For many centuries, women’s breasts have been depicted in frescoes, carved out of marble, cast in bronze and sung in verse. We figured out why clothes that do not hide, but, on the contrary, emphasize the bust, have not gone out of fashion since the time of Ancient Egypt.
Why clothing Cleavage that showcases breasts hasn’t gone out of style since ancient Egypt ?
For convenience and seduction
Decollete (neckline of a woman’s dress or top) having a low neckline, from the French décolleté (“no neck”) – a special neckline on women’s clothing, revealing the shoulders and top of the chest (sometimes almost to the nipples). Secondly, cleavage, from the English cleavage (“cut”) – a cut in which the shoulders are closed, but the neck, collarbones, the space between and sometimes below the chest, sometimes to the navel, are open.
However, if the neckline as such was invented solely for seduction (the chest was not only opened to the eyes, but also raised by a corset on purpose to create the illusion of splendor), costume historians describe Cleavage as a detail necessary for normal heat exchange in the hot season.
If you believe the ancient sculptors and painters, who depicted goddesses and dancers in robes that did not hide the bust, the women of Ancient Crete also dressed in something similar.
In the Middle Ages, a V-neck was made not only on undershirts, but also on bodices: this allowed a woman to breathe easier in a dress that was tight at the waist. Cleavage, with a lace-up front, was worn by women of the lower class, dressed without the help of a servant. It was more comfortable and more comfortable than the aristocrat’s dress tightly laced on the back. However, Christian church leaders considered the naked hollow on the chest too seductive and pushing towards sin.
Franciscan monk-preacher Olivier Melliard, close to the pious French king Louis XI, promised all women whose Cleavage was not properly tied with lacing and chastely covered with outer clothing (that is, unnecessarily attracted male attention) that after death “they will be suspended in hell by the udder “.
The rich are allowed everything
Melliard’s sermons were caused not least by the liberties that reigned at the court of the father of Louis XI – the “victorious king” of Charles VII, under whom the Hundred Years War ended. His mother, Queen Isabella of Bavaria, was the first to introduce fashion on the neckline, which opened the shoulders (for example, the statue of the queen from the Palace of Justice in Poitiers depicts a medieval monarch with a rather obvious cut on the dress).
Agnes Sorel, the famous favorite of Charles VII, went even further in the neckline. In public repentance, prescribed to her by the church hierarchs, Agnes appeared in a dress with a very risky neckline: one of her breasts was completely naked and only slightly covered with a thin cambric. Evil-speaking commentators very wittily called it a demarche moult belle contrition et repentance de ses péchés (“the deepest repentance and repentance for our sins”). The favorite literally opened her soul to the prelates.
Later, however, the Catholic priests took revenge. Louis XI was distinguished by his piety and called upon the courtiers to do the same – the ladies had to wear closed dresses. Later, the French queen Catherine de ‘Medici, wife of Henry II and mother of three kings (Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III), found the opportunity both to maintain decorum and not deprive the courtiers of the opportunity to wear more open robes.
Under Catherine de Medici, dresses with a closed collar and a “window” neckline came into fashion. He opened his gaze to the top of his chest, raised by a corset. In Spain, where the fierce Inquisition followed the morality of the king’s subjects, they came up with another option: the ladies’ neckline was hidden under wide collars.
The fashion on the neckline reached its heyday under the “sun king” Louis XIV. The loving monarch divided his disposition among several favorites, and fierce and sometimes fierce competition reigned at court. The ladies hungry for royal love sent each other hired killers and poisoners.
In Protestant countries, where moderation and contempt for carnal pleasures were elevated to a virtue, cleavage almost completely replaced cleavage, and of the most modest sense. Dutch and Swiss townsfolk laced up tightly and covered their necklines with kerchiefs thrown over their shoulders, in order to certainly avoid the Lord’s punishment in the afterlife.
It is noteworthy that Muslim clergymen also had similar requirements for modesty in women’s clothing. In the Islamic tradition, Cleavage in the version of the V-shaped neckline is called a HJab, and a devout Muslim woman can only show it to her husband (as well as relatives and maids in the female half of the house and young children, who do not count). The Koran directly ordered women to “throw a scarf over their breasts,” covering the cutout on their clothes.
