TASSELS – FALL’S MOST RAZZLE-DAZZLE TREND
Three cheers for these dangling decorations that add a playful touch to home décor!
Tassels aren’t just for your curtain tie backs anymore. Between Roman emperors and contemporary fashion designers, tassels have a long history of decorative power.
Yes, the tassels of today are typically regarded as traditional embellishments for the home, but the tide is turning in favor of these little superfluous embellishments. As a matter of fact, tassel jewelry and accessories such as handbags are the must-try trend of the season.
The tassel has almost always been a symbol of power and prestige.
In ancient Rome, tassels, which comes from the Latin word tassau meaning a clasp at a garment’s neck, became popular in 330 AD when Byzantine Roman emperor Constantine issued a decree that all Christians should be properly clothed. This led to a high demand for tassels but it was not until 540 AD when Emperor Justinian and two Persian monks made the tassel a symbol of power for the royal and aristocratic families of the West by smuggling silk worms from China. The evolution of tassels as a weaving knot for garments into a talisman and symbol of power is on the way.
Elsewhere in the world, the tassel also made its impact in fashion. The young Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen was unearthed wearing tassels around his neck. In the Middle East, tassels were used as charms and were commonly seen in head wears. Throughout the Arab world especially Egypt and Mesopotamia, tassels were used and attached to a child’s head gear to protect the young ones from bad spirits as well as drive away demons.
The Catholic Church also played an important part in the history of the tassel when they used it to signify the differences in hierarchy in its clergy members. And in 17th century France, King Louis XIV commissioned tassels to embellish the costumes of royalties and their residences. Apart from being a status symbol, and used by the French army to distinguish rank on a uniform, we can also thank the French for turning the tassel into a trendsetter.
It was around the 16th century, when the Guild of the Passementiers established the art of passementerie (the making of trims and braids), that entailed a seven-year apprenticeship.
In the 1800’s, a new merchant class had emerged in Europe and they had enough money to spend on home decorations. Flaunting their wealth, they trimmed their footmen, horses, carriages, cushions, curtains, keys, and anything that caught their fancies. And at the end of the century, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte adorned his throne and bed chamber with elaborate gold tassels and trims.
Approaching the Victorian Era, popular magazines began to create trends and this includes decorating the ladies’ shoes, sashes and parasols, with miniature tassels. The trend did not continue very long since in the early 20th Century during the Victorian era, the excesses of the past was shunned. Simple and unadorned aesthetic became fashionable and the use of tassels declined.
During the emergence of the Art Deco Period, new geometric shapes and colors became popular, thanks to the introduction of synthetic materials like Rayon and tassels again became widely used.
Oxford and Cambridge University undergraduates started affixing tassels to their graduation caps as a sign of intellectual superiority. Those wearing gold tassels were those who had paid for the status of “gentleman-commoner,” thus receiving increased social prestige and more luxurious accommodation than ordinary commoners who wore plain black tassels on their caps. Today, only the Chancellor of Oxford wears a gold tassel.
Because of the tassel’s luxe legacy, the rest of the Western world followed by adding tassels to everything and anything.
In 2017, there’s no doubt that fashion designers went on a fringe binge and are incorporating them into their fall collections, giving a flirty edge to everything from jumpsuits to evening dresses.
Feeling inspired? Tackle the tassel trend.
Rocking tasseled accessories is a quick way to add a pop of color to any outfit and it’s an easy way to try the trend if you’re not ready for a big commitment. I’ve styled some of my favorite tassel finds currently available to help you shop the trend.
1. Lightweight Tassel Scarf from Woolworths R199 2. ZARA shoes with Tassels POA 3. Girl Hat from Foschini R150 4. Hand-woven dipped white sea grass belly basket with tassels from Etsy USD 28.90 (Order online) 5. Rachel Tasseled Tote from Fossil R3399 (Less 30% SALE Now On) 6. The Round Towel Cotton On POA 7. ZARA Home pink scatter cushion R399 8. H&M Cushion with Tassels POA 9. Fossil Bracelets R569 10. Sandals from Rage R159.99 11. ZARA Home Cotton Embroidered Placemats R195 for Two 12. Linen House PICA Turquoise boho-style throw with tassels POA