I love the details in clothes, from the way in which they are constructed, to the flashy application of shiny bits and bobs. Details can change a plain dress into a special and treasured item. They can emphasise or disguise and make something luxurious or ordinary.
Imagine you lived in a time where every bead, every bit of embroidery on your clothing was put there by you, by hand. Every silk-covered button was covered by someone, by hand. Every piece of lace was knitted by a nun somewhere, by hand.
I can’t speak for you, but it’s likely my clothes would be made of plain fabric in the most simple of styles - or that I’d have extremely skilled staff on retainer.
I was thinking about this because I visited the Auckland Museum with my Mum and, specifically, saw the Encounter: New Zealand Design and Decorative Arts exhibit.
Nowadays you can buy beautifully detailed things all year round, be it designer, vintage or fast fashion. My own wardrobe features beading, sequins applied in perfect symmetrical order, lace of both incredible fineness and deliberate coarseness, frills, ruffles, trims and fripperies of all order. Aren’t we fortunate to have access to beautiful things with such ease?
I encourage you to read about the Encounter exhibition (just click the photo of the blue embroidery above!), and if you’re in Auckland, to make your way to the Museum and have a look. It is a phenomenal display of beauty – not just in fashion, but in decorative arts more broadly.