June 10, 2013

The World's First Fashion Book?

Fashion and accounting don't really seem to go together, especially in the 16th century  However, "in an extraordinary undertaking spanning 40 years a style-obsessed accountant from Augsburg in Germany recorded in detail what he wore, creating what historians now think is the world's first fashion book." Starting in 1520, the accountant "was in fact an innovator who pushed style boundaries. His book also challenges established ideas about historical fashion, particularly that only the very rich were stylish."

 "If sumptuary laws banned a certain item of clothing or accessory he would push a different way...If fancy hose were forbidden for example, he might have gone for fancy sleeves instead." He went to great lengths to create outfits. Unlike today there were no luxury brands he could buy off the peg.
Being an accountant presented another problem. Sumptuary laws were a sety of rules which dictated what you could and could not wear based on your social rank.

Working for important merchants he had access to fine materials and the contacts to get whatever else he needed. '
He would employ skilled craftspeople,' says Jenny Tiramani, theatre designer and principal of the School of Historical Dress. 'Everything would have been done by hand as the sewing machine hadn't been invented.'"

Be sure to read the entire article here. There is also a nice video with one of the recreated outfits.

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