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In the mid-19th century, a group of rebellious artists emerged in England, seeking to break free from the constraints of academic art. Known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, their impact transcended the confines of the canvas, extending into the realms of literature, design, and notably, fashion. Their romanticised interpretation of medievalism and nature's beauty not only revolutionised the art world but also left an indelible mark on the sartorial landscape. Let's delve into how the Pre-Raphaelites ignited a fashion revolution that continues to inspire designers and fashion enthusiasts to this day.

Reviving Medieval Romance
The Pre-Raphaelites drew inspiration from the medieval era, a time steeped in romance, chivalry, and craftsmanship. Their art often depicted medieval themes, featuring flowing gowns, intricate embroidery, and lavish fabrics reminiscent of a bygone era. This fascination with medieval aesthetics had a profound influence on fashion, giving rise to a renewed interest in historical dress.

One of the most iconic garments to emerge from this revival was the flowing, loose-fitting gown, reminiscent of the medieval style. Women adorned themselves in dresses with billowing sleeves, empire waists, and intricate embellishments, embodying the ethereal beauty celebrated by the Pre-Raphaelites in their paintings.

Nature as a Muse
Central to the Pre-Raphaelite philosophy was a deep reverence for nature's beauty. Their art often depicted lush landscapes, vibrant flora, and ethereal figures intertwined with the natural world. This celebration of nature's splendour extended to fashion, with designers incorporating botanical motifs, earthy tones, and flowing silhouettes into their creations.

Fabrics such as silk, velvet, and chiffon were favoured for their luxurious texture and ability to capture the essence of the natural world. Floral prints, inspired by the flora depicted in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, adorned dresses, scarves, and accessories, infusing fashion with a sense of organic beauty and romanticism.
Taming the Symbolic Urge – Pre-Raphaelite Flowers

Embracing Femininity
In contrast to the rigid corsets and structured garments of the Victorian era, Pre-Raphaelite-inspired fashion embraced a softer, more romantic aesthetic. Loose, flowing silhouettes allowed for greater freedom of movement, while delicate fabrics draped gracefully over the body, emphasising femininity and sensuality.

Hair and makeup also underwent a transformation, with women opting for loose, unbound hair and subtle, natural-looking cosmetics that echoed the soft, ethereal beauty immortalised in Pre-Raphaelite art. This departure from the strict beauty standards of the time reflected a desire to embrace individuality and authenticity.

Legacy and Influence
The influence of the Pre-Raphaelites on fashion continues to endure, resonating with designers, artists, and fashion enthusiasts around the world. Their romanticized vision of medievalism, reverence for nature, and celebration of feminine beauty have inspired countless collections, runway shows, and editorial spreads.

From the bohemian chic of the 1960s to the whimsical femininity of contemporary fashion, traces of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic can be found woven into the fabric of style throughout the ages. Whether through delicate floral prints, flowing silhouettes, or an appreciation for the natural world, the legacy of the Pre-Raphaelites lives on, reminding us of the enduring power of beauty, romance, and artistry.

The Pre-Raphaelites may have been a group of artists rebelling against the conventions of their time, but their influence transcended the canvas, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fashion. Through their romanticised zed interpretation of medievalism, reverence for nature, and celebration of feminine beauty, they ignited a fashion revolution that continues to inspire and captivate us to this day. As we continue to draw inspiration from their timeless elegance, we pay homage to the enduring legacy of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, whose vision continues to resonate with hearts and minds across the globe.
The Pre-Raphaelites: One of the Most Important Artistic Movements of the  19th Century | by Steve Newman Writer | Medium