In the first years of the war-torn fifteenth century, fashion was a battleground where rulers and courtiers lay claim to power with the display of luxury textiles, elaborate dagging and fanciful personal emblems. Throughout the decade, the fashions launched at the court of France influenced the rest of Europe. In England, Germany and Italy, sumptuary laws intent on preserving distinctions between nobles and commoners signal the wealth of the middle class and their increased ability to participate in fashion.
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