Seventeenth Century

From the seventeenth century onward, silks, satins, and fabrics embroidered with real gold and precious stones increased the level of spectacular decoration associated with ballet costumes. Court dress remained the standard costume for female performers while male dancers' costumes had developed into a kind of uniform embellished with symbolic decoration to denote character or occupation; for example, scissors represented a tailor.

The first Russian ballet performance was staged in 1675, and the Russians adopted European ballet designs. Although costumes for male performers permitted complete freedom of movement, heavy garments and supporting structures for female dancers did not allow graceful gestures. However, male dancers en travesti, often wore knee-long skirts. The luxuriously decorated costumes of this period reflected the glory of the court;

details of dresses and silhouettes were exaggerated to be visible and identifiable to spectators viewing from a distance.

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