From the advent of the first civilizations in the warm valley regions of the Indus, Euphrates, and Nile rivers, clothing has functioned as so much more than merely protection against the elements. Particularly ceremonial dress, which a visual shorthand for your place on the social structure, be it a tribal village, a thriving democracy or a totalitarian state.
The new *Power and Style: A World History of Politics and Dress* by François and Dominique Gaulme (Flammarion, 2013) surveys the sartorial landscape to reveal the evolution of costume and sartorial codes that have marked each era from the early Nambikwara tribe in Brazil to the present day. Topics include the feathers, pigments, shells & tapa cloths of so-called “naked” societies; the elaborate togas used by Roman emperors to demonstrate power; the uniforms of dictators like Adolph Hitler and Mao Tse Tung which showcased their authority and iron hand; and today's standardization of formal attire among world leaders, with the perfectly tailored business suit being de rigueur.
After all, clothes maketh the man, particularly the rich and powerful.
- Lesley Scott
(image - top: source)