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Article

Sarah Scaturro

Technology influences the physical manifestation of fashion, affecting a garment’s appearance and performance. Throughout history, changes in technology affecting the production of materials and the manufacture of garments and accessories have spurred changes in fashion design. In the 20th and 21st centuries, technology has affected not only the look of fashion, but how the fashion system works.

Much of the relationship between technology and fashion centres on textiles. Looms often determine the size and complexity of textiles. Fabric woven on a simple backstrap loom has inherently smaller widths in reference to the size of the human body, whereas fabric woven on the drawloom can be several feet wide and contain more complex weave structures, which translates into more sophisticated patterning options. The drawloom process (which requires two people—the weaver and a person who ‘draws’ up warps at specific points to create the pattern) was mechanized in the early 19th century with the invention of the jacquard loom and its punch card system. Lyons in France and Spitalfields in England were two of the most technologically advanced silk-weaving centres....

Article

Sarah Scaturro

Since the late 20th century, there have been significant changes in the ecological concerns of fashion designers, clothing manufacturers and consumers. There is a growing awareness of the limited natural resources available for clothing production and the polluting, often toxic, by-products produced in the manufacturing process. Both problems are compounded by ever-increasing rates of clothing consumption and disposal. There are several key phrases that are often used interchangeably (although there are slight distinctions) in describing fashion that attempts to address these concerns: ‘eco-fashion’, ‘sustainable fashion’, ‘fair-trade fashion’ and ‘green fashion’. There is no single answer or best practice for creating or participating in environmentally sustainable fashion; a participant in the fashion system might focus on just one aspect, seeking to make a small, but hopefully effective change to the current fashion paradigm. Although as recently as the late 1990s, environmentally minded fashion was associated with an unsophisticated, oversimplified and so-called ‘natural’ style, the early 20th century has seen a rise in sustainable clothing of high-quality fabrication and fashionable design....

Article

Ann Poulson

Fashion illustration is a work of visual art, usually in the medium of drawing, print or watercolour painting, reproduced and published in order to disseminate fashion news (see figs 1 and 2). Before the 1670s, the dissemination of fashion depended on portraits of fashion leaders, such as van Dyck’s portraits of the members of the court of King Charles I of England, reproduced by means of engraved prints. These engraved prints were the forerunners to the fashion plate in both technique and style (see also Fashion plate and costume book. The fashion plate, which usually showed the full figure, often including a back view, was created solely to illustrate and promote the latest fashions. By the middle of the 17th century, certain artists, such as Abraham Bosse in France and Wenceslaus Hollar in England, specialized in these types of engravings.

The first fashion journal, Le Mercure Galant, combined fashion plates with descriptive text. It was published sporadically from ...

Article

Michelle Tolini Finamore and Ann Poulson

The emergence of the motion picture film as a popular form of entertainment, together with the distribution networks established by the film industry and the proliferation of purpose-built cinemas in the first few decades of the 20th century, meant that films became an important method of disseminating fashionable trends as well as an important historical source of information about contemporary fashion. As American filmmaking benefitted from the disruption caused to the European film industry by two World Wars, it rose to prominence and, through the corporate consolidation of the industry in Hollywood and the concomitant rise of the ‘studio system’, which resulted in a polished and distinctive film product, it further came to dominate the global market for cinema, making it a primary source for the study of fashion.

Michelle Tolini Finamore

In the incipient years of the film industry, there was no standard source for actors’ clothing. In any given film, clothing was derived from the actor’s own wardrobe, luxury couture salons or the studio wardrobe collections, which were increasingly overseen by professional designers. The silent era saw the film industry evolve from a small-scale form of entertainment for the working class to a more refined product aimed at middle-class audiences. This change marked the beginning of what is now known as Hollywood’s ‘golden age’. This period witnessed profound changes in audience, corporate organization and design philosophy, all of which influenced how fashion was communicated to the public....

Article

Meghan E. Grossman

Fashion photography is the use of photography to communicate the latest trends in clothing. It has a long and distinctive history in Europe and the USA, and is now practised around the world. Fashion photography acts as a representation of popular taste and is created to serve a commercial industry, yet it has also served as an avenue for change, pushing the boundaries of acceptability with innovations in style, technique, and the portrayal of fashion. Fashion photography was a democratizing force in the acceptance of photography in the West, as it brought the new form of expression to an audience of every social level, rich or poor, urban or suburban. Via mass media, photography serves to relate changes in fashion over long distances and many cultures, globally disseminating the styles of high fashion.

