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2997Re: Report for Week1- Pop

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  • francesgrimble
    Oct 17, 2011
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      --- In CostumeHistoryClass@yahoogroups.com, "harritah" <Rita@...> wrote:
      > @ Tiana - I agree. Good observations Miss Tiana.
      > @ Donna - Perhaps there are different categories: "Pop Clothing" (as in setting a new trend in fashion, and "Shock Clothing" for the sake of making an unclear-to-many-what-you're-saying, statement.
      > @ Everyone else - A few examples of Pop Clothing immediately spring to mind.


      I think a number of concepts are being mingled here.

      First, imitating the clothing of powerful and wealthy people (as far as feasible) is a trend that's been around since the Middle Ages at least. Fashion was expected to be a "trickle down" affair and to some extent it still is.

      Second, imitating the clothing of actors, poets, etc., is as far as I know a more recent statement, because before the 19th century, these people (if professionals) generally did not have good social status on their own. However, in the 19th century some people began to imitate the disheveled looks of the Romantics. The most famous Victorian and Edwardian actresses often dressed on stage in haute couture created by the same designers who catered to the wealthy, and people absolutely imitated those clothes. For example, the "Merry Widow" hat.

      Third, dressing in highly exaggerated clothes for a kind of shock value has been around since at least the Middle Ages. Witness the long-toed shoes called poulaines.

      Fourth, dressing for other kinds of shock value has been around for a long time. Witness the women who wore red ribbons around their necks in France during the Reign of Terror.

      Fifth, I'd be tempted to say that imitating "street fashion" is a 20th century and later phenomenon, but actually, aristocrats of various past eras were willing to incorporate elements of national peasant costume into their outfits.

      Fifth, the fashion term "pop" first came into use, as far as I know, in the 1960s. It was used to describe the whole complex of fashion originating primarily from Britain, such as the Beatles' mop haircut, Mary Quant minis, and the Twiggy body. I thought the term had kind of gone out of fashion by now but I may be wrong.

      Sixth, asserting that older women were less fashionable than younger ones in the past is a stereotype, whereas the reality is more complex, at least for the middle and upper classes. In eras where social status was heavily dependent on marriage, women tended to gain in status as they aged. They had not only typically gained husbands and the status of those husbands, the husbands had, often, increased in political and professional success and status as time went on. Furthermore, the older the women and their husbands got, the more chance there was they had already come into whatever inheritances they were due to receive from older relatives, therefore their wealth had increased. In other words, older women might have been covering over the decolletage more but their jewels were bigger.

      Lavolta Press
      Books on historic clothing
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