Fashion and Fairy Tales

Vogue, Sept. 2015 Photograph by Mikael Jansson

Vogue, Sept. 2015
Photograph by Mikael Jansson

The clothing illustrated in Ten Fingers Touching, a fairy tale for grown-ups, is reminiscent of garments made during the Middle Ages. Long ago, fashion was governed by Sumptuary Laws that reinforced social status by dictating what one could wear. For example, The English Sumptuary Law of 1363 legislated that “The wife or daughter of a knight was not to wear cloth of gold or sable fur.”

While clothing today is an expression of one’s taste and budget, fairy tales impact the fashion industry. In July 2014, The Wall Street Journal ran a story entitled Fairy Tales Inspire Fall Fashion that featured designer clothes influenced by “the magical and decorative world of Snow White and Red Riding Hood.“

Disney’s delightful movie Into the Woods (2014) intertwines the plots of several fairy tales including Jack and the Bean Stalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and others. This fantasy film has captured the imagination of fashion designers as well as galvanized the world of advertising.

Vogue currently has a spread entitled Into the Woods showing fairy tale inspired haute couture against the backdrop of a lost, sunken forest (see Briar Rose left). From a more informal perspective, Pittsburgh’s lifestyle magazine, WHIRL, portrays Into the Woods by highlighting Fall casual clothes in the heart of Western Pennsylvania’s beautiful woodlands (9/15).

While the real world is filled with many harsh realities, the more I immerse myself in the world of fantasy and imagination, the clearer it becomes that the fairy tale muse influences our daily lives.

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