Artistic or aesthetic clothing (one term evolved from the other over the course of several decades) had an apparently simple purpose – the sartorial re-enactment of the glorious days of old. The paintings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood aimed to recapture the sincerity of art in the days before Raphael’s grand and mannered paintings. The sumptuous silk gowns worn by models Lizzie Siddal and Jane Morris were heavy with artistic symbolism but the Pre-Raphaelite approach was more than a mere painterly style and the clothes moved beyond the canvas sparking a fashion among a small group of aesthetes and intellectuals for loose, flowing fashions.
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