures to show a more complex design of clothing. Waists were bound with wide belts that topped tiered skirts, flounced in rings . The bodices were cut so low that the breasts were completely exposed. Minoans used linen, wool, or blends of the two. They also used embroidarie techniques.

The Greek chiton (key-ton) was simply two rectangular pieces of fabric that were fastened at the shoulder with fibulae. Fibulae were the first safety pins. They were made from precious metal and often decorated with jewels. The chiton was usually belted at the waist, left one shoulder exposed, or the side hung open (see chiton picture). The Greeks took apart imported silk thread by thread and re- wove it into an even more beautiful material. They used the colors white, scarlet, purple, mustard yellow, indigo, and bright green.

Designer Mariano Fortuny, born 1871 and died 1949, designed dresses using the same style as the Greek chiton.

Today when one of Fortuny's designs surfaces at an auction, they start at $5,000. This shows the impact of past fashions on today's society.


Roman fashion resembles the Greek partly because Greece fell to Rome. Women wore a stola, almost identical to the chiton, which was belted at the waist and attached with fibulae. Men wore the toga, a large semi-circle made of wool. The toga was 18 feet long and 5 1/2 feet wide at its widest part. It was worn draped and wrapped with the right arm free. The right arm was the fighting arm. The folds hung in...
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