Fall 2011 Trend Alert: Byzantine/Byzantium Inspired

Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 (style.com)

In recent showings we've seen a surgence of collections inspired by the Byzantine era- Alexander McQueen (Fall 10), Jeremy Scott (Fall 2010), Etro (Fall 09) and most recently, the 2011 pre-fall collection from Chanel. Like most trends, this is an extension of a previous one- the Moroccan/Russian style from last year's shows. (Jean Paul Gaultier did it best- see his Fall 2010 collection) But this time, the trend is distinguished by embellishments of a more earthy nature, darker tones and flashes of deep gold.

The Byzantine Empire was the Greek speaking part of the The Roman Empire from approximately 306 AD to 1453 AD. (ref.) Notable design elements from the time consist of complex mosaics, gold leafing and detailed poured glass. If you want to know more, read here.
Antique Byzantine and Byzantine inspired accessory images from AliBee Blog, Adrian Allen, Lang Antiques
Here are some examples from recent runway shows:
Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 (style.com)
Etro Fall 2009
This collection "transmitted the grace of the medieval Madonnas and Byzantine empresses McQueen had been studying." (Style.com)

This trend is incredibly glamorous, has loads of texture and portrays drama- so it lends itself to editorials very easily. We'll be seeing a lot more in coming months.
Byzantine inspired shoot in GQ Magazine, 2009
Byzantine inspired shoot in Austrian Magazine Diva

So how do you wear it? Personally, I would infuse elements of byzantine style into my street wear through accessories- vintage Byzantine style jewelery is not hard to come by (It's called Gripoix)- it was popular in the early 90's. Try to find something like this, and work it into your look!

Have fun with it!

Love ya guts,