History of Fashion – Semester 2
“Fashion truly has the power to change empires, sometimes for the best and even worse.”
The industry of fashion moving hurriedly to create more is based on the elements and objectives featured in the history of costume. The history is where we must look for the necessities for which the particulars were created. One such element is from the Elizabethan Era- the Ruffs and Collars.
After Henry VIII, his only heir Elizabeth Tudor was crowned during an era where the women were not be in-charge. Due to the critical crisis based on the ideology of the church, Elizabeth was required to maintain her stance. Her marriage to a prince of other land would mean giving away the government of England. The power of the kingdom was not to be given away and hence, Elizabeth never aimed towards an alliance. She would express her power and strength through her costume that had bombaster sleeves, high and stiff ruffs, farthingales, starched collars, flattening corsets, chemise, etc. She wore combinations of Italian, French and Spanish styles.She fashioned the ruff collar of various sizes that kept her neck high and empowered her appearance in front of all. They were mostly enormous and fanned around her neck.
Known as the Virgin Queen, her style majorly helped in maintaining hierarchy in the court. ‘Sumptuary laws’ were originally brought in by Henry VIII and continued under Queen Elizabeth I until 1600. They were enacted to enforce order and obedience to the Crown, and to allow the assessment of status at a glance. Elizabeth was always the sole owner of all the fabrics she wore. Today, the ruffs can be seen on simpler clothing such as blouses and dresses. It has been comfortably adopted in the 21st century as an element of statement.