This Thursday, I'm turning to Coco Chanel, for a thought on fashion and its place in time.
"Fashion is always of the time in which you live. It is not something standing alone. But the grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous." Coco Chanel
Does fashion rejuvenate you? Does it make you feel joyous? Do you even care if it makes you feel young?
Keeping in mind this month's theme of historical fashion, here on the Magic Bean, I wanted to share a thought on fashion from one of the famous wit's of the past - Oscar Wilde.
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Oscar Wilde
This quotation is entertaining, as almost all on dits attributed to Oscar Wilde tend to be, however it is interesting to note that Oscar Wilde put his money where his mouth was. Oscar Wilde was a follower of the Aesthetic Movement.
The Aesthetic Movement gained popularity around 1870-1880 and was founded on the belief that handmade was best. "Art for arts sake" was its motto. It was fashionable for followers of this movement to adopt the air of someone surrounded by a fug of lovesick wistfulness - a fact that exposed Aesthetes to mocking from mainstream Victorian society. Proponents of this movement include William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti as well as craftspeople and painters.
However, aesthetic principles did flow over into fashion. Aesthetic dress was a protest against contemporary fashion. Bustles and restrictive corsets were the enemy, with flowing, loose clothing made of wool, Liberty silk or velvet fabrics taking their inspiration from medieval or Renaissance clothing. Women who dared to eschew the corset for looser styles were also considered loose in their morals so were shunned by mainstream society.
In actuality very few people wore this type of dress, but it did spread to middle class intellectuals, to artistic and literary people, including Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde took the movement to heart however, and donned a custom-designed suit following the contours and colour of a cello for a Grosvenor opening party. In this case, this aesthetic style was probably closer to performance art than fashion. Can you imagine?
Today's thought about fashion over time, as part of March's theme of historical fashion here on the Magic Bean, comes to you from a woman who revolutionised what women wore - Coco Chanel.
"Fashion fades, only style remains the same." Coco Chanel
If you don't know much about Coco Chanel, you might want to take a look at the movie, Coco Before Chanel. In watching this film you realise exactly how much Coco Chanel rebelled against her contemporaries, in terms of fashion but also in terms of attitude.
As part of the month long theme here on the Magic Bean, March of Time: Inspirations from Historical Fashion, I thought I'd shares some fashion quotations to get you thinking about fashion and its appeal over time.
"Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time." Jean Cocteau
I think that in the time period following a fashion's fall from grace, there will be a time when that out-of-date mode will be thought to be "ugly", but given time, it will become fashionable again. Given enough time, even something that was heavy, sweaty, itchy or otherwise uncomfortable will become desirable again because nobody will remember just how heinous that style really was to actually wear.
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