Beaded Glory

The decadence of sewn jewels on garments has made it’s mark in fashion. It was a trend that started with Queen Elizabeth with her pearled gowns and over time it became a symbol of wealth of women to wear their wealth because it’s clothing, an outfit wouldn’t be worn for several years they’d get new dresses with new designs, which means sewing more jewels in different places. The trend followed through many eras and appears on runway shows today, but what’s interesting about this trend is it isn’t consistent. It appears in one era and it disappears for a while and reappears again, being most prominent in the Elizabethan/Baroque, Rococo and Georgian era then disappears to a more practical form of a brooch to be reused on several outfits from the Victorian era and throughout the 20th century. Now it’s modern interpretation is reappearing now through designers like Balmain, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana.

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Portrait of Elizabeth I at the National Portrait Gallery of London, Unknown artist, 1580s-1590s.
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Portrait of Anna Dalkeith, Countess of Morton, and Lady Anna Kirk by Van Dyck 1631.

Notice in the Elizabethan/Baroque era how the jewels sewn were one or two layers of gold string, pearls and a mix of precious jewels like sapphire, emerald and rubies. All pieces in few stones but in heavier, larger pieces to be apparent from a far distance.

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“Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli in Spanish Costume” by Alexander Roslin, 1763

The Rococo era expressed women’s femininity, behind all the bright pastels, ruffles, bows, lace and silks, jewels aren’t huge and have been replaced with rows of pearls. However, if all stones are no longer present, nothing replaces the timelessness of a  diamond, it is said that Marie Antoinette had gowns with diamonds sewn in.

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“Frances Anne Vane, Marchioness of Londonderry” by Dubois-Drahonet, Alexandre-Jean, 1831

After the flamboyance of the era before, regency represents a period for women to have garments more true to their figures and high waisted empire gowns. The extravagance of beaded dresses isn’t a lost art with the aristocracy and royalty, smaller gems are sewn with rows of smaller pieces of diamonds and pearls or sewn threads of gold.

Women of the Baroque, Rococo and Regency who wore those garments all used their garments to represent the wealth of their families or empires, none of their clothing were functional or used for most of their daily lives, it served a more ornamental purpose. The few modern interpretations with subtle past references show how beaded garments have made a point of interest for the 21st century in mainly for ready to wear collections of Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Balmain. It’s what gives women a hint of glamour and fun in their clothing of basic garments for everyday life. Ready to wear serves as function with quality because most women are working in today’s society, moving from place to place unlike walking, leisure and remaining in one place for most days of the month. However, it’s influence will always be a stamping point on couture for example in John Galliano for Dior in his spring 2000 collection all inspired by Marie Antoinette. What all these garments have in common, is it’s use of luxurious fabrics and technique of sewing the garment but  its more practical materials for affordability for the upper middle class and higher classes, none of these jewels are genuine, they are all made of crystal, plastic and metal beads, therefore if these garments were to loose their function, no one would feel guilty to clean these artful pieces from their closets. Beaded garments whether the jewels are genuine or artificial is a never ending trend that enhance a woman’s love for shinier, finer and beautiful things in life.

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An Eye for Romance

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Final Result. Dress- Runway Life.

Fashion photography. It’s when the camera is the eye as to fashion is it’s subject.  When art meets fashion, it only adds more to the eye. It makes a photograph have more depth by a blend of history, fine art and contemporary fashion. What can beat a more beautiful mix? It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as a portrait or styling on a runway, just a marriage of elements playing off each other.

My final result was a blend of a historic napoleonic figure in art, 2016 spring fashion all captured in a photograph.  View my influences in depth below:

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Madam Recamier, Francois Gerard,1805. Inspiration for how I did my hair. 
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Portrait of Madam Recamier, Jacques Louis David,1800. Where I got my inspiration for my pose.

Juliette Recamier (1777-1849) daughter of a banker was one of the elite during the napoleonic/revolutionary/regency period. Her salon was popular for the arts and politics, it soon attracted many royalists during the 19th century. Recamier was known for being beautiful, hospitable and had a good income. Recamier was friends with Madame de Stael who wrote about politics, she did have an interest in intellectualism but didn’t write or have enough quick wit. When Napoleon gained power in Paris, she was ordered to be exiled with her husband, she moved to a convent in the meantime until she moved back to Paris when Napoleon was defeated in Waterloo.

Recamier is known for her beauty by attracting many powerful suitors which ironically became her long term friends. It’s notable to consider the men she attracted like Prince Augustus of Prussia, Benjamin Constant and Lucien Bonaparte (yes, Napoleon’s brother). Recamier was an astounding beauty to have attracted two great generals during the day, Napoleon Bonaparte and Duke of Wellington. But, she rejected them both.

