Shakespeare’s Profound Influence on the Runway

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Widely regarded as one the greatest writers to have ever lived, William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. While his exact birthday isn’t known, it is most often celebrated around the world on April 23. Shakespeare was roughly 25 years old when he began his first of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and two narratives, among other works. Since his beginnings, the Renaissance-era playwright-poet has been immortalized by his literature which has become a hallmark of the English language in classrooms around the world. Yet Shakespeare’s legacy transcends beyond the classroom as his works, like Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, continue to influence pop culture, art, and fashion. Whether it’s an explicit detail or a quiet nod, designers have found great inspiration in the historical figure and the costumes of his plays, generating a range of Shakespearian-themed fashions from Elizabethan gowns to gender-bending doublets and hose. In celebration of The Bard’s birthday, CR looks at the strong impact of Shakespeare and his works on the runway.

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