We could call it ancient, the oldest privilege in society, it could be recognized as a sign of divinity or nobility in thousand years ago and still…it would be luxury. Though its own evolution, with many functions, it stands on every stage of known societies. So how the ancients viewed luxury and how their approach has contributed to our own attitudes to it?
Parameters of luxury in Ancient World:
- it was rare, expensive and exclusive
- fully integrated in society
- it was religious and gave a status of chosen
- it was considered as a gift by Gods
- not always friendly, considering rituals of sacrifice
- it had religious storytelling and it helped to create an aura of magical powers
- it was sometimes untouchable as a relic
- it defined a status of elite, signified great wealth and power
- it had a blessing meaning in participations for celebrations, festivals, war announcements.
The Ancient Egyptians wore jewelry to show their wealth and also because they believed it made them more attractive to the Gods. Also it was a way for person to buy themselves a proper passage to death (by Egyptian, Greek mythology)
Egyptian women wore full length straight dresses with one or two shoulder straps. During the New Kingdom period it became fashionable for dresses to be pleated or draped. The dresses worn by rich Egyptian women were made from fine transparent linen. Like the men, rich Egyptian women decorated their clothes and wore Ankh jewellery and headdresses.
To display their power and association with the gods, the Pharaohs wore different clothes than the nobles and the common people. Another royal garment is the royal apron, or kilt, called the Shendyt. It is first found in the Fourth Dynasty and hardly varied throughout Egyptian history. It was wrapped counter-clockwise around the king’s body. The royal apron is entirely covered with fine accordion pleating. Adorned with precious gems and jewels, the fashions of the Ancient Egyptians were made for not only beauty but also comfort. Animal skins, above all leopard skins, were sometimes worn by priests and by pharaohs in their role as first servants of the god. Such outfits were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb and were depicted quite frequently on the walls of tombs. At times kings and queens wore decorative ceremonial clothing adorned with feathers.
Luxury was always against the idea of mass-consumption. It was also highly spiritual. By carrying its history luxury will transmit its heritage to the next generations, because we never really own a luxury. It gives us dream, emotions and pleasure
Outfits with historical heritage by Valentino: