The umbrella’s original purpose was to protect us from the sun (parasol); in French there is still a semantic difference between ombrelle (provider of shade) and parapluie (shield against the rain). Invented by the Egyptians to protect pharaohs and high priests during religious ceremonies, the umbrella first appeared in its modern form at the end of the 1500s with Caterina de’ Medici. At the beginning of the 1800s the parasol, which until then had been an accessory used only by the aristocracy, became a universal, practical, and essential object in many shapes and forms, including such extravagant designs as the umbrella-fan or the umbrella-hat, which left the hands free. In the 1920s it was always co-ordinated with a dress or suit, handkerchief, or bag. Usually made from 8 segments, there was a Japanese style that had 12 to18 segments made from waxed paper or floral cretonne which then disappeared from the fashion scene, except for the odd appearance in runway shows of designers like Jean Paul Gaultier. It is still used for special occasions or in certain Asian countries where it is part of the local costume. The umbrella, on the other hand, was only used to shield the rich against rain by servants between coaches and door entrances. In 1700 an English aristocrat called Jones Hanway was mocked for using an umbrella himself. In the 1800s the umbrella became much lighter (350 grams, as opposed to the 1.5 kilograms of the older styles) thanks to metal fixtures invented by Fox and Deschamps. There was greater use of handles made from precious materials such as silver, ivory, and tortoiseshell that were often carved or engraved. In the 1960s umbrellas made of colored and transparent plastic and synthetic materials began appearing, including famous designs by Courrèges and Emmanuelle Khanh. The golfing umbrella has multicolored segments, and Jean Paul Gaultier produced a style with a luminous handle. The folding umbrella, designed to fit in bags and sometimes even pockets, was invented in 1928 by a German engineer, and at only 22 centimetres it was marketed with the brand-name Knirps (meaning pygmy). The most historic umbrella shops are Swayne Brigg which has been in business since 1750 in Piccadilly, London, and Madeleine Gèly in Paris, which has an important collection of vintage umbrellas.