Intro to Bohemian fashion
Bohemian fashion started from the people that identified as free spirited in the art community. Their creativity wasn’t only expressed in what they created but in their clothes as well. By definition, bohemian is something that is not accepted in the fashion of that particular time. Today many global companies have created their own versions of what this genre of fashion looks like to them.
When the French Revolution began, it set off a set of changes both socially and politically. It marked the end of a monarchy which then a republic went through times of political turmoil and violence. It not only started the decline of monarchies around the world, but started something in the fashion world that has not stopped to this very day. You can see bohemian inspiration everywhere – this includes many top designers and many chain stores. It does not stop there, internet retail has become so popular, you can also find bohemian accessories online as well as clothing.
French Revolution 1789 – 1799
Before the monarchy started neglecting its people, it was made up of high and low classes. The high class were considered to be noble and the lower class was made up of merchants, servants, peasants and artisans. French fashion reached magnificent heights and bloomed in Versailles with embroidery never before seen and skirts that went on for days. Each design and fabric were more lavish than the next. Corsets and wide skirts were what women wanted but as the instability set in, all these lavish elements seemed to get stripped away with it and styles of clothing became more relaxed. Simpler dresses and a flowing silhouette became all the rage all while maintaining their elegance. This is when France was at its worst – the lower class was coming closer into poverty and Marie Antoinette became their target with 98% of the population in revolt.
Fashion Revolution Post – 1799
Before the revolution, the French upper class were the main income for many artists that produced fine art. When it all came crashing down, however, all these artist lost their clients and started living nomadic lifestyles where they would learn to live without many expenses. This was a far cry from mainstream society when artists started wearing used or unfashionable clothing; it was a way for them to express their creativity on more than a canvas. They wore vibrant materials and scarves along with wide brimmed hats, many people made the mistake of thinking they were gypsies. Gypsies hail from Romania, but their fashion sense was pretty similar.
Romance and Machinery in the 18th and 19th Century
The romantic movement really had an impact in the bohemian values when it came to nature and nurturing the imagination. All these artists and the people who joined into the bohemian lifestyle, had no sense of putting wealth before their craft or passions. Writers, artists, wayward youth – all joined this movement protesting the industrial revolution which they all thought destroyed nature and beauty. The word bohemian started in the 19th century as a way to describe this group of people. They continued protesting and living non traditional lives which have inspired so many different people and created so many different takes on the bohemian style.
Bohemian Fashion Today
While the French Revolution has had a great impact on the way people who live the true bohemian lifestyle live, most designers seem to take inspiration from Americas bohemian movement. This includes the beatniks from the 50’s and the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s, as well as infusing traditional Native American designs with fringe and feathers. Prints that are most likely used and that you are most likely to see, include kaleidoscope colours, paisley prints and watercolor paint designs. We all know what truly makes this look complete and that is the accessories.
If you are unsure on how to dress bohemian or need some tips or ideas the internet is a great place to find inspiration. So many jewellery designers have come out with great bohemian style pieces and the way they are worn is completely up to you. Most people go over the top and stack layers upon layers or you can go simple and have a touch of bohemian into your wardrobe. You can easily find bohemian clothes and bohemian accessories online or you can search in stores – this style is everywhere!