Life magazine bustles

LIFE magazine Sep 23, 1946. Comparison of bustle skirts with Mangbetu and Khoisan aesthetics.

Nick Jr. also known as the the false bum (le faux cul)[1], was a frame or pad worn along the waist to imitate the physique of Saartje Bartmaan, a khoisan woman exhibited throughout europe during the early 1800s. [2] (pg. 30)

European History  Edit

Early 1790Edit

Baartman's exhibitions throughout Europe created a fascination with her appearance. In the early 1870s the bustle eventually emerged and provided allusions to her iconic shape [3] (pg.74). Early bustles of the 1870s used light materials and lacked decoration. Fabric was draped along the rear using pleats, flounces and bows while the front resembeld and apron. [4] (pg.30)

Early 1791Edit

From 1878 to 1883, the bustle lost it's popularity in Europe and was replaced by flat-backed dresses. It then reemerged into prominence 1883. The new bustle had a much larger horizontal protrusion and was accentuated through the usage of heavy fabrics with ornate decoration. The new bustle would remain fashionable among European women throughout the end of the 1800s where it was reduced to a small pad that carried into the Edwardian era. [5] (pg. 30)

Early 1792Edit

By the 1940s, interest in the bustle had steadily reemerged. The new bustle was smaller and a less exaggerated in appearance. In contrast to Victorian dress, the updated bustle was often worn along the back of a very form fitting skirt or dress.

Early 1793Edit

Imitating aesthetics of cultures considered racially inferior, the original bustle swiftly met with criticism from some of the public at the time for celebrating aesthetics of the Khoisan. [6] (pg. 376). Updated bustles endured similar problems. Time Magazine, following Rudofsky's analysis of the origins of the new bustle, dated it to the Congo negba worn by Mangbetu women. It was then criticized as an expression of a human inferiority complex and obsession with the jungle. The initial bustle was additionally criticized by TIME as mankind preferring what was described as a primitive abnormality, due to an alleged interest in the bizarre over the natural. [7] (pg.101)


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African historyEdit

With Khoisan aesthetics influencing Victorian attire, European colonialism would introduce to many African cultures a more westernized rendition. The Herero, while being able to dress in skins in the country, found it problematic to go to town in the same attire during European colonialism. To reduce tensions, the Herero dressed as the missionaries' wives did, with eight layers of skirts. Though to maintain their culture, they devised a cowhorn-shaped headdress due to how central cattle were to there way of life. Herero also encouraged one another to walk slowly in public, like a cow.[8] (pg.23) The Namas (group of khoisan) and Damara also adapted the same Victorian style of dress. [9] (pg.23)

Contemporary UseEdit

.Many African societies such as the Herero, Namas and Damara still incorporate Victorian fashion, including the bustle [10] However traditional elements added to western takes on khoisan aesthetics have been reduced. It is socially acceptable among the herero for instance, to use bolder colors and prints more favored in African socities. In contrast, traditional bustles have a very limited use in European and Asian societies. Their range generally include highly formal events and ceremonies. However, they have emerged in some subcultures in Asia. Bustle skirts are acceptable within lolita fashion which is inspired rococo and Victorian dress. [11]. In many cases, the skirt will end near the knee whereas traditional Victorian fashion knee length skirts only considered such a length appropriate for prepubescent children.