 

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Gown inspiration. Gucci Spring 2016.

The empress silhouette with the playful,elegant and antique elements of the embroidered birds and flower appliques is the winner of romanticism. It ties back to the sweet and soft feeling Recamier gives in her portraits.

Note: Empress silhouette is named after Empress Josephine, a silhouette gown she was known for wearing and popular during the regency era. It’s a dress that is tight on the bias and loose under.

Sources: Book- Napoleon & Wellington, Andrew Roberts

Links-

http://www.biography.com/people/juliette-r%C3%A9camier-40257

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Madame-de-Recamier

https://parisianfields.com/2010/10/01/the-lady-is-not-a-sofa/

http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/madame-recamier

 

 

 

 

Opinion: Ancient Roman Inspiration in Jewelry

It’s not intriguing that empires/kingdoms looked up to great empires that existed in the past like Ancient Rome for inspiration. When a nation wants to move on from a time of careless attitudes that lead to unfortunate tragedies, a nation seeks to rebuild itself. Therefore a nation’s inspiration are of past glorious empires to create a new empire, for many in Europe it was the Roman Empire like the Victorian era famously had the use of roman deities on their cameo rings, bracelets and necklaces. Ironically, the Victorian era represents one of Great Britain’s greatest eras with the amount of colonies around the world, the spread of new technology and wealth. The Roman empire also served as inspiration to people during times of struggle. For example, previous to the Neoclassical style was the Rococo era, a very frivolous, soft, sweet, carefree style in fashion, however the extravagant society lead to its downfall with the French Revolution. Neoclassical fashion quickly became the new style trend because people wanted glory like that of the past. Some examples in neoclassicism in art are the serious sharp lines, Greek philosophers, roman soldiers, roman deities and etc, to begin reconstruction and a new thoughtful, more enlightened, style inspiration represented the people’s attitudes. It is not a surprise that the Roman Empire might have inspired all art forms in every era through heavy or subtle ways.

 

In fashion, different eras are influenced by another to create something new, Romans were influenced by the Greeks and Etruscans. Later on the Romans might have inspired the Byzantine empire onwards, and inspiration kept spiraling to eventually inspire the Baroque, Regency, Victorian and present day like in some Chanel, Versace, Valentino and Dolce And Gabbana runways.

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Valentino Haute Couture 2015.  Roman inspired toga dress, gold crown and necklace.

 

Roman jewelry is notorious for their wreathed crowns, arm bracelets, gold, engraved glass, studded belts and most jewelry used precious stones like rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

Here are a few pieces of jewelry from the Roman Empire found at the Getty Villa:

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Roman Coin belt
necklace
Roman Necklace

 

wreath
Roman wreath crown

 

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Roman Bracelets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

earrings
Roman warrior earrings
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Roman Cameo and Intaglio

 

Roman jewelry inspiration in different eras, each of these eras had a small influence plus their own twists which differentiates every era:

  •  Byzantine empire-  Gold engravings with people, animals, nature with stones like rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Symbol of the cross becomes present.f5aeffcbd192bc727bcb4a6fd2b3fe61victorian_jewelry_5Byzantine Bracelet
  • Baroque- its defined literally as an irregular pearl. But to many baroque is seen as extravagance. Like the exaggerated  gold, jewels and pearls in the forms of crosses, leaves, animals, mystical creatures and ships not only in jewelry but in decor as well.
  • Regency/Napoleonic- The wealth of the French appear in gold and diamonds. The cameo makes it’s return in neoclassical period. Notice how the cameo is not only for roman deities but for General Napoleon as well.
  • RegencyNapoleonicNapoleonic erring
  • Victorian- The romantic movement spread to all arts with inspiration of Greek mythology and neoclassical design. Use of roman deities appeared on cameos and intaglios during the Victorian era. However, there came an introduction of intaglios with diamonds, amethyst with floral designs.
  • Victorian Cameo Ringsil_fullxfull.980238078_pozvVictorian Cameo Tiara

 

Isn’t it fascinating that the eras mentioned were either growing empires or flourishing ones?

 

Present day

 

Wreath crown at the Versace Atelier runwayVersace fall 2015 doutzen-kroes

 

Chanel’s Byzantine/Roman/Etruscan inspired Jewels- It is unknown what era in particular inspired Mademoiselle Chanel. However, looking at cuffs and necklaces in Chanel’s costume jewelry, it is apparent the stones look unpolished, the thick gold and engravings signify an ancient empire’s influence.

