Impact of historical clothing on the culture of new romantic movement Essay

New romantic was a movement of fashion and music that existed in the early 1980’s. This movement was short lived. The movement originated mainly from United Kingdom and Ireland. New romantic was characterized by typical music and style. Major supporters of the movement included, Adam and the Ants, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet among others. The posers in new romantic group, generally the more creative persons whose great interest revolved around sartorial aspect of dressing up than the radical punk anti fashion, acquired new ideas to get attention.

New Romantic Movement adopted much of the historic clothing designs of the 19th century. (Vladimir et al., 2001)In the early 1800, the women’s dress was revolutionized to be more fussy and decorative. The skirts were fuller with the waist line descending to the natural waist. These clothes were revealed a more modest role of women and described them as delicate, fragile and decorative. The clothes were greatly influenced by Queen Victorian of England. These historic clothes also portrayed emotions.

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It was believed that women were more sentimental than men and the clothes were also designed to reveal this uniqueness of the two sexes.The slope shouldered, full sleeved silhouette of the 19th century women clothing was stylish and suggested a fragile body and a butterfly decorative quality. This style was subdued and modest and new romantic of the 1980’s used these clothes for glamour. This was elegant in Hollywood and the princess of Wales also adopted the new romantic hence influencing the fashion for quality and glamour.

These clothes were dated back to the historic periods during Queen Victoria’s times. She came to throne in 1837 and was very keen on fashion. In fact most of the new romantic women’s wear was associated with her tastes of the 19th century. (Bethan, 2003) The new romantic adopted the ideas in the historic clothing in revolutionizing of a new fashion after punk which dominated the 1970’s. The luscious and frilled fabrics related to the historical periods were flashy and were deployed by new romantics to bring out a personal look in glamour in themes of Hollywood. In new romantic, the historic fabric wearers were determined to look colorful in a luxuriant and attractive way.

A new romantic pop star, Adam Ant in particular used the historic clothes in epitomizing the more beautiful features of new romanticism.In most clubs, new romanticism led to change of format of the important music nights which was originally Fridays and Saturdays. This led to setting up of a special one night that could cater for minority taste in London. Former posers of punk readily took glamour and romance in the historic clothing hence the night clubs offered a perfect opportunity for them to display their fashion. In some clubs, for instance, Blitz and St.

Mortiz, historical attires were worn by theatrical bands. These two clubs were the venues where new romantic phenomenon started. (Alice, 2005)The designers of new romantic clothing borrowed ideas virtually from historic clothing. These designers include Colin Swift, David Holah, Stevie Stewart and Vivienne Westwood who designed specially for Adam and the Ants from ideas adapted from dandified historic designs. Her designed were referred to as Vivienne Westwood Pirate designs.Influential singers of the era including, Bryan Ferry, Spandau Ballet, Visage, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Boy George and Adams And The Ants adopted new romantic which moved swiftly into a mainstream fashion through the reinforcement of the pop singers.

The Swashbuckling pirate look was typical romantic glamour which had the swashbuckling style of pirates and buccaneers, a design that had historical background of 19th century clothes. The full sleeved frilled pirate shirts were tailored from luxury fabrics. Dramatic theatrical brocade or hussar fashion jackets of velvet or silk with complete braiding were imitated and appeared on many jackets.New romantic desired one to be unique, i.e. intended one to be individual unlike uniformity that was emphasized in punk.

The uniqueness in new romantic was achieved by the adaptation of the historic dressings which the new romantics used in theater and other presentations. The movement also longed for clothing fantasies of the early and mid 1990’s.The 1980’s glamour and occasion wear was highly influence by the romantic dressing idea. Occasion wear in new romantic resembled that of the historic dressing. Common occasion wear included a return of cocktail dress, evening suits with flared basque jackets and short straight skirts which extended just above the knee for ladies.

(Catherine, 2000)Dresses in elegant satins and foulard silks were mostly batwing or with set in sleeves. The two styles had shoulder pads and normally swathes of cloths were gathered and ruched onto hip bands, with draping silk, chiffon crepe de chine or asymmetric draped swirling skirts. These occasion wears had a strong relation to the historic dressings.In the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, they embraced the new romantic fashion during their wedding in early eighty’s. New romantic assimilated various clothes from the renaissance clothing. All of the clothes that were worm in new romantic had some traces of the historical clothing and the new romantics used this for uniqueness in theater for actors and actresses especially in Hollywood.

Pop stars formed the culture of new romantic in the various groups.For evenings, just like for the Victorian clothes of 1815, Lace was popular. The cream Lace bound with cream satin collars was preferred. The Princess of Wales was the first to wear this taste of Lace and afterwards several appearances occurred. The mohair sweaters of the renaissance times were oversized during new romantic. In addition they were covered with sumptuous beadings and satin appliqué.

They were also ideal for evenings just like the Lace. Intarsia knit jumpers with a historic taste was fashionable during new romanticism.The glamorous occasion wear was the effect and option to the dressing down that was emerging from the sports wear wearing as casual wear.

In fact the 1980’s fashioned one of the most naff wear of the century. (Veronica, 2007)New romanticism was spread through mass media especially television. The soap operas such as Dynasty were characterized by the new Romantic Movement.  Some garments of new romantic today create hoots of laughter when worn. Television presenters sometimes wear them to typify the element of New Romantic era.ReferencesVladimir, B. et al. New Romantic: The definition guide to popular music, New York: New York Publishers, 2001.

Veronica, M. Designing clothes: Culture and organization of the fashion industry, London: Oxford University Press, 2007.Bethan, B. Femininity and women’s lifestyles, New York: Macmillan Publishers, 2003.

Alice, M. Art and Fashion: The impact of art on fashion and fashion on art, New York: Prentice hall, 2005.Catherine, K.

New Romantic and Renaissance clothes, New York: McGraw Hill, 2000. 

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