Saturday, 2 June 2012

Corsets, Cod pieces and Crinolines...Is it comfortable to be in Fashion?

Corsets, Cod pieces and Crinolines....Part One

Is it comfortable to be in Fashion?

In the natural world many species alter their appearance by changing their skin colour or by arraying their fur or plumage in a different manner during the breeding season specifically to attract a mate. This is particularly noticeable where there is competition from others and is more often performed by males than females.

Male Peacock

Female Peahen

There seems to be a parallel in the human world in both sexes using fashion as a medium of attraction. As there is no breeding season humans are continually changing their appearance sometimes creating bizarre fashions and enduring discomfort and life threatening body shapers in order to fulfil this need.

Victorian Corset

Lacing a Dandy 1819

In the historical context it was most noticible in the aristocratic and weathly circles where perhaps finding a suitable mate was more difficult, and where the cost of this activity was more acceptable.
There also seemed to be a need to be recorded in your finery for posterity or perhaps for your image to reach a wider audience, to this end portraits were commissioned and painters were valued very highly if they could capture the likeness in a manner that pleased both the patron and the sitter.

Queen Elizabeth 1
Even after the discovery of photography having your portrait painted was much more desirable and more enduring , and perhaps, in some cases more flattering!

Look out for Part 2