50 Years Later: How Cleopatra Continues to Influence Fashion Today

Style & Design

Fashion is all about drama and Cleopatra’s life was full of it, from her legendary affairs with some of the most powerful men of their time to her struggles to maintain influence as ruler of Egypt. Even her death was not a quiet affair—a series of miscommunications led to both her and her lover Mark Antony committing suicide while believing that the other had already died, in a Romeo and Juliet-like twist. As a figure that was exotic (queen of a distant-seeming land) and yet accessible (she was not ethnically Egyptian but Macedonian), she was and has remained a singular influence in the world of style.

The extent of her beauty, based on statements from her contemporaries and numismatic artifacts, is debatable. But Cleopatra was by all accounts an exceptionally charming woman, one who intuited how to present herself in the most strategic manner. Similar to stars of today, Cleopatra…

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Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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