When we wrestle with a coronavirus outbreak in these unforeseen times, steps such as “social distance” have become a major feature in our daily lives.
Fashion may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of deliberately increasing physical space between us, but clothing has long functioned as a useful way to reduce close contact with others.
In the current crisis, face masks have become a fashion accessory that signifies “getting away”, however, there is no need for a worldwide pandemic for people to want to keep others at arm’s length. In the past, maintaining distance was an important aspect of public life.
Handheld fans have been a part of Chinese culture for at least 3,000 years. Fans walked into Europe through trade and were popular from the 13th and 14th centuries onwards, where they became important accessories for rich women.
Echelon of European society adheres to strict etiquette rules. The means for women to express themselves freely is through coded messages using their fans. Women’s clothing is incomplete without this accessory, and she will use it to send messages to friends – or to have a crush.
Love can be communicated to her admirers by pressing the fan on her cheeks, while the hatred will be conveyed by pulling the fan through her hands. Fanning fast means he’s engaged and putting the fan handle on his lips means “kiss me”!
This fan, made of ivory, mother of pearl and silk, is owned by James Cromar Watt. She is an artist, architect, jeweler and collector of Asian artifacts, born in Aberdeen in 1862. This type of fan is typical of those made in China in large quantities for export and is fashionable among Victorian women. This fan has its own chocolate varnish box which features gold decorations on the outside.
Crinoline black mourning Victoria has a very full skirt. The thick dress was used to create a barrier between men and women in the social environment. This mandates that applicants will maintain a safe distance from the body of the wearer.
Fashion can be a perfect tool for maintaining social distance. It’s too early to say what new fashions and styles will emerge from this pandemic, but for now, pajamas are a popular choice for some of us …