In Southeast Asia and Japan, there was an opposite tradition in every sense. A deep neckline was quite acceptable, in certain circles it was even welcomed – but not on the chest, but on the back. Japanese women have never been particularly curvy, they did not wear corsets in the Land of the Rising Sun, so professional courtesans – geisha – literally approached the question of seduction from the other side.
The flawless line of the neck and back was considered especially attractive and sexy. Therefore, the geisha kimono at the back had a U-neck, while being chastely wrapped around the chest (this smell served as a pocket for valuables in Japanese women). To become completely irresistible, geisha powdered their necks, and their hair, pulled into a high hairstyle, did not hide the grace of the back lines.
However, in most Asian countries, cleavage were not accepted. In Vietnam, women wore tightly buttoned ao dai dresses and trousers. The traditional Chinese costume (for example, the quju female dress robe) was tightly wrapped, just like the Japanese kimono. Indian women wore a sari over a chest-covering choli with short sleeves.
The inhabitants of medieval Russia also did not welcome excessive seductiveness in women’s clothing. Both noble aristocrats and commoners wore shirts that completely covered their breasts and arms. For nursing mothers, shirts were gathered at the collar in folds, in which an incision was hidden. To feed the baby, the mother released the breast through the incision between the folds so that it was almost invisible.
Nudity in a new way
Decades of “wardrobe chastity” came to an end between the two world wars. The youth who survived the war wanted to breathe deeply and enjoy life. The “Roaring 1920s” became an era of hitherto unheard-of relaxedness. Women tried on beach trousers and tunics, short midi skirts by the standards of the 19th century and jersey sports tops.
Off-the-shoulder dresses with a rather deep V-neck have become quite common daytime summer wear. For evening receptions and cocktails, women who abandoned corsets and a classic neckline wore dresses with narrow straps with very deep cleavage. This style ideally suited the boyish figures with small breasts and broad shoulders, which were then considered the standard of female beauty.
Classic low-cut dresses experienced a short renaissance in the 1950s. With his new look, Christian Dior briefly seduced young women with a femininity that requires sacrifice: a corset waist, legs squeezed by high-heeled shoes, an uncomfortable bra that made breasts stick out at an unnatural angle. Daring fashionistas have again bared their backs after Vicky Dugan, a Playboy model. She was nicknamed The Back for especially bold photos in dresses with a cut to the rump.
Luxurious busts in low-cut dresses were shown by movie stars of the 1950s: Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor. Artists drew pin-up pictures with busty beauties, whose breasts almost jumped out of the dress.
However, the “renaissance” was short-lived: already in the 1960s, the classic neckline again became the destiny of events with a black tie dress code. But Cleavage has reigned on the catwalks and in street fashion.
The cutout of the jacket exposed the neck, collarbones and cleavage between the breasts. A woman dressed in such clothes, standing in the smoky room of Studio 54 or another fashion club in New York, Paris or London, personified androgynous seduction. Fragile skinny girls with small breasts have again become the standard of beauty for a decade. Dresses with a deep cut on the back also returned to fashion.
A special resonance in the 1970s was caused by a floor-length dress with long sleeves and a high collar, completely closed in front, and at the back opening not only the back and sacrum, but also the top of the buttocks, in which actress Mireille Dark played in the 1972 film “Tall blond in black shoe “. The dress was created by fashion designer Guy Laroche especially for this picture, and the fragile blonde Dark looked simply stunning in it, causing a wave of imitations.
The “glamorous 1980s” and the heyday of plastic surgery brought back the lush breasts and cleavage back to fashion: fashion has made another round of its endless spiral. Actresses, singers, fashion models in the evenings appeared on cocktails and red carpet in low-cut dresses and push-up bras underneath, and during the day they wore slip dresses or white shirts on a naked body, unbuttoned almost to the navel.
The “new naturalness” of the 1990s and the mixing of styles in the 2000s and 2010s left this fashion in force. The UK celebrates National Cleavage Day, with pop divas from Madonna and Jennifer Lopez to Beyoncé and Rita Ora taking the stage in satin tops with a provocative cut both 30 years ago and now. Film actresses demonstrate deep cleavage on the red carpet of film festivals, and models walk in low-cut dresses on the catwalk.