Valentio Fall 2015- The head wreath makes it’s return with the gold leaf design and gold necklace.

Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/16: Valentino
Valentino  Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/16 collection

Dolce&Gabbana-  This design house is known for it’s Italian heritage in their designs. The earrings on the left look more of a Byzantinian influence and the earrings on the right look more Greco Roman influenced.

 

 

*** NOTE- This is all opinion and observance based insight. 

 

The Gentleman’s Art of Dressing

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The Victorian “dandy” style, the era of fashion ranging from 1837-1901, with many rules to makeup the qualities of the proper English gentleman.”The Gentleman’s Art of Dressing with Economy” by A Lounger At The Clubs, was written in 1876 is a men’s guide for dressing well with a limited budget. It’s more than fashion menswear book, it’s a historic document for fashion.The reader will realize that in the beginning of this book onwards, it’s expected that a man should constantly repair clothes of good quality, visit a tailor and have clothes hand sewn for assurance of the best quality.

The first order of business is to know how the author defines economy, “whereby the prices of all articles of consumption should be familiar in one’s mouths as household words all the year round… It means the art of getting things cheap”(16).

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This book is divided into different sections for menswear and an added bonus of grooming! There’s even a section on umbrellas. Even UMBRELLAS were a vital part of a man’s outfit. Here is a summary of advice for every article of clothing:

  • Coats- This chapter is organized with different coats and when it’s appropriate to wear each one, for example the Cutaway Coat is recommended for everyday wear and the Norfolk jacket is for general country wear.  However for all coats there is a constant color recommendation of black and dark blue. No matter what the coat is, be prepared to spend money for proper quality, “[A] coat be of inferior quality, it gives the wearer a poverty-stricken look” (34). The most important factor to determine the appropriate coat is by looking at the length of it, “the regulation length of skirt of morning coat may be determined by letting the arm fall to the side, with fingers extended. Then the ordinary skirt is level with the tip of the middle finger” (36).
  • Waistcoats- “Waistcoats should invariably be of the same material as the coat. Vests are best made without collar or with a dummy one- that is, the outline of it, designated either by braid or stitching. Take my advice, and have four pockets in every waistcoat” (51). This chapter discusses the occasions and difference in quality between a double breasted waistcoat, white vests and chamois leather for waistcoats.
  • Trousers- To find the perfect pair of trousers is to visit a tailor and have them made to measure but to save extra money it is smarter to select fabric at a wholesale cloth shop. The recommended fabric is strong tweeds. The perfect fit is determined by cut, “trousers should be cut to fall straight from the knee with a slight spring over boot. The width over boot is invariably one inch and a half wider than knee measurement’ (60.) For extra care, it’s suggested not to wear the same pair of trousers for two consecutive days.
  • Boots- The purpose of this chapter is to let a man know his boots should be made by a bootmaker, made to measure and hand stitched. It’s recommended for a man NOT to wear the same pair of boots within a two day period. “Materials for boots- for dress boots, patent leather; for dress morning boots, porpoise hide; for ordinary walking, calf skin” (67).
  • Hats- “To wear a shabby black hat is a sign of poverty; to wear a shabby white one indicates proceedings in bankruptcy” (72). As always recommended by the author, a hat is an item to pay good money for and to take care of the brim the hat show always be placed face down. To save money, leather of the hat should be renewed.
  • Shirts- When deciding to purchase a shirt, it is strongly advised not to purchase an already made shirt. Rather, one should have a shirt be properly cut, have a proper measurement of breast and neck for the perfect fit.
  • Gloves- “To have gloves dyed any colour than black is a waste of money; then they should be two sizes too large for you, as they are safe to shrink in the process” (83).
  • Ties- “No tie or scarf can be neater than plain black in silk or satin” (83).
  • Jewelry- “Beyond a gold chain for watch, I do not see the necessity for any. In these days of aluminum and oroide, gold studs and links cease to be ornamental, and are better replaced by mother-o’- pearl” (88). The rest of this chapter talks about the beauty of quality jewelry for men, the author strongly advises against fake gold, jewels and low quality watches.
  • Grooming “The Toilet”- “The hair should be shampooed every day in domestic bath… The best cosmetic for gentlemen is soap; and the best soap is plain unscented yellow or elder flower if you prefer it” (97).
  • Umbrellas- “The best stuff for wear is Italian twilled silk; and I advise my readers to have two umbrellas, one for real work on confirmed wet days, the other for dress occasions; and both should be kept throughly clean, and all mud spots removed therefrom by the use of sponge” (91).