Fashion photography as it exists today falls into three main categories: editorial, advertising, and documentary. In the first category, photographs are commissioned by a publication to provide the ‘news’ in fashion to its audience. These photographs are intended to feature the best designs of the current season, without monetary compensation from the companies whose products are included. Editorial photographs are often tied together by theme or narrative, to create a coherent multi-page spread featuring several different designs. Advertising photographs are commissioned by the design house, manufacturer, or retailer to feature a product or brand identity. The company pays for the space in which the advertising photograph appears. Finally, fashion design companies often commission photographers to document their collections; these photographs can be used in-house for documentary purposes or published in the form of a catalogue, which serves as additional advertising. Depending on the purpose of the assignment, the photographer may choose to feature the clothes on a model, or hide fashion pieces amongst a jumble of unrelated objects. The goal of the photographer is to elevate the clothing to its highest status, the ‘fashion object’, through visual cues, lighting, composition, and creativity. Photography has served to add prestige to fashionable clothes since its introduction....

Article

Alice Mackrell

Fashion plates are images made specifically to illustrate to people types of clothes that they should wear to keep up to date with fashions; they also give instructions or guidance on whether the clothing shown would suit the taste and style of the individual wearer. They evolved in the 18th century in Europe and have their origin in 16th-century Trachtenbücher (Ger.: ‘clothing books’), which in turn grew out of a desire for more knowledge about costume and the development of printing. For the first time such books gathered together and illustrated information about costume, jewellery and many new decorative motifs, such as embroidery. They declined during the 19th and 20th centuries when they were superseded by photography. While text was minimal, the illustrations they contained were a record of what was being worn, with particular reference to nationality and rank. The most important of the costume books for the history of costume is considered to be ...

Article

Lourdes Font, Beth McMahon, Cassandra Gero, Ann Poulson, Nancy Deihl, Lourdes M. Font, Deirdre Clemente and Clare Sauro

This article defines, describes and traces the history of the major categories of Western fashion design, with an emphasis on women’s high fashion.

The term ‘underwear’ refers to several different types of garment worn under outer layers of clothing. The first type is the basic undergarment worn next to the skin, historically made of washable linen or cotton. The English term ‘linen’ and the French term ‘lingerie’ (Fr. linge: ‘linen’) are synonyms for basic undergarments. The second type of underwear is a foundation garment worn to alter the shape of the body. The term ‘understructure’ also applies to these garments, which create or support the silhouette demanded by fashion at a given time. Although at various times it has been fashionable to reveal underwear at the neckline, sleeve or hemline, both basic undergarments and the foundation garments worn over them are usually invisible under the outer layers of clothing. Finally, there is a type of lingerie identified as undress; clothing that is worn only in private situations in the home. Although not considered acceptable public attire, over time undress frequently develops into fashionable outerwear....

Article

Lourdes Font and Beth McMahon

Fashion is defined as the act or process of making or shaping. As applied to dress, (see Dress) it can be understood to mean the making or shaping of the appearance of the body by means of clothing and adornment in a way that expresses aesthetic ideals that are continually subject to change. Like dress in general, fashion is a multi-faceted cultural phenomenon and plays an important role in defining social class, gender and identity. Fashionable dress, however, is distinguished by constant and rapid changes in style, transmitted through the representation of the fashionable ideal in visual art and media as well as through the direct interaction of individual fashion leaders. The word ‘fashion’ also indicates the global system of design, production and consumption of garments and accessories that are, for a limited time, considered fashionable and thus invested with greater social value (see fig.). The fashion industry today is a global system, but it has not always existed at all places and times. This article discusses the origin and development of Western fashion....

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

(b Maisons-Laffitte, Sept 6, 1912; d Paris, Nov 13, 1954).

French fashion designer. Fath is considered one of the leading figures of post-war couture for his witty and youthful approach. Fath opened his house in 1937 and became an established success during World War II. After the war he emerged as a leading innovator, whose sharply cut and heavily structured designs rivalled those of Christian Dior. Fath’s career was cut short by his death in 1954 at the age of 42.

Fath was born into a family of creative individualists; his great-grandmother had been a noted dressmaker under the Second Empire and his grandfather René-Maurice Fath (1850–1922), a successful painter. Fath studied bookkeeping and business, eventually becoming a broker at the Paris Bourse while gaining the business acumen that would prove invaluable in his role as one of post-war couture’s leading designers.

Fath enrolled in classes at drama school, as well as pursuing evening courses in drawing and pattern-cutting. It was in this period that he met Geneviève Boucher, whom he would marry in ...

Article

Allyson Rae

Collective term for artefacts made of or decorated with feathers.

Feathers are composed of the protein keratin and form the protective covering of birds; they make flight possible (in most species), provide protection from wetting, regulate body temperature and provide insulation. They grow in follicles, arranged in tracts over a bird’s body. When fully grown, feathers, like hair, have no connections to the blood supply or nervous system and are dead material. Most bird species moult and regrow their feathers at least once a year.

There are three main types: contour feathers, semiplumes and down. Contour feathers form the visible outer covering of most birds (see fig.). They have a well-developed hollow quill (a) and a shaft (b) with a vane (c) on either side. The vane consists of barbs, which are subdivided into interlocking barbules. It is the fine structure of hooks and hollows on the barbules that holds the vane together (d). Semiplumes have a less cohesive vane: the hooks and hollows are poorly developed, so the barbs remain largely unconnected (e), as in ostrich feathers. Down feathers lack any shaft, the barbs spring directly from the short quill and have no significant barbules (f)....

Article

Clare Sauro

(b Bonito, June 1898; d Fiumetto, Aug 7, 1960).

Italian shoe designer. Ferragamo created both custom-made shoes for an illustrious private clientele and mass-produced shoes for an international market. Along with André Perugia and Roger Vivier, he is considered one of the great masters of shoe design, renowned for a distinctive blend of theatricality and comfort (see fig.).

Ferragamo was born in Bonito, a small town near Naples. He found himself drawn to shoemaking at an early age but his parents objected to such a lowly ambition. However, after seeing his dedication and nascent skills, they eventually relented. After a brief apprenticeship he opened his own shop in Naples at the age of 14, where his designs were noticed for their unusual elegance.

In 1914 Ferragamo followed his older brothers to the United States where he hoped to study the mass production of shoes. After working briefly in a Boston factory, he joined his brothers in a shoe repair shop in Santa Barbara, CA, where he began producing hand-crafted shoes for a nearby film studio. Demand for his skills increased and he soon relocated to Hollywood where his designs were sought after by both the film studios and film stars such as Rudolph Valentino, Pola Negri and Mary Pickford. Department store buyers and fashionable women soon became his customers as well. Restless for the expansion of his thriving business, Ferragamo returned to Italy in ...

Article

Fibula  

Niamh Whitfield

[Lat.: ‘brooch’]

Metal dress-pin that not only was used as a clothes’ fastener, but also acted as a sign of an individual’s allegiance, wealth, and status (see fig.). Brooches are common finds in pre-Christian graves of the Germanic peoples and Vikings, enabling inferences to be drawn about their uses, the garments to which they were attached, and migration patterns. For the later Middle Ages, comparable information can be gleaned not only from the objects but also figural representations, wills, and inventories.

Many brooches from the early Middle Ages descend from Roman fibulae of different types. These include the penannular brooches from Ireland and Britain, fastened by a pin slotted through a gap in a ring; disc-brooches, fastened by a pin on the back, and worn especially by Germanic women; and the various elongated Germanic bow brooches, which seem to be adaptations of the cross-bow fibulae worn by Roman officials in Late Antiquity (...

Article

[Fr. filigrane; It. and Sp. filigrana; Ger. drahtegeflecht]

Metalwork decoration in which fine precious metal wires, usually gold or silver, are delicately soldered in an openwork pattern. It is used especially in jewellery and the ornamentation of other small objects (see Metal, §V, 3, (iii) and). In 16th-century Germany, where the most important centre for filigree was Siedenburg (near Bremen), large caskets and dishes made from filigree were laboriously manufactured for the Kunstkammer market. Thereafter filigree survived only in attenuated form as a folk art, and the craft still survives in Italy and Norway for the manufacturing of tourist souvenirs.

T. Riiosen and A. Boe: Om filigran/Filigree (Oslo, 1959) E. Taburet-Delahaye: ‘Opus and filum: L’Ornement filigrane dans l’orfèvrerie gothique du centre et du sud-ouest de la France’, Renaissance des arts, 90 (1990), pp. 46–57 M. J. Sanz: ‘El Arte de la Filigrana en Centroamerica: Su importacion a Canarias y la Peninsula’, Goya, 293 (March–April 2003), pp. 103–14...

