The Fashion Of Cleopatra

Cleopatra become a mythological creature and has been depicted in art ever since. In 20th century, Cleopatra has been established in moving image form and each Cleopatra film gives the variation of Egyptian themes. With the help of this film production, Egyptian fashion became viral and earn its position in fashion world till now. From 1917, the fashion began with Egyptian motifs, sheer, gauzy skirts and teeny, ornate bra and was just started to move away from the corseted figure. Heavy Egyptian makeup also adapt to the fashion during 20’s. Simple geometry on the luxurious gold silky skirt,  goddess imaginary subjects like peacock, wings as well as gold accessories always become the remarkable elements for the impression of people in Egyptian fashion.(Thread for Thought, 2010)

During 60’s, Cleopatra by Elizabeth Taylor also inspired some popular styles such as the psychedelic colors, blue eye shadow, liquid eyeliner and cinched waist, and won an Oscar for Best Costume Design.  The allure, sexiness and feminine characteristic of the character are being conveyed and well expressed through the costume design, become the representative in fashion. Taylor’s Cleopatra becomes a known fashion icon with shimmery metallic fabrics, one shouldered gowns and Grecian draping, heavy ornate bib necklaces and beautiful violet eyed make up on her era and still resonates today.(Berry and Berry, 2015)

Egyptian fashion continues its influential through the 2011 fashion show of Victoria’s Secret Fashion show,2012  Superbowl appearance by Madonna and lastly 2014 Katy Perry’s official album The Dark Horse.(, 2015)

In conclusion, female’s ideas and attitudes are always related to each other.Cleopatra is the best example, presenting her image with daring and exaggerate fashion to represent her unbreakable spirit and her fearless desire to rule the world.

Let’s look at some pictures on Cleopatra’s fashion.


picture 1 shows painting of  Cleopatra on The Terraces of Philae by Fredrick Arthur Bridgman in 1896.

This historical painting “Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae” by Fredrick Arthur Bridgman during 1896 is one of my favorite, though Cleopatra is not the main focus in this painting and she is just a beautiful woman that prepare to depart by boat but this shows how wealthy her era was when she was a Queen. Through the marble made building,we can see the prosperity that Egypt once had. (, 2015)


picture 2 shows Theda Bara is acting as a goddess character in Cleopatra film 1917.

During 1917, Theda Bara as Cleopatra shows herself as a rich and powerful woman as she was wearing silky dress with a lot of accessories which in her era all of these were a kind of luxurious items.


picture 3 shows magazine cover illustrated by Cleopatra in The American Weekly-Oct.13, 1946

Henry Clive painted Cleopatra during 1946 as magazine cover of the American Weekly .His inspiration came from a series of images Clive entitled “Pin Up Girls of history” which is related to the liberation of women and the freedom they gain. The sexy, wild, and free characteristics of female are being portrayed in the magazines and posters.(The Huffington Post, 2015) In this painting, he used the features of a lovely Hollywood film star Dorothy Lamour, who is impossible in creating exotic feeling to be his Cleopatra to draw comparison to the legendary queen of the Nile, though the actress never portrayed her in film.(Grapefruit Moon Gallery, 2012)

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), British actress, in costume wearing eye make-up in a publicity still issued for the film, 'Cleopatra', 1963. The historical drama, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993), starred Taylor as 'Cleopatra'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), British actress, in costume wearing eye make-up in a publicity still issued for the film, ‘Cleopatra’, 1963. The historical drama, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1909-1993), starred Taylor as ‘Cleopatra’. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

picture 4 shows Cleopatra acted by Elizabeth Taylor during 60s which gets award winning in her costume.

This is how Cleopatra was being dressed in Cleopatra film by Elizabeth Taylor at 60s. The significant blue eyeshadow, sharp edgy eyeliner, gold accessories and broad shoulder dress clearly shown her characteristic as a Queen, ego but remain feminine.(Kniveton, 2013)


picture 5 shows Katy Perry act as Cleopatra and yelling for power in her song” The Dark Horse”

In 21st century, Cleopatra’s fashion has not fade and recently it is being applied in famous singer Katy Perry’s album “The Dark Horse”. I choose this image as it shows the power of Cleopatra by the gold made gown, detail and bold! The eye make up also add in little creativity to make this  “Ceopatra” version differ from others.


picture 6 shows one of my friend, June in Egyptian Style that inspired by the song The Dark Horse by Katy Perry.

This is the image how my friend mimicked the Egyptian Style in The Dark Horse that song. She looks absolutely stunning, showing the confidence with the simple flying silky dress and the exaggerate eye make up made her looked seductive as well.

Biibliography, (2015). Ancient Egyptian Clothing: Ancient Egypt: Queen Cleopatra — Facts, Pictures and Dress. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Jun. 2015].

Berry, A. and Berry, A. (2015). 50 Years Later: How Cleopatra Continues to Influence Fashion Today | [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Jun. 2015]., (2015). Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jun. 2015].

Grapefruit Moon Gallery, (2012). Pin Up Girls of History-Cleopatra. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jun. 2015]., (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Jun. 2015].

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