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Coco Chanel & Vivien Westwood - Essay Example

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Coco Chanel & Vivien Westwood

Modernism was not conceived as a style but a loose collection of ideas. Where and when it was born is anybody's guess, but it flourished in Germany and Holland, as well as in Moscow, Paris, Prague and New York. Modernists wanted to build a better world, a world that could achieve social improvement through technology. The modernist's principles were frequently combined with social and political beliefs which held that design and art could, and should, transform society. Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel belonged to this school of thought. (V&A, Modernism-Designing a New World 1914-1939, www.vam.ac.uk)1.

Modernism which presume the existence of clear-cut distinctions between different types of aesthetic endeavors, are perceived as elitist in comparison with postmodernism, in which high culture is no longer viewed as aesthetically superior to popular culture and dominant cultures are no longer more significant than minority cultures. The shift from modernist to postmodernist styles is viewed as a consequence of social, political, and cultural changes that have altered the relationships between different social groups and the dominant culture, as well as the ways in which these social groups can be plausibly represented by cultural categories (An Excerpt from Diana Crane’s 1933- "Postmodernism and the Avant-Garde: Stylistic Change in Fashion Design", . The reign of Prince Regent (1820-1830) came to be known as the Regency era. Empress Josephine, during Emperor Napoleon’s (1804) time was a great fashion leader for the slender fashions of the day designed by Leroy. From fake pearls and strass paste gems to parures and Cameos, these fascinating jewellery made under the influence of Greek and Roman architecture, came to be symbolic of the 18th and 19th century fashion world.
The high waist styles of early 19th century known as the Empire style, evolved in the late 1700s. It began as a chemise shift gathered under the breasts and at the neck.It had a very dcollet low square neckline, a short narrow backed bodice and separate skirt. The small neat puff sleeves barely capped the shoulder. They were pulled back by the narrow cut of the bodice and this restricted arm movement. The fabric for Empire dresses was usually made of fine white lawn, muslin or batiste. The predominant styles followed during the regency fashion period were those of Spencer, Pelisse, and Redingote (Pauline Weston Thomas, Regency Fashion History, 1800s Costume History, for Fashion-era.com, www.fashion-era.com).

2.0 Definition of Modernism and Post-Modernism

Between World Wars I and II, there was the rise of a puritanical style of design popularly called Modernism or the International Style. Many designs during this period represented a form known for its overall severity and geometry, combined with symmetry, order and simplicity. What was conspicuous was the absence of colour and applied decoration. When colour was applied, it was rarely spontaneous, and seen in geometrical formats and clear-cut, ...Show more

Summary

Fashion has seen many a change over the centuries. Right from the time Prince Regent took over the reign from his ailing father, King George III, to stamp his authority (1820-1830), fashion has come a long way to the present. …
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Coco Chanel & Vivien Westwood essay example
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