Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Classicism in Modern Dress

Thematic Essays

By Category

By Geographical Region & Time Period
By Department

History, whether manifested as embracing revival or smug repudiation, is especially evident in fashion. Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode. For most of the period that followed, classical motifs and allusions were essentially superficial. Not until the first decade of the twentieth century, with the movement to an uncorseted body, did a classical sensibility return to fashion with any pronounced significance.


Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode.

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Cited Works of Art or Images (1)

  • The Charioteer of Polyzalos

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Hellenic dress, with its diversity of draped effects based on reductive, orthogonal components, established an apt paradigm for designers. While the modernists gravitated toward the elegant economy of the construction of dress provided by antique models, postmodernists preferred to cite classical iconography more explicitly. That such contradictory movements incorporated the concepts and imagery of classical dress suggests the protean nature of the style.


In the face of the fashion system's cycle of novelty and obsolescence, the classical mode, with its evocation of an enduring and immutable ideal, is somewhat of a paradox. Ancient Hellenic attire continues to inspire designers two-and-a-half millennia later, testimony to the universal aspiration to transform woman into goddess through dress.

Harold Koda
The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charioteer of Delphi, 478 or 474 B.C.
Greek
Bronze
Archaeological Museum, Delphi


Classicism in Modern Dress | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Classicism in Modern Dress

Thematic Essays

By Category

By Geographical Region & Time Period
By Department

History, whether manifested as embracing revival or smug repudiation, is especially evident in fashion. Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode. For most of the period that followed, classical motifs and allusions were essentially superficial. Not until the first decade of the twentieth century, with the movement to an uncorseted body, did a classical sensibility return to fashion with any pronounced significance.


Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode.

Related

Cited Works of Art or Images (1)

  • The Charioteer of Polyzalos

Share

Hellenic dress, with its diversity of draped effects based on reductive, orthogonal components, established an apt paradigm for designers. While the modernists gravitated toward the elegant economy of the construction of dress provided by antique models, postmodernists preferred to cite classical iconography more explicitly. That such contradictory movements incorporated the concepts and imagery of classical dress suggests the protean nature of the style.


In the face of the fashion system's cycle of novelty and obsolescence, the classical mode, with its evocation of an enduring and immutable ideal, is somewhat of a paradox. Ancient Hellenic attire continues to inspire designers two-and-a-half millennia later, testimony to the universal aspiration to transform woman into goddess through dress.

Harold Koda
The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charioteer of Delphi, 478 or 474 B.C.
Greek
Bronze
Archaeological Museum, Delphi

Classicism in Modern Dress | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Classicism in Modern Dress

Thematic Essays

By Category

By Geographical Region & Time Period
By Department

History, whether manifested as embracing revival or smug repudiation, is especially evident in fashion. Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode. For most of the period that followed, classical motifs and allusions were essentially superficial. Not until the first decade of the twentieth century, with the movement to an uncorseted body, did a classical sensibility return to fashion with any pronounced significance.


Although components of Hellenic attire have appeared throughout Western fashion’s 600-year history, it is only from the 1790s to the 1810s that classicized forms are embraced as the prevailing mode.

Related

Cited Works of Art or Images (1)

  • The Charioteer of Polyzalos

Share

Hellenic dress, with its diversity of draped effects based on reductive, orthogonal components, established an apt paradigm for designers. While the modernists gravitated toward the elegant economy of the construction of dress provided by antique models, postmodernists preferred to cite classical iconography more explicitly. That such contradictory movements incorporated the concepts and imagery of classical dress suggests the protean nature of the style.


In the face of the fashion system's cycle of novelty and obsolescence, the classical mode, with its evocation of an enduring and immutable ideal, is somewhat of a paradox. Ancient Hellenic attire continues to inspire designers two-and-a-half millennia later, testimony to the universal aspiration to transform woman into goddess through dress.

Harold Koda
The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charioteer of Delphi, 478 or 474 B.C.
Greek
Bronze
Archaeological Museum, Delphi