Western Versus Ethnic

For many Western designers, non-Western aesthetics have provided a fertile subject matter, which has enabled them to develop creatively. This ability to break conventions is associated with a way of seeing, rather than faithful adherence to any particular ethnic style.
The overall eclecticism of ethnic fashion is expressed, for example, by Dries van Noten, as noted in Touches; exotisme, xive-xxe siècles: "For me, exoticism is the elsewhere, the other, the difference. It is generally associated with distant countries. But for me, it is rather everything that reroutes us from the ordinary... from our habits, our certainties and from the everyday to plunge us into a world that is amazing, hospitable and warm. (p. 203)
They have also found sources for ethnic fashion within the West, for example in the folk traditions of Northern and Eastern Europe. The fantasy element is strong in ethnic fashion; even when based on detailed research, designs are typically given a twist so they appear contemporary.
Ethnic dress ranges from a single piece to a whole ensemble of items that identify an individual with a specific ethnic group. An ethnic group refers to people who share a cultural heritage or historical tradition, usually connected to a geographical location or a language background; it may sometimes overlap religious or occupational groups.

Ethnic style in fashion is an important, yet somewhat neglected, area of fashion studies. As fashion continues adjusting to the multicultural condition, both within each Western nation and at the transnational level, ethnic style provides a particularly rich and diverse field of study- one that is likely to produce major future developments in fashion theory.
The second wave of ethnic fashion came in the late 1960s with such representatives in haute couture as Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, and Sonia Rykiel.
Also in this period, ethnic style was associated with transcendence of conventions, thereby allowing perceived deeper sensual qualities to be expressed.
The philosopher Hélène Cixous said about a jacket by Sonia Rykiel, and by implication about ethnic fashion as such: "A garment which is not a noisy manifestation of the street, but a fine manifestation of the world" (p. 97). She adds, "The dress doesn't separate the inside from the outside, it translates, sheltering" (p. 98)
Looking at clothes design in a stricter sense, ethnic styles were an important element in the intense experimentation with female dress in the first decades of the twentieth century.
Paul Poiret adapted the lines and silhouette of the Japanese kimono to contemporary dresses, and a few years later, he picked Middle Eastern inspiration to a sultan-and-harem mode of loose garments and bold color combinations.
Mariano Fortuny combined inspiration from contemporary Middle Eastern clothing and European art, especially Italian renaissance, in pleated dresses that follow the lines of the body.
His artistic dresses connote both timelessness-they are not made for special occasions or age brackets and are beyond the seasonal changes of fashion-and femininity that comes "from within", in the sense that it is less formal and less manifestly visible than the conventional gender code.

Ethnic Style in Fashion By Lise Skov


Category: My articles | Added by: nimblen9 (17.05.2020)
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