A HISTORY OF SCARVES
Starting out in 2010, the brand Alber Zoran has developed and evolved both it´s products and designs to a changing market but central to all our collection has been the Alber Zoran Scarf. Plain, patterned, jacquard, square, loops and infinite other designs, the Alber Zoran scarf has become an icon of the brand.
The scarf as a piece of clothing has existed for thousands of years and has been used as a fashion accessory, a military symbol and a lover´s gift. Here we´ll give you a little glimpse into the History of Scarves and their influence over the centuries.
One of the first references to scarves or foulards can be found around 1350BC in Ancient Egypt. Queen Nefertiti is said to have used a scarf under her famous headdress as a status symbol of her power and wealth. A magnificent Queen must surely have a royal collection of scarves.
Siglo 8 AC
The Romans as we know paved the way for many of our modern day commodities. In this case they used a linen scarf for hygienic purposes, to wipe the sweat from their neck or face. The scarf would hang from their belts and be used in hot temperatures or when working, they referred to it as a “sudarium”.
Crossing continents we entre into the dynasty of the Chinese Emperors. Around the 230AC period, Chinese soldiers from Emperor Cheng´s army would use a scarf to identify their rank. Officers would wear elaborately designed silk scarves whilst the infantry solider would wear a cotton scarf around his neck. Again, the simple scarf became a status symbol or rank and power.
50 BC – 60 AD
We go back to the Roman Empire and the era of the Cesars. The Senators serving in Rome at the time would add a silk scarf of sash to their togas and it is said that Emperor Nero would hardly ever appear in public without a silk scarf around his neck.
12th Century – Middle Ages
Jumping into the Middle Ages, an era of “Fair Ladies” and “Nobel Men” the scarf also has it´s role in history. Social etiquette dictated that well to do ladies from the most noble families wear a headdress with a hanging scarf. A delicate, feminine cloth highlighting their status as a “lady” rather than a member of the lower classes. An example is Eleanor of Aquitaine, modern-day Southwest France. She was a Duchess and born into the House of Poitiers, making her one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. Eleanor has been painted and captured with various scarves and headdresses, usually a patterned silk scarf with original feminine colors and designs. The lower classes of the time would have worn a linen scarf to cover her head for modesty. Also popular at the time was the giving and receiving of silk scarves between lovers. A lady would give a silk scarf to her noble warrior before heading into battle or going abroad as a token of her affection.
In the 17th Century the “Cravat” or neck tie enters into the scene. Worn by both men and women the Cravat becomes popular as part of military dress and it´s name comes from the Croatian mercenaries that fought along side the Louis XIX. The “Steinkirk Cravat”, named after the battle of Steinkirk between England and France is one of many examples. The French Officers and soldiers would wear a colored cravat or neck scarf to show their allegiance to a particular Noble or King.
It is said that in the 1780´s, during his conquests of Asia that Napoleon sent cashmere scarves to his first wife Josephine as a sign of his love and affection.
Meanwhile the “Spanish Mantilla” started gaining ground in the European courts. The “Mantilla” made from silk or lace covered both the head and the shoulders, protecting the modesty of fair and noble ladies.
End of 18th Century
In the previous century we´ve seen how the French armies popularized the use of scarves both as a military uniform and as a status symbol. This influence over military and fashion styles had the opposite effect in the Russian Royal Court.
Tsar Pavel the First, son of Catherine the Great of Russia came to the throne late and unexpectedly. His dislike for the French and their influence led him to ban the use of scarves from his army. Sadly in 1801 after very few years on the throne the Tsar was murdered by a group of officers who were opposed to his rule and curiously they used a silk scarf to strangle him to death.
In the 18th Century saw the birth of the shawl as a fashion item. Worn by the shawl worn by Napoleon´s second wife, Empress Marie-Louise as well as the British Queen Victoria who popularized the Scottish shawl industry and tartan styles on Royal visits. Fashion magazines, like blogs today, were full of ideas of “how to wear a shawl”. With ladies fashion changing to fuller skirts in the 1830´s the shawl became more and more popular covering the shoulders and keeping ladies warm.
No fashion trend last forever and by the 1870´s shawls were out and scarves, boa´s and stoles became increasingly popular. They suited the new style of straighter, slimmer dresses with a bustle at the back.
In 1937, Hermes the French Fashion house exactly 100 years after it was founded launches it´s first silk scarf onto the market. Twice as strong as the scarves available at the time, hand designed and printed the scarves become an instant hit with cinema stars, royalty and the rich around the globe.
Countless images of the Audrey Hepburn can be found wearing headscarves, Queen Grace of Monaco is also another icon for looks wearing a scarf and sunglasses and even on one occasion used a Hermes scarf as a sling for her broken arm. Queen Elisabeth II of England still uses a Hermes scarf to cover her hair.
The scarf as an accessory has become as versatile as the prints and patterns it comes in. All shapes and sizes, loops, square, infinite, blanket scarves, stoles, furs, it can be worn all year round and complements both day and evening wear.
At Alber Zoran we try to keep a step ahead of tendencies and offer our clientes a wide range of attractive scarves that are designed with love in Barcelona.