Cultural Appropriation as Archives : Media and Cultural Analysis Assignment C

The Orient: Art and Fashion

When looking at artwork from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it is evident that the Eastern culture had a lot of influence on the Western art that was being produced. During these periods, the West had an extremely flawed view of the East, as they only saw them for their trade items and their military. 

Middle eastern styles for clothing were often depicted in the works of Bellini, Veronese, and Rembrandt, with Egypt's culture having a huge impact on the French. Most often they relied on published works to grasp an understanding of the East and collect ideas which would be beneficial to the "message" or "story" they were trying to tell in their art work. 

Yves Saint Laurent serves as a prime example for appropriation of Egypt in terms of fashion with a blend of a western military style dress and Egyptian embroidery. This creation is a fashion statement that is unique, as Marguerite Duras wrote "I tend to believe that the fabulous universality of Yves Saint Laurent comes from a religious disposition toward garnering the real-be it man made-the temples of the Nile- or not man made-the forest of Telemark, the floor of the ocean of the apple trees in bloom. Yves Saint Laurent invents a reality and adds it to the other one, the one he has not made" (Duras). 

This use of "oriental" styles and cultures in artwork of the West is a primary example of cultural appropriation, as the artists are taking the original culture and the message from the East and transforming it to produce another story as a whole. 


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