As in other Arab countries, Egypt perpetuates an ancestral tradition of embroidery to decorate clothing. This custom dates back so long that researchers have found embroidery on pieces of fabric woven with flax fiber dating from the 5th century AD, which we can find today in the Louvre Museum in France, under the name “tapestries”, or even “medallions”.
Figurative representations arising from an abstract concept linked to the perception that man has of the world around him, the allegories of the seasons appear in the Greek oral mythological tradition, before their legends were “put down on paper” in the ancient stories from the 8th century BC. Their symbolism is then described there: they are the ones who preside over the permanent cycle of Time, immutably bringing back to men the fruits and the riches which guarantee happiness and prosperity.
Egyptian Fashion: Cleopatra Makes a Comeback
The “Ancient Egypt” look has been making a comeback since the turn of the 21st century. Eyes made up with the Elizabeth Taylor-style graphic liner. Fine and drawn at the top of the eyelid and below the eye, it comes in bright colors: Klein blue, emerald green or even white.
Nefertiti’s ornaments at Chanel
Last season, the late Karl Lagerfeld signed an exceptional Métier d’Art collection for Chanel placed under the sign of the gift of the Nile, namely Egypt. At the foot of the Temple of Dendoure (temple of the goddess Isis) right in the middle of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the house has paraded silhouettes wearing a queen. Egyptian breastplates adorned with multicolored stones and feathers enhanced with gold leaf and natural pigments, signature tweed revisited for the occasion as well as Kalasiris, these long linen tube dresses worn by women during this period. Already a big spring/summer fashion trend 2000 years ago.
Fashion printed in our time in Egypt
Today, it is possible to order fabric prints that reproduce ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Whether on the commercial websites of Etsy, Amazon, or another online store, there are plenty of prints that look like ancient Egyptian designs. Decorators use them as tapestry or integrate them into furniture. It is obviously also possible to make clothes from these printed fabrics.
World-renowned fashion designers take inspiration from traditional Egyptian clothing and modernize it. Christian Dior honored pharaonic tunics and dresses during a memorable show in 2004, Gareth Pugh did it in 2011, Zuhair Murad also in 2020. There is even the Egyptian princess Zaeem Jamal who designed her wedding dress drawing inspiration from the ancient Byzantine style in 2015. Egyptian fashion is still very much inspired by its traditions and customs originating from the pharaohs.