Analysis of historical prototypes of the methods of morphological clothing transformation

Issue #3 • 2725

Making of clothes, which can be transformed, was always connected with providing many impor-tant functions of human activity. Transformed clothes are made for dynamic mode of life and everyday situations specified by frequent changing of functional processes and high rhythm of events. Thus, the principle of morphological transformation has fundamental significance in the forming of modern clothes for different purposes.

In order to define historical prototypes and perspectives of development of modern assortment of transformed clothes, their structures, methods and tools of morphological transformation, the retrospective analysis of historical clothing has been done. The analysis of information having been ob-tained at the result of the search of literature, archive, and museum materials gives a vision of wide variety of transformation types having been used in historical clothing. This allows specifying some typical periods in its development, which are closely connected with modifications of clothing design and materials. During many centuries definite methods of constructive – technological and compositional solutions of transformed clothing and its elements were developing.

Already at the initial stage of the development of clothing prototypes, up to the V millennia B.C., when just natural materials (animal skins, bark and plant fibres) were in use and general function of clothes was protective, the first methods of its transformation had been formed. For example, dif-ferent ways of skin wearing: fixture on a shoulder, a hole for a head in the middle of the skin, envelopment around a body and others. In the period from the 15th to the 5th millennia B.C., in the connection with the community switched to the producing economy, invention of mechanical methods of fire striking, extending of raw material basis as a result of land cultivation and cattle breeding development, the textile production proper was formed.

The first stage of transformed clothing development was connected with technologies of netting, knitting and weaving. Such features of textile materials as to be bent, draped as well as features of knitted materials to be stretched and formed had come in a wide use. Envelopment of a body with specially weaved or knitted piece of cloth, that is draping, was typical of the clothing of ancient peoples (Fig.1). In this case transformation lays within the principle of fitting of clothes, which is a whole piece of fabric of some form (rectangular, ellipse), for changing weather, anthropometry, situation, social status of a person and etc. Thus, the same thing could be transformed: to change a size, form, extending or changing the protective and social functions.

The draped clothing of the ancient Greeks – chiton, himation and chlamys as well as a cape “tebena” of the Etruscans, orarium and palla in antique Rome and the clothing in ancient India, having reserved without changing till our days are widely known. This is a male dhoti (straight strip of fabric of 2 – 5 m in length draping legs and hips), nivi being enveloped around the waist and sari, a traditional female dress that has a large number (more than 20) of ways of draping, fastening a free edge and forms of pleads. The headwear “chalm” (turban) are also draped. At the ancient time numerous and complicated ways of draping required high skills. Fibulas, bar pins, taches, ribbons, laces, bands, belts, straps and others, which became prototypes of modern fastening and fixture, were of-ten used in such clothing.

Automatic adjustment of things for a personal dynamic life in the account of plastic features of fabrics was also known a long ago (kalaziris in ancient Egypt, stocking-tricot in the period of the Gothic and Renaissance, modern knit). Capability of fabric to keep a stable form given by oriented contortion (pleat and fold) was used in numerous pleating of the Egyptian cloth (skhenti), in Chinese plahta (“pleated roll”), in Indian skirts, in long folded skirts in the Arabic East, in the folds on Japanese hakame and later in European clothes: in the side seams of justakor and dresses with folds “Watto” and others.

The next period of transformation was connected with development of models of cut clothing. Parted elements of clothes became a characteristic feature of this period. For a long time sleeves, collars, left and right parts of trousers, codpiece, spacious on-hip pants have existed as separate subjects of clothes, which were fastened to each other in this or that way or fastened on a body. There is a idea that this parting of clothes into details the tailors took from inventors of knight armour, though round applied collars-necklace were used already in ancient Egypt. The idea of parted collar has existed till our days and was used in clothing of the Late Middle Ages (collar-freza), Renais-sance (collar of Maria Medichi and raf) and in the wide flat laced collars of European clothing in the XVII c.

