Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Importance of Knowing Your History

Wedding dress advertisement for  which makes reference to 17th century Dutch interior paintings
(Magazine: 25ans Wedingu Spring-Summer 2013 p. 59)
One of the most recent realizations I've made since getting back into lolita is the community's lack of knowledge surrounding the historical periods which inspire so many designers and brands. While the extensive chronicling done by the online community has vastly simplified gaining access to information on the history of lolita fashion, there are very few resources suggested to newer lolitas on fashion history in a broader sense. This is startling once one realizes that even the designers themselves are constantly digging into the history books for inspiration - although classic lolita designers may be more inclined to this than most. Innocent World's designer, Yumi Fujiwara, noted in a recent interview for Kawaii Pateen that she goes to Europe twice a year just to find material off of which to base her designs. I believe that when wearing a fashion so obviously linked to the iconic silhouettes and and designs of celebrated moments in fashion history, extensive knowledge of these periods is key to putting together elements of past and present into one concise coordinate. You can rest assured that the editors at Vogue are well aware of their history when putting together pieces for each month's major shoots. So too should lolitas learn more about not only the more obvious Victorian and Rococo periods, but also the eras which precede and follow. Like any history, the history of fashion is sequential such that each new trend is simultaneously a reaction to the past and a hope for the future to create an image of the present. Admittedly, there are multiple ways to coordinate every garment, but a healthy dose of historical costuming know-how only serves to augment a coord's subtleties.
Example of Brandenburg buttons in portrait of Alderman Sir Charles Tertius Mander

Looking at daily coordinate communities such as Facebook's Closet of Frills, one will no doubt encounter a number of fellow lolitas who will make suggestions surrounding a historically-based coordinate which break down the visual allusions the wearer has attempted to make. For example: to suggest pairing a bob with a jacket complete with Brandenburg buttons would make the coord jarring as the jacket's fastenings from the late 18th, early 19th century do not correspond to a hairstyle that became iconic in the 1920s. While this is not to say that it is impossible to mix iconic pieces, one has to be mindful of which pieces are the most attention-grabbing in an outfit and actively not pit pieces of equal volume against one another. A bob, though simplistic it may seem, is so often associated with the flappers of the 1920s that it would fight the Brandenburg buttons for dominance as the eye is torn between the blunt cut of the hair and the sharp lines of the embroidery on the jacket. I will be starting this blog with a series of segments entitled "Historical Frills" which will explore different points of fashion history and how they pertain to the prints and designs of our most beloved brands. The first piece will arrive later this week as an exploration of Victorian mourning fashion in relation to Alice and the Pirates' recently release of Funeral Procession of Rose. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment