Greek influences on clothing

Written by jessa menamos
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Greek influences on clothing
The Greek goddess Hera exemplifies Greek clothing. ( Images)

Greek culture may be renowned for epic tragedies, but this sombre theme did not carry over to their fashion sense. Today, women can unleash their inner Greek goddess with Greek inspired clothing. Contemporary fashion designers have looked to Greek culture, art and ideals to create some of the trendiest clothes today.

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The Greeks were masters of tasteful seduction. They knew how to show their assets, while not showing anything distasteful. They loved using transparency in their clothing from gowns to veils. For scholar John Vaio, the idea of transparency in Greek clothing "create[d] a palpable tension between female modesty and sexual attractiveness" as seen in ancient Greek statues of "modesty gestures and massive rounded bodies, completely covered in transparent clothing." Today, this tension of modesty and sexuality is apparent in garments like sheer maxi dresses.


The Mediterranean climate also produced the sultry and practical one-shoulder look. The common one-shoulder Greek gowns have led to novel one-shoulder summer dresses, shirts and swimming costumes. This look shows off your goddess glow tan while keeping you fresh and cool. The one shoulder look toys with the Greek tension between modesty and sexual attractiveness.


Designer Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was inspired by Greek chiton clothing. While Fortuny's design was known as the Delphos gown, it is commonly referred to as a tunic dress. The fluted dress with pleating was a spin off ionic chiton. Ionic chitons were used by both sexes in Greece, although they were usually a female piece of clothing. The hallmarks of the chiton is the extended, flowing and usually pleated arms of the gown. It was made by sewing two pieces of thin woollens together. In Phoenician times, ionic chitons were popular among musicians and charioteers.


The Greeks were masters of the flowing and ethereal draping technique. The juxtaposition of flowing movement and hugging of the body is known as tailored draping and plays with Greek ideas of sexual attractiveness. Designer hopefuls like Rami Kashu from "Project Runway" and masters like Oscar de la Renta are draping aficionados. Madame GREs, who was also a sculptor, directly cited the influence of Grecian draping in her designs.

Grecian Dress

Greek goddess dresses are no longer for your college's fraternity Halloween party. Whether draped, pleated, one-shoulder, chunky or T-strapped, designers couture designers like Elie Saab, Valentino, James Coviello and Gucci are creating luxury Grecian dresses. Not only is the construction of these dresses versatile, but they also come in myriad colours from feminine pastels to bold colours. Hollywood red carpets have seen plenty of celebrities like Mischa Barton and Rihanna grace the red carpet in their chichi Grecian gowns.

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