In Russia, in the XVIII c. a collar (obniz), decorated with pearls and stones, was buttoned on gam-besons and camises. Such obnizes were numerous and they were used as the case may require to look fill fug or just usually for everyday life. They differed in size, colour and design. And a suit of the Florentine man in the XV c. had parted sleeves, which in different ways (with lace, bands and needling) were held on weskit; trousers-stockings were also held on a weskit with bands. During centuries, the ideas on different methods of regulation of clothing, and its elements, volume and form were developing and improving. (Fig.1). Open and close cuts, knitting up and lace, which was used in Indian choli, female kott in the Roman period, in female clothes at the time of Renaissance, on male turpuan, female corsage (the XIX c.) and others, played an important role in structural design of clothing.

Applying of cuts on the lower parts of clothing and its elements became a prototype of modern vents. Cuts on central parts of elements made the clothes comfortable in wearing and decorated it as well. Such fashion was popular in Western Europe, especially in Germany, in the XV c. It was adopted from the clothes of mercenaries, which usually, for a comfort, cut their captures clothes on the lines of shoulders, elbow and knee bends. Active interest to cuts as decorative elements had caused a fashion of figured cuts (ovals, rhombuses, hearts and etc.). Knitting up was also wide spread: binder on stola (in Rome), wide sleeves knitted up with ribbon crossed on a breast (in China), regulation of trousers length in account of knitting up at the knees (in the Arabic East), regulation of width of trousers pachzhi at the level of ankle (in Korea) and etc.

Already the Scythians knew different methods of clothing wearing – this was a female khurta that could be put on in different ways. There were also different ways in the wearing of a cap with “pouldron” in the Early Middle Ages, “three-eared” fur hat as well as different styles of tie-croata knotting. With invention of set-in sleeves, the different sleeves to the same cloth came into use. In the XVIII c. the example of variant solution of clothing was presented by a short musketeer cloak kazak, a cloth of horsemen caban and others. The kazak, by means of numerous side clasps and clasps on sleeves could be transformed into the cloth with long and wide sleeves or into a short pelerine. Having fastened a back-piece to the side of a sleeve, one could leave cuts for comfortable gestures of hands. Sleeves of caban were set in just in the upper part and could be either put on the arms or thrown back and fastened on the back.

It is known a design of transformed half-slip in female European clothing of the XIX c., which, as a case may require, could serve a carcass for overskirts of different silhouettes. Already at the ancient time they attempted to form a set of transformed clothing, that is to make a cloth with changed number of forms within the same cloth. Each form played its own special role in the dress: forming carcass of male melon-shaped short trousers (from horsehair and sawdust), cot-ton wool applications for breast flattening in female dress and for a knob in the low part of torso – panseron (in a male Spanish dress in the XV c.) as well as scapulars and cushions on sleeves, car-cass half-slips panie, hoops, polison (the XVIII c.), warmth-keeping articles (fur, fluff, additional layers of weaved fabrics (for example in traditional Japanese winter kimono), decorative liner and etc.

Transformation of clothes from spacious to flat form was reached by means of combination of similar carcass elements or by other means. For example, in the headwear (tuybeteika, high hats). In-vention of membranous materials and technologies of glueing and welding opened the opportunity to create inflatable clothes, which are also specified by appearance and disappearance of volume (life jacket). Capability of fabrics to be rolled has been noticed a long before and became in common use as a decorative element in clothing (tucks on female overskirts, fixing of rolled sleeves in male, female and child dresses in the XIX – XX cc.).

Thus, as a result of our retrospective search for the historical clothing the twelve prototypes of methods, concerning morphological transformation of clothing, could be defined. They can be clas-sified in nine basic prototypes:
Extension – constriction of clothing elements or parts;
Parting – attachment of clothing elements or parts;
Regulation – fixing of size, volume and shape of parts of clothing;
Rolling – unrolling of clothing parts and elements;
Appearance – disappearance of volume;
Substitution of elements or parts by the other elements or parts;
Combination – insertion of parts;
Orientation of elements and parts or the whole cloth;
Interchange of elements and parts.

This classification of methods and ways of clothing transformation forms an important part of initial information for design of modern clothes for different purposes.

Author: Lola Shamuhitdinova,
Vera Chursina,
Khalida Kamilova

Pin It

Comments are closed.