We all know that history repeats. But we often forget that fashion history does too. Generally, it is thought that fashion tends to recycle itself approximately every twenty years. But there are certain design details that, while seem absolutely modern, actually originated centuries ago.
Men’s wear is a great example of this. Over the years it has proven the slowest to evolve. In fact, up until recently, most suits still featured details which were carried through to modern times from a long-gone age. The vents in the sides and in the back of a men’s suit-coat, for instance, were originally favored for function and not for form. While coats have grown shorter over the years, the original lengths required slits to accommodate the necessities of the times (like riding horses and carrying swords). While most men would still proudly carry a shiny melee weapon, sadly they are left only with this nod to a time when battling highway men by the clanging of steel was commonplace.
Can you imagine the design details women’s fashion has implemented in recent years that might have actually had a place in eras that most aren’t even familiar with? Some of them might surprise you!
From runway to red carpet, modern fashion has become bold and unafraid to celebrate the female form. One such design detail that has scoffed at the prudish ways of bygone eras is the side cut-out. From flirtatious to rebellious, designers have pushed the limits of propriety through reduction.
But this idea is not entirely new. In fact, one could argue the original inspiration hales from the Early Gothic period (1330-1390), when shop was still spelled with two p’s. SHOPPE.
When thinking of centuries past, we often think of complicated fashions which greatly alter the feminine silhouette. Yet, much to the dismay of the church, the dresses of this period were unusually figure hugging. The cotehardie was a tight fitting, body conscious dress that buttoned from neckline to hem over which the sideless surcoat was worn. They say the devil is in the details and this very well could be the frock that proves it. Characterized by a deep cut armscye which revealed the figure beneath, the sideless surcoat was nicknamed “The Windows of Hell” proving, once again, that fashion risks often become fashion classics!