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Although the author of this book remains anonymous, it is clearly written by a man who has vast knowledge by attending social events, studying fabrics and trends all over England during the Victorian era.

 

Christian Dior

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Christian Dior by Francoise Giroud and Sacha Van Dorssen is a coffee table book that goes in depth on the founder/designer Christian Dior. In February 1947, when Dior presented his collection  “Corolle and “Huit” other wise known as “The New Look,” coined after Harper’s Bazzar editor Carmel Snow. Dior had become a superstar overnight. His success lead him to be one of the top 5 best known people in the world.

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The New Look became an instant success around the world, especially for the working American women. Although women loved “The New Look” their husbands did not. Dior himself received death threats from American men in Texas and Iowa because they didn’t believe Dior’s approach to fashion was modest.

 

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Christian Dior born in 1905 in Granville. The man himself Christian Dior worked in fashion without having a steady career path. Dior originally is from an aristocratic family that was known for owning factories in chemical products. Dior originally wished to study architecture in an arts school but his parents opposed the idea and opted for him to study political science. Dior still found himself doing something artistic on the side like studying music and art. Dior eventually owned an art gallery on  Rue de la Boetie with his partner Jean Bonjean on the condition that his name “Dior” could never be the name of the gallery.  It wasn’t until 1929 when the Dior family had is troubles, his brother Raymond fell into illness, his mother passed away and the stock exchange of 1929 along with bad investments ruined the Dior family. Dior later found himself selling the gallery and work in the gallery, seeking offers of new work and eventually Dior gained recognition by designer Jean Ozenne and sold 6 of Dior’s sketch designs at 20 francs each. Dior’s life has begun as a sketch artist and his involvement in Le Figaro magazine along with his sketches for Piguet his life as a designer has begun. All the experience at Le Figaro and designing at Piguet lead him to opening his own design house a few years later. In 1957, at the age of 52, Christian Dior passes away and leaves all the design management to the young apprentice Yves Saint Laurent.

Within a few years after The New Look, the House of Dior alone in the 1950s accounted for “75% of French fashion exports”(Giroud). Now, Christian Dior is a well known name all around the world, having boutiques from Paris, New York, Beirut, Tokyo, Beijing and the list goes on. In 1985, Bernard Arnault acquires Christian Dior and is now apart of the Moet Hennessy (LVMH). Christian Dior is such a precious company, that after Raf Simons departure, there still hasn’t been a new creative director.

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NOTE: This book is published in 1987, so it only has information and photos from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohan. Majority of the photographs are in black and white. It’s the kind of book, for one who treasures more of the historic, beginnings of Dior. All the statistical data in the book is for perspective during the 1940s.till the 1980s.  This book does not serve the complete the full history of Dior from 1940s till now.

Princess de Brogile- Fashion and Art Confession

Ingres, Princess de brogile
Working Title/Artist: Princesse de Broglie Working Date: 1851-53

 

The painting, “Princess de Brogile” by Ingres (1853),  I confess is a masterpiece I have to glance at everyday. It reminds me of the importance of effortless beauty, in which I am in constant search of finding. In the portrait the hair is up, her calm/mysterious smile, posture and the richness of the blue and gold in her beautiful dress and jewelry. Ingres painted this woman with high photorealism qualities. It sparks wonder that makes me on how he managed to get the richness of her dress to be like a photograph. This is a painting I am highly passionate about.

Princess de Brogile, in my eyes has qualities in which I see myself wanting to achieve, the mysterious smile and high fashion quality. It’s highly sophisticated in my eyes to be able to stay calm while being happy. It’s always beautiful to be admired when spending more on an outfit. I love the hidden mystery of the hair being kept up, one can tell a lot about a woman if her hair is long or short. One can’t tell her hair length. I love her big eyes, because she’s looking at something but having thoughts. She’s looking with intelligence. It all comes together naturally. 

 
It’s a shame that this painting was completed when de Brogile passed (some debate whether her sudden death was caused over alcoholism, no one knows for sure), this was a portrait was commissioned by her husband kept in his possession to keep her spirit, beauty and the love he had for her alive in his heart.
 
I think one of my greatest findings before the dawn of my adulthood (20) is finding and growing in my passion of the arts. Finding the comparison of it’s hidden messages to impact my life.

