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THE FASHION PARADE OF THE AGES

THE Englishman was ever addicted to grumbling, but it is usual for luin to do no more than air his grievances. On a certain occasion in the fourteenth century, however, he and some of his namesakes really did take matters into their own hands, and the Peasants Revolt was the sequel. Among the agitators was a certain John Ball, who propounded a riddle to a Blackheath mob which has been asked many times since:

When Adam delved, and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman ? Whether Ball invented the conundrum or merely quoted it, is unknown – and so is the answer. Adam may or may not have been worthy of so honourable a title. The problem of the first dressmaker belongs to the same category. Did modesty, the weather, or love of decoration suggest the necessity? History is silent, but it has quite a number of sug-gestions to make. Artists before Writers Man, and perhaps woman, began to paint long before he invented an alphabet and experimented with writing. Pictures believed to be from 25,000 to 35,000 years old are still to be seen in caves and on the faco of cliffs hi Franco and Spain. The primitive artists who painted them delighted in rich and vivid colours, entirely worthy of a modern poster designer. Though their means of mixing pigments was less scientific, it may be doubted whether the materials now being used will last as long. Leonardo da Vincis masterpiece, The Last Supper, painted in 1494 on plaster, would have vanished for ever but for the work of an expert restorer. The artists of the rocks used red, yellow, brown, black .and white earth mixed with grease. Some of these early attempts are in dark, inner recesses where no light penetrated other than what could be produced artificially. Fashion 25,000 Years Ago T first no attempt seems to have been made to portray the human form. The beasts of the field, or rather of the forest, were easier to depict. Some of the animals were far from pleasant to meet; mammoths and bison, for instance. There was no chance of a living mode!. Memory had to serve, and some of the results are remarkable. They approach a nearor rosemblance to the outward and visible form than those of twentieth-century artists who seek to show not only the exterior of an animal but also its inward passions, and under the name of symbolism succeed in producing nothing more than a grotesque.

In some of these pictures of 25,000 years ago the men are not oven clad in a little brief authority. On the other hand, hunters are depicted wearing head-dresses of feathers, resembling those of the picturesque American Indian, with ornaments on the knees, rings on the arms, and a girdle. Statuettes of women, carved in ivory and soapstone, give no indication of clothing, for the all-sufficient reason that none is shown. It is thought that some of the paint was applied to living bodies as well as to their representations, and that tattooing was indulged in. Certain of the female figures are quite do-finitely wearing bell-shaped skirts. Amulets and charms, for which there was such a vogue during and after the World War of 1914-18, were by no means unknown in days so remote that no definite date can be assigned to them. New fashions are very often old fashions revived, and the up-to-date is no more than the out-of-date.

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