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Cufflinks - Fashion Inspiration:

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It is said that after the publication of the famous novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexander Dumas (1844), the popularity of cufflinks surged among the wealthy class. A main character in the book, Baron Danglers, was said to wear huge diamonds on his shirt-cuffs that “sparked great envy when onlookers gazed” at him. As the story goes, French tailors took a cue from Baron Danglers, and realizing how significant such an accessory could be in enhancing a gentleman’s look, began incorporating French Cuffs into the shirts they made…requiring the use of cufflinks, perfect for showing off one’s wealth! While cufflinks existed long before this, it is interesting to see how much even a single event in history, culture or art can ignite a fashion trend that can spread around the world and endure for centuries.

Fashion History: A Timeline of the Evolution of Cufflinks.

Fashion has become such an intrinsic part of our everyday lives that we rarely give any thought to the origins and history of the designs that we currently embrace as “innovative”. In fact, very few styles of contemporary accessories are entirely new ideas, but rather modern adaptions – inspired by popular styles from long, long ago. As societies and cultures have evolved over time, many accessory objects which were originally created to serve basic utilitarian purposes, took on the additional role of reflecting social status. The cufflink is an excellent example of how fashion is affected by historical events and shifts in class structure, as outlined below:

13th to 17th Century:

Prior to the advent of buttons, a combination of strings, ribbons and pins were utilized to fasten clothing which, at the time, was relatively unstructured. However, as fitted clothing became popular, a less cumbersome and more attractive means of closure was desired. Necessity being the mother of invention, buttons were invented and readily adopted by the more affluent classes. The Renaissance period ushered in a desire for highly decorative, more flamboyant dress – hence, the “bejeweled” sleeve button emerged, enhancing the role of the button as status-symbol accessory.

18th through the 19th Century:

During the 18th century, the trend toward utilizing buttons as accessories of adornment grew, as royals and noblemen opted for buttons depicting miniature paintings. While even during this period buttons were almost exclusively used by the upper classes, the impact of the Industrial Revolution would alter that dynamic significantly, making buttons considerably more affordable to the middle class. In addition, as the cost of materials and labor continued to decline, the cufflink now began to gain popularity. Unable to afford genuine gemstones and fine metals, however, the middle-class men sought less expensive replicas, and to meet that demand, manufactures began using rhinestones to simulate diamonds and composite metals to replicate real silver and gold. By the end of the 19th century, cuff links were being mass-produced.

The 20th Century Forward:

During the Art Deco period of the 1900s, enameled cufflinks started to become popular, with designers like Faberge, Cartier and Tiffany’s perfecting the art. It was, however, in the 1920s that cufflinks reached their zenith. Manufacturers began experimenting with designs that would make it easier and faster for men to insert their cufflinks into their shirt sleeves. Accomplishing this goal, cufflinks became more and more desirable as sophisticated, decorative accessory pieces.
By the 1970s, generic shirt cuffs were manufactured with pre-attached button holes and buttons, satisfying the desire of the masses for economy and efficiency. During this era, it was only the fashion designers and the world of haute couture that preserved the use of cufflinks as a design element, and customized cufflinks continued to be produced by houses such as Tiffany’s and Cartier. The 1990s welcomed the renaissance of the French cuff as a chic designer detail, and the world embraced cufflinks once more. By this time, men and women alike enjoyed utilizing cufflinks as statement accessories to elevate their tailored wardrobe.

The Present:

Contemporary fashion preferences of the 21st Century reflect the evolution of creativity and freedom of expression unlike any previous time in history. Consumers now consider their clothing and accessories to be means of promoting their individuality and unique sense of style. Not only does fashion today enjoy the advantage of thousands of years of history to draw upon, it also has the benefit of multi-cultural esthetics to look to for inspiration. The story of “Cufflinks” has followed the same path as fashion through time – no longer a utilitarian necessity, but rather a stunning accessory, perfect for expressing individual style and taste.
Max Lang offers a large and creative selection of stunning, customized cufflinks that combine timeless tradition with modern design -- quality craftsmanship and the finest materials which honor the legacy of yesteryear’s masters. Visit Max Lang today, and let your own creative spirit soar with fabulous customized cufflinks!