Prêt-à-byzantiner : moda, modi, mondi bizantini

Variant title
Prêt-à-byzantiner : móda, styl a svět Byzance
Source document: Convivium. 2015, vol. 2, iss. 2, pp. 134-153
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
Rights access
fulltext is not accessible
The phrase prêt-à-byzantiner, a play on the contemporary fashion industry's prêt-à-porter (ready to wear), has been coined to establish a connection between early Byzantine art and today's world of fashion. This text examines the perception of Byzantine materials, forms, historical figures, and decorative systems as manifested in the Byzantine-influenced collections of five influential maisons between 1990 and 2014. The study outlines the traces of a "lost in translation" route that carried ancient Byzantium to the contemporary era. It also aims to understand how fashion designers have perceived Byzantine art and to shed light on the adaptation of Byzantium's very distinctive formal and ornamental features into a new visual vocabulary. Four elements guide the analysis: the Empress Theodora, the medium of mosaic, the city of Ravenna, and gold as a material and a color. The main conclusion is that the twentieth-century perception manifested in prêt-à-byzantiner consists of clichés and simplifications of Byzantine art, and reflects no historiographical considerations.