With the death of Louis XIV and the coronation of Louis XV in 1715, a new style called rococo blossomed across Europe. Although the term was later used in a derogatory manner, suggesting excess and frivolity, it generally refers to a high achievement in fashion that represents the height of French culture. Though France was already the well-renowned leader in fashion by the reign of Louis XIV, the rococo period confirmed the countrys reputation as a worldwide leader in the world of fashion. After the initial popularity of rococo, the styles changed, and the French Revolution in 1789 seemed to create a new modernization in clothing styles reducing rococo into the much more stark fashions of neoclassicism in style. The radical change in clothing style is one of the most dramatic such shifts in the history of fashion.
During the seventeenth century new and ornate mens fashions continually appeared, but by the time of the eighteenth century the styles had become much more refined. The typical French court apparel included a coat, which gradually became more fitted and added a waistcoat and breeches, a white shirt, a cravat, and a pair of silk stockings. Brilliant colors and intricate embroidery were increasingly important adornments. Cloth for jackets was often embroidered before being tailored so that men could choose their favorite patterns and then order the suit cut and sewn to size.
Despite the fact that Rococo began in the exclusively ornamental arts, the method showed unquestionably in painting. Painters used graceful colors and blissful forms, decorated with cherubs and myths of love. Some works show a sort of wickedness or contamination in the behavior of their subjects. Landscapes were idyllic and often illustrated the laid-back jaunts of patricians.
On the eve of the French Revolution, striped patterns became very popular, and the desire for elaborate embroidery seemed to tail off and the favored fabric shifted from silk to much more simple cotton. The youth adopted new fashions that defined the age, some dressing in black coats to be seen as outlandish. The only thing, it seems that could end the reign of high-fashion rococo dress was the leveling of the French Revolution.
London has been one of the fashion centers of the world for a long time now. Ever since its inception in 1984, the London Fashion Week has remained an awaited annual affair. This fashion week is now counted amongst the most reputed Fashion Weeks of Milan, Paris and New York. London, in any case, has always been popular for eclectic style – right from the prim and proper be garments by Saville Row to the quirky fashions of Portobello Road.
Looking at the developments
Masters of designer fashion, Rose Bertin and Charles Fredrick Worth have both spent time in London and contributed to the fashion world there. Bertin gave his contributions to fashion in London when he was exiled there during the French Revolution. Worth had worked as a draper in London before moving on to Paris. Despite its impeccable fashion designs, London still was not at a stage where it could be compared with Paris as far as fashion was concerned. London, though, did stay and continued to be a centre for fashion throughout the early 20th century.
The gradual changes
The fashion scenario changed in the 1960s. London suddenly became the trendsetter in terms of fashion, which was partly due to the miniskirt, created by the fashion designer Mary Quant. Despite fashion becoming simpler, it became more revealing too, more than what was made in the 1950s. It was now a time when models influenced fashion. London, apart from introducing the miniskirt, also gave birth to the bell bottomed trousers, which became a signature trend of the late 60s and 70s.
With the arrival of the 70s, the influence only increased with the introduction of the punk style. Vivienne Westwood became one of the most prominent designers of this era, making punk the new fashion of the street. She tried to implicate the music scene into her designs, managing to combine the feel of music with clothing styles. She was well-known for creating innovative, and shocking outfits.
London’s influence had not yet become pronounced in the 1980s, but the city became home to some of the best known fashion houses, one of which was the Burberry House. The company became famous for its waterproof cotton and the trench coat. Not only that, but its trench coat became one of the most copied and recognizable coat styles. Burberry, along with other London fashion houses, depicts elegance, style and durability.
The influence of this fashion designer city then only increased, and London now is home to various fashion houses some of which include names like Stella McCartney, Jimmi Choo and Alexandar McQueen. Down the years, London’s reputation as a fashion hub has changed and today, one cannot possibly ignore the importance of the place.