Reigning Men-LACMA

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Impeccable menswear at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art) for the “Reigning Men” exhibit, for anyone who loves fashion, menswear, or history to show how much fashion has evolved. What’s special about this exhibit is not only because it features 200 looks but it shows present day clothing from designers like Tom Ford, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren, Issey Miyake, Jeremy Scott and many more with their historical influences.  It’s a exhibit that’s easy to follow because all the eras are in chronological order, one sees the changes of how menswear got simpler in some eras and more colorful in others. This exhibit covers mens fashion from the 18th century till the 21st century from places like the USA, France, England, Scotland, Belgium and Austria.

My personal favorite parts of the exhibit is seeing the detailed embroidered gold coats of the 18th century and I am a sucker for Regency and Victorian fashion. It’s a dream come true to see those pieces of clothing come to life.

It’s another perspective to see historical clothing in person than drawings and paintings in books. I highly recommend visiting the “Reigning Men” Exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit click on the link below:

http://www.lacma.org/ReigningMen#landing

The Art influences of Gucci

Spring 2016, hasn’t gotten any less fabulous due to the abundance of art influences of one fashion house. Gucci. Thanks to Alessandro Michele.

When I first watched the Gucci spring collection this year, I loved the amount of silks, floral motifs and ruffles.  I thought of a  fashionable traveler finding the ways with her map skirt to discover and pick up the fashions of Asia.  However, to my discovery Alessandro Michele, put a lot more artistic influence than what meets to my eye.

Here is only ONE look and the list of inspirations it took make on the Gucci Spring 2016 catwalk:gucci2_glamour_23sep15_getty_b_720x1080

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Bomber Jacket- 1920s Amelia Earhart

ecef48be677e81e594271e56d483919f   The embroidery silk technique used in Japanese Edo era.

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The pink bows are similar to the ones of the rococo French era. Potrait of Maria Teresa of Austria by Anton Raphael Mengs 1771.
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The silk map skirt is a sea map of Scandinavia from Carta Marina by Antony Lafreri,1572.

To read the original article from British Vogue, with more information written by Lauren Milligan (AKA Where I got my art facts from), click the link below:

British Vogue Link

Fashion History Film List

To learn a thing of two about fashion history, why not do so while having fun? Here are my top fashion film choices to learn a bit on every era in fashion.

 

Cleopatra- Starring Elizabeth Taylor (1963) is amazing for the exaggeration of Ancient Egyptian fashion. The beauty of this film is that it can be watched without sound, it’s all visually stimulating like the ancient Roman clothing, Egyptian decor, and the views of Egypt.  The only flaw with this one is it’s running time- around 4 hours. I split this film for 2 days to watch it in it’s entirety. cleopatra_glamour_3jun13_PR_b_720x1080

Elizabeth- Starring Cate Blanchett (1998)- A strong female leader like Queen Elizabeth I is portrayed beautifully in this film and an inspiration for female empowerment. I loved the Elizabethan fashion from the pearled hair, ruffles and elaborate farthing gales.

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Marie Antoinette- Starring Kristen Dunst (2006). Anything French history related I am obsessed with. My personal favorite era in fashion is Rococo, which is the 18th century style popularized in France and Germany. I love this film because it’s a very modern take on Marie Antoinette’s life from her childhood in Austria till her escape of France during the French Revolution. It’s very frilly and a fun kind of film. No blood and no violence!

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The Young Victoria- Starring Emily Blunt  (2009). Royal Victorian fashion is breathtaking. I couldn’t get enough of both the men’s and women’s fashion in this masterpiece. The splendor of this film is the portrayal of Queen Victoria’s early life through her diary and her romance with Prince Albert. Perfect romance and historical film.

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My Fair Lady- Starring Audrey Hepburn (1964). Impeccable Edwardian fashion. This has to be one of my favorite musicals of all time.  I love the story line of how Eliza goes from this ungraceful Scot to become one of the most elegant women in England because of the training of the phonics teacher Mr. Higgins. This is a must watch!

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The Great Gatsby- Starring Mia Farrow (1974) In my opinion I love the 1974 version of this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic more than the 2013 one. All the Art Deco fashion in this film is designed by Ralph Lauren. I love the costume design because it’s american fashion done with sophistication and simplicity despite the decorativeness of the 1920s.

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Ruffles

Ruffles dating back to the Elizabethan era (1558-1603) were popularized by Queen Elizabeth I. Considered one of the most fashionable people at the time, she popularized the ruffle by having it exaggerated on her neck.

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Ever since Queen Elizabeth has set the ruffle, the elegance, sophistication and hint of femininity  hasn’t vanished. It’s use spread to the 18th century rococo style and has found it’s way to the modern day. The current spring 2016 trend is having a ruffle and has been seen in shows like Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and Gucci. As we look forward to spring, look for an outfit that represents a flower’s bloom.