“I want everyone to wear what they want and mix it in their own way. That, to me, is what is modern.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Many famous people are still remembered, not for their wise words or brave deeds, as they would like to be, but for the clothes they wore.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary, is associated with the red shirts worn by his volunteers in lieu of a uniform. The Garibaldi jacket, a red woollen jacket, especially with braid or black embroidery, first became popular in the 1860s.
The Mao jacket is a very plain, often grey, high-collared, shirt-like jacket customarily worn by Mao Zedong and the people of China during his regime. Its drab design and uniformity was a reaction to pre-Revolution class distinctions of clothes, with elites dressing in elaborate silks, while poor labourers wore very rough clothes.
The original Wellington boot was designed and worn by the Duke of Wellington.
He instructed his boot maker to modify the 18th century leather Hessian boot, using soft calfskin leather. The boots were hard-wearing and comfortable. Nowadays, wellington boots are usually made from rubber or PVC.
French acrobatic performer Jules Leotard developed the art of the trapeze and was the first to perform a somersault in mid-air. The tight-fitting outfit he wore in his performances became known as a leotard after him.
Charles MackIntosh was the inventor of rubberised, waterproof clothing, while trying to find uses for the waste products of gasworks. Now the Mackintosh raincoat is named after him.
James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan (pictured above), led the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War in 1854. Throughout the Crimean campaign, Brudenell and his officers wore a type of sweater coat, quite different to what we now call a cardigan. The earl’s cardigans were trimmed with fur and braids. But the wool jacket became very popular in the 17th century with the French and in the British Isles with the fisherman of the times. These sweaters proved to be invaluable on the cold seas.