Age of Enlightenment

Vivienne Westwood AW12/13

The Age of Enlightenment refers to a period of history in the early 18th century (1700-1750) in which European intellectuals used their knowledge to advance education systems and propel society forward. For the first time fashion moved away from the lean, narrow silhouettes of the late 1600s and embraced a fuller, more decadent style, often known today as costume clothing. Women wore tight corsets teamed with billowing full skirts, and often underskirts and bustles to emphasise the contrast between the restrictive shape of the corset and the exaggerated fullness of the lower half of the body.  The true icon of the Age of Enlightenment is Marie Antoinette, and her signature look is frequently referenced as an inspiration in both ready-to-wear and couture collections, making this period of history prominent in terms of defining how many women choose to dress today.

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Written by Jacob Hall

Jacob Hall is a modern languages student currently working freelance as a fashion journalist. Can generally be found lurking around the Givenchy menswear section of the Birmingham Bullring!

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