Haute Couture and the History of Fashion

Fashion is an ever-increasing aesthetic expression in a given cultural milieu and in a given time, particularly in clothing, footwear, accessories, hair, makeup, hairstyles, and body size, and even in body language, body gestures. Fashion can be consciously conceived, or it can be unconsciously generated by the social interactions of individuals who display particular traits through their dressing and personal behaviors. In either case fashion is an ever-changing field of art.

A. The Prevalence of Fashions. Even though fashions are constantly changing, people seem to maintain very common patterns of dress, especially for the most part in developed countries. Thus, fashion is often habitual, even though fashions are also constantly changing.

B. The Symbolic Significance of Fashion. Fashion is often associated with youthful adolescence and the coming of age, and thus clothes and other accessories are often made to be revealing and “edgy.” This association between fashion and growing up creates a powerful linkage between fashion and the feelings and desires of younger generations. Thus, when young people experience the feeling of growing old, the wearing of old clothes as a sign of fashion becomes a deeply meaningful act for them.

C. The Popularity of Fashions. People may follow fashions for different reasons: they may be forced to conform by the social expectations of their groups or they may desire to fit in with a particular prevailing style or trend. The popularity of certain fashions and the feelings that they inspire are very important factors behind the continuing trends of fashions. Fashionable fashions are often worn by individuals as a way of indicating their status in the society. Thus, the popularity of skinny jeans or low-cut shirts is frequently motivated by factors like peer pressure or the desire to belong to a particular group.

D. A Historical Development of Fashion. Since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, fashion has been an important part of societal dressing. Fashionable fashions have often been associated with Egyptian culture, as a means of displaying the superiority of the ruling class. Fashionable fashions were often highly ornamented, reflecting the high standards of dress that were prevalent in ancient times. Fashionable fashions were also considered sacred, since they tended to epitomize the values and principles of the times.

E. Changing Trends. As time passes, the design of fashion continues to undergo many changes. Some fashion designs become popular and others lose their popularity as the fashion design takes on new trends. A popular trend may be adopted as a part of a larger trend, or it may be encouraged as an individual style.