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Art March, 19 2009

Medievalism: Fashion’s Romance with the Middle Ages

Romantic ideas of chivalry and courtly magnificence from the Middle Ages have inspired the use of medieval silhouettes and details in modern fashion design, literature, architecture and art. Also known as Gothic style, medievalism blossomed in the mid-19th century as a sentimental response toward the societal challenges of rapid industrialization. While its origins lie in early antiquarian studies and politics, the revival of medieval silhouettes and motifs today emerges through popular mediums such as films, books and fairy tales that are distant interpretations.

Featuring over 40 ensembles, accessories and rare books, this exhibition will show medieval influences on fashion designs of the early 19th century through current collections. From Mariano Fortuny’s luxurious velvet gowns to John Galliano’s haute couture armor for Christian Dior to current Gothic street style, this fanciful installation brings together fashions that evoke the sumptuous textures and elegant, flowing lines that capture the medieval spirit.

Open until July 5, 2009, at Phoenix Art Museum.

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