World we are living in is constantly changing, rushing and swarming with revolutions of lifestyles and views or calming down, coming back to its routes, to classics. There are lots of examples of that in many fields which are connected with art, and fashion is no exception. Obviously, every time different interpretations of classic occur, involving the experience of styles and epochs, which used to be a revolution and are now seen as a legend.
The most original of them is Ancient Greece, where the term “classics” was first to be used. We are going to take a quick look on its fashion in order to understand what has left from it in the centuries, what makes a fashion trend “classical”. Are you interested?
We are to begin with a little debunking of the myths: antic sculpture was not white at all. More than that, it was brightly painted with contrasting colours. Unfortunately, all the pigments they used were organic as well as their foundation, which proceeded to the quick destruction. (It was possible to see antic sculpture in its original appearance at the exhibition «Gods In Colour: Painted Sculpture in Classical Antiquity» made in 2007 by American and German scientists).
Cora from Acropolis: reconstruction and the original sculpture
When the “discovery” of the antiquity happened, it was already “clean” and since then became considered as “white”. Maybe, the long time of antiquity being thought to be white has resulted in black and white being classical colours nowadays.
Greeks loved bright fabric with various prints as well. However, in classical era, they particularly preferred monochrome ones: blue, red, violet, green, yellow, brown and white. The pattern turned into an ornament and moved to the border. Anyway, the main artistic element in the ancient Greek costume is not the colour but the drapery, which smoothly wrapped around the body, hiding its imperfections, highlighting the advantages and leaving the scope for imagination. For sure, fabrics must have been soft and thin. The elegant monochrome and perfectly chosen silhouette – forever classics, isn’t it?
Indeed, with the rush of time, the cuts have changed. This way, aksamija, which used to cover the body and end shortly before the knee, has transformed into mini-dresses. Chitones and peplosed, which used to cover the whole body and were belted in different ways, more often at the waist, are nowadays the long evening dresses.
Times are changing, the empires are rising and turning to dust, but something is always left. And usually this “something” is the style.
Eager to hear your questions and suggestions,
Historic of Art and Fashion
Variations of chitons
Athena Melancholica, about 460ВС
Dressed in peplos