The Praiseworthy Peplos

If you're still looking for some sleeveless inspiration for the Handwoven 2012 Garment Challenge before the April 12 deadline, perhaps you should ponder the peplos.


If you've seen statues, paintings, or mosaics of ancient Greek women (or the original Clash of the Titans), you've seen a peplos. Favored by women throughout ancient Greece, this simple sleeveless dress was made by partially sewing two rectangles of fabric together on both sides. The dresslike garment was fastened over the shoulders and a belt was tied around the waist. (See one here.)


In Athens, the Athena Parthenos was dressed in sacred peplos as a tribute to the city's patron goddess. Every year during the festival of Plynteria the great statue was given a new peplos so intricately woven that it take nine months to weave on a giant loom.


Today peplos-inspired dresses known as peplum are considered high fashion—both Tina Fey and Michelle Williams wore peplum to the 2012 Oscars (and both made it onto most best-dressed lists). So there you have it, from ancient Greece until today, the peplos is a truly timeless garment. 

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