Music, Literature, Dance and Fashion
Although European styles influenced certain aspects of dress in the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions, rural fashions remained traditional and resistant to change. In Europe, sitters posed for portraits in “Eastern”-style dress and eventually designers such as Mariano Fortuny looked to North Africa and Ottoman lands for inspiration. Dress is a marker of identity in all cultures, and much of the 19th-century costume and jewellery that survives can be connected to particular religious or ethnic groups. With men’s clothing, the style of European military uniforms was adopted, but otherwise traditional forms of dress were maintained.
Medjmouaï teçavir (Collection de costumes)

c. 1900

The British Museum, London, United Kingdom

The print shows a meeting of ambassadors to the Ottoman court. These types of illustrations, published as collections and showing the differences between European and Ottoman clothing, were a source of influence and rich inspiration in Europe. From the 19th century onwards the influence was mutual, with garments from the Arab and Ottoman world appearing in European dress and European garments influencing Arab and Ottoman styles.

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