Renaissance Costume

Fashion is imposed on costume, dictating and reflecting the changes and concerns of a society in any one place at any one time. Since economics most often determine the development of the societies in question, its study cannot be neglected in this regard. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy a great outpouring of art and economic growth was reflected in the textiles worn. There were rich tapestries, beautiful brocades with gold thread, and the legendary cloth of gold. An important aspect of this rebirth of humankind, or Renaissance, was the people’s pride in their physical beauty. This refinement of the art of pleasing, accentuated by clothing, was sustained by the love of luxurious materials, rich heavy stuffs, thick embroideries, sumptuous jewels and fragile lace, which were all a perfect setting for showing off superb jewels. They projected the people’s beliefs, both religious and spiritual, while conveying an image purely for purposes of personal status or, to accommodate a desire to be distinguished from others in a culture and its society. The growth of towns and enrichment of the mercantile classes meant that costume became a means for one class to demonstrate its rise, and for another to emphasize its jealously guarded preeminence.  

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