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20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of…

20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment (1966)

by François Boucher

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As TRINA (LT) points out, fashion can be extremely frivolous, and also can speak volumes about ourselves in seconds.

{We've only been living in Cities for 6-8000 years; only had Agriculture for 12-18,000 years. Only had language for what, maybe 50,000 years? The earliest known humans are the 160,000 year old Huerto skulls from Ethiopia.}

{But back 30,000 years when we were first limning the Chauvet Cave with paint, and carving Venus, lo, the decorative cordage, the shell-nut necklace, the delta skirt. [22] We had yet to build cities or temples or palaces, but we most certainly had "Fashion"!}

Clothing is covering of the body. Costume is the particular choice of form of garment, reflecting physical conditions, technology, and social factors--beliefs, status, aesthetics. [9] Two theories of Costume: (1) The Greek/Chinese -- the covering starts from the physical, a protection from elements. (2) The Biblical -- the covering is invoked for modesty, magic, or the desire to please.

(Both of these grand theories, and neither of them, are correct.)

Two Helpful (accurate) Chronologies:

II. Prehistoric - on page 31.

III. Western Asia - 75.

Note the history of "pants" -- first introduced to civilization by horse "barbarians" [53, 68]. As late as Rome, men wore skirts.

Omits details on non-European parts of the world, which may be understandable in light of the differences of costume, village by village; still, the title promised so much more. Also neglects the history of Sumptuary Laws, and class restrictions coming under color of usually false "religious" mandates, with their influence on fashion. ( )
  keylawk | Jul 8, 2008 |
My mum got this for me for my birthday, and i love it! It's got lots of beautiful pictures of people and dresses, and covers many centuries rather well detailed. I just love looking at the pictures and dreaming about the dresses!

A Beautiful read and well, mostly, view. ( )
  Fleur-De-Lis | Apr 13, 2006 |
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If one admits that clothing has to do with covering one's body, and costume with the choice of a particular form of garment for a particular use, is it then permissible to deduce that clothing depends primarily on such physical conditions as climate and health, and on textile manufacture, whereas costume reflects social factors such as religious beliefs, magic, aesthetics, personal status, the wish to be distinguished from or to emulate one's fellows and so on?
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"The ways that people have dressed and adorned themselves provide fascinating insights into human history--revealing personality, wealth, religion, social status, occupation, nationality, and much more ... 20,000 Years of Fashion is a definitive study of mankind's efforts to cover, decorate, and improve the appearance of the human body."--Cover.… (more)

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