Spanish Empire


Lanvin AW11/12

Spanish Empire refers to a period of history in which Spain held power and controlled a number of territories between the 15th and 19th century. During this period Spain became a driving force in the advancement of textiles, especially more decadent fabrics such as lace and silk. The aesthetic of Spanish fashion was noted for being extremely elegant and relatively minimalist in comparison to the more extravagant silhouettes that French couture was championing. The Spanish put particular emphasis on the shape of the body, using details such as ruffs and collars on form-fitting gowns – black silk was regularly the material of choice, whereas coloured silk would be used to design garments for special occasions. The Spanish tradition of extravagant or contrasting collars is still often implemented by designers, especially couturiers.

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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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