Friday, April 23, 2010

The 1900s: The Beautiful Age

Queen Victoria died in 1901, ending the Victorian Age and bringing in the Edwardian Age with the reign of King Edward VII. Even more advancements were made in transportation with bicycles, automobiles, and trains (oh my!). There was a brief economic downturn in 1907, however most of the world and population still prospered. Peoples dispensible incomes were used on entertainment such as the theater, opera, and "moving pictures."

The mature female silhouette consisted of the pouter pigeon figure that accentuated a small waist with round curves above and below, requiring the S-bend corset. Bodices were boned and bloused out above; sleeves were long, and skirts were worn close to the hip and feature gores that flared into a trumpet shape.

Men's fashion tended toward a blockier shape: three-piece suits and the sack coat with no waistline seams. However, it later gave way to more relaxed styles and men began omitting vests and even jackets. Bloomers or Knickers were adapted by men and women to be worn for cycling.

The Gibson Girl was the "new woman" of the 1900s. She was created by Charles Dana Gibson and featured a popular curved figure. She was independent, active, and beautiful. Her counterpart was the Arrow Collar Man, fashioned as a clean-cut and sporty version of masculinity.

In Paris, the House of Callot Soeurs was specializing in lace and Jean-Phillip Worth took over the House of Worth from his father.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prelude to the 20th Century

Fashion is not only dictated by the styles going down the runway and what magazines show us. Fashion is affected by significant issues such as wars and revolution, peacetime and prosperity, civil rights, travel, transportation, communication, literacy and education, sports and recreation, and the entertainment industry. You will see all of these examples work their way through fashion trends since the early 1900s with a profile of each decade with photos of the decades fashion. To know fashion today, you must know yesterdays fashion.

Two big events in the late 1800s were the Civil War from 1861 - 1865 and the beginning of Industrialization which brought better transportation: safer railroads and electric trolleys.

Fashion before 1870 meant that every woman was essentially a dressmaker. Ready-made apparel became widespread through mail-order catalogs and department stores in major urban centers. This transition from homemade to ready-made apparel began in the mid-1800s with corsets and men's shirts.

The wealthy population looked to Europe for aristocratic fashion design; Godey's Lady Book showed the latest styles from Europe to the USA and it was extremely influential. Charles Fredderick Worth, who is considered to be the father of Haute Couture, established the House of Worth in Paris in 1857. He dressed society women in Europe and the USA, along with royalty and those seeking social status. Vogue magazine, highly influential still today, began publication in 1892 which led to photography becoming a significant factor in fashion, allowing women to see themselves and other women.

During the Conservative Victorian Era, clothing was straight-laced and bodies were covered up. The voluminous skirts of the mid-1800s become slimmer bustle silhouettes, women's dress was carefully chosen to show respectability and femininity. Jeanne Paquin, Jacques Doucet, and Charles Worth were three extremely important designers of the time period.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

VOGUE point of view


It took American women a while, but we've finally taken on board a certain truth:

How we feel about ourselves has more than a little to do with how well we care for ourselves. And that most definitely includes how we dress. Style isn't imposed on us by the establishment. It's a daily affirmation of, well, our joie de vivre. We are each a painted butterfly, with a different pattern on our wings. The concept that adornment can--like capoeira-yoga classes or a devotion to esoteric whole grains--engender well-being is especially good news for anyone older than, say, oh, 29. It's never been more true that you are only as old as you feel. You don't have to resign yourself to a life of tastefully restrained suits the minute you pass 35. You don't have to hide your punk-rock light under a bushel because you're over 50. Just ask Patti Smith.

Does this mean the average grand-mère should reveal her legs in walking shorts? Obviously not. Discernment and bare-knuckled self-critique go a long way. (Why not try a pair of chicpatterned stockings and a leather pencil skirt, Nana?) The message we hope you'll take home from this issue is that any person can translate the runway trends for her own benefit today.

The best fashion--finally, honestly,
for real this time--
is truly ageless.