Article

Elizabeth Ashman Rowe

Illuminated 14th-century deluxe Icelandic manuscript (420×290 mm, 202 fols; Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute, GKS 1005 fol.) of King Sverrir’s Saga. It was compiled by the priests Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson for Jón Hákonarson (1350–before 1416), a wealthy landowner in northern Iceland who collected sagas of the kings of Norway. A note on folio 4r dates Jón Þórðarson’s contribution to 1387, and Magnús Þórhallsson’s annals at the end of the manuscript indicate the book was completed in 1394 or 1395. Magnús illuminated the whole manuscript and was the scribe of King Sverrir’s Saga (composed in part by Abbot Karl Jónsson of Þingeyrar, Iceland, c. 1185). The saga contains eight initials decorated in a style combining Gothic curved and draped human figures with Romanesque grotesques and acanthus motifs. Five initials depict Sverrir (with crown, orb and weapons), his opponent Sigurðr, and their soldiers. One initial is foliate, and two depict hybrid monsters. The taunting grotesque (fol. 156...

Article

Article

Andreas Kreul

(b Berlin, June 5, 1867; d Amsterdam, Oct 11, 1958).

German art historian and museum director. The son of the court jeweller in Berlin, he studied in Munich, Florence and Leipzig, where he wrote a dissertation on Albrecht Altdorfer. After practical training in Berlin and his first, brief activity at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, he became an assistant at the Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin, in 1896. He became Deputy Director in 1904 and Director in 1924; from 1908 he was head of the Kupferstichkabinett. With Wilhelm von Bode he systematically increased the holdings of the Berlin museums and donated a number of important works to the Gemäldegalerie and Kupferstichkabinett. In 1933 he left museum service and in 1939 emigrated to Amsterdam. Friedländer, who had a strongly positivistic education, was regarded as a severe critic of Giovanni Morelli’s method of art analysis, most notably represented in German-speaking countries by Franz Wickhoff. Friedländer wrote over 600 books and articles, especially on early German and early Netherlandish art, and a monograph on ...

Article

(b 1802; d 1855).

French silversmith and jeweller. The pieces that he exhibited at the Paris Industrial Exhibitions of 1839 and 1844 made him the most celebrated silversmith in France. He worked in a variety of styles, notably Renaissance Revival, but also produced distinguished Gothic Revival and Rococo-style pieces. His most famous creation is the toilette of the Duchess of Parma (...

Article

(b Brussels, Dec 31, 1947).

American fashion designer of Belgian birth. Von Furstenberg is best known for her sexy, printed jersey wrap dresses. Von Furstenberg credits her work ethic and determination to her mother Lily, the survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. In 1966 at the University of Geneva, she met Austro-Italian Prince Edward Egon von Furstenberg, heir to the Fiat fortune. The two married in Paris in 1969. Von Furstenberg’s career as a fashion designer began that same year with a short apprenticeship to Angelo Ferretti, an Italian textile manufacturer. Despite having no formal design training, she put together a small collection of shirtwaist dresses inspired by Ferretti’s silk jersey prints. In 1970 she arrived in New York to show them to the editor of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, who was impressed by them. Von Furstenberg officially launched her company two years later with the slogan, ‘Feel like a woman, wear a dress’. Von Furstenberg was designing for herself—a working woman in her late 20s or early 30s who was successful, free-spirited, confident and sensual. Her dresses were a feminine and flirty alternative to the androgynous trouser suits of the 1970s....

Article

Cassandra Gero

Futurism was an Italian art movement that defined modernity as motion, speed and dynamism. It began in 1909 with the first manifesto about the Futurist aesthetic and included such artists as Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà and Giacomo Balla. Futurists believed that the same principles that informed their art should extend to the clothing they made for themselves and promoted for everyone else through their writing. They embraced fashion and believed it to be an art form as it suited several of their ideals: promoting the new and discarding the old, blurring the line between art and industry and providing the opportunity to make both social and aesthetic statements. The Futurists did not envision clothes that would last for years, indeed the ideal Futurist fashion would be fleeting. This built-in obsolescence would require constant creativity on the part of the designer, provide novelty to the wearer and help to stimulate the Italian economy. Futurist colours were bright, bold and clashing—joyful but at the same time aggressive. Fabrics were sometimes metallic and shimmering, often with patterns juxtaposing geometric forms. Futurist clothing was light, breathable and offered the wearer freedom of movement. Gone were symmetry, harmony, logic, order and tradition. Jackets were asymmetric with changeable shapes. Shoes were sometimes unmatched. The Futurists were out to shock and even annoy people, and free them from what they viewed as stuffy traditions....

Article

Gadroon  

Gordon Campbell