Sartorial affluence comes from the various kinds of surplus produced by society.
Fabric woven with gold thread dates back to the period before the birth of Christ, with references to gold threaded textiles in the Old Testament. People in positions of authority have since continued to wear gold and silver threaded fabric either in the form of court costumes or religious ceremonial robes, while women wore dresses made from these fabrics on special occasions.
Although the decoration was toned down during the 18th Century, skirts flared out to create an almost horizontal silhouette, while hairstyles were the largest and highest seen in history. In addition, battleships, carriages, and baskets of fruit created by the hairdresser were then placed on top of the hair. This excessiveness is a clear sign that the days of aristocratic society were nearing their end.
Irish crocheted lace
Lace developed from around the 15th and 16th Centuries, and until lace production was mechanized in the 19th Century, it was highly prized for its exquisite and highly skilled handwork. Lace is made with linen thread using the needlepoint lace and bobbin lace techniques. Until the 18th Century, lace was only used in small but conspicuous sections of clothing such as the collar or cuffs.
Fashion and Art
Artists such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau became involved in fashion during the 1930s. An evening cape designed by Elsa Schiaparelli featured a drawing, inspired by Greek mythology, by Christian Bérard. The image was finished in lavish embroidery by the Lesage embroidery atelier that specialized in haute couture embroidery. The heroic image of Apollo featuring gold and silver beading and sequins is further enhanced by the rich, black velvet background.
This dress is elaborately embroidered with 20 types of beads including sea shells, wooden beads, and animal-teeth-shaped beads. We can see here the very cream of handworks, from the highly advanced and precise techniques of the embroidery studios. In the 1960s, the haute couture created innovative designs, while observing its tradition.
Orientalism was all the rage at the time, influenced in part by performances in Paris by the Ballet Russes. 300 guests were invited to this ball, held in 1911, with everyone wearing Persian costumes, including Poiret, who was dressed as a sultan, adding further color and movement to the festivities.