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FSN 302 (17)


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FSN 302
Sue Barnwell

1900 – 1939 • The period from the beginning of the century to the outbreak of WWI is usually spoken of Enland as the “Edwardian Era” o Although the king actually died in 1910 • In France with a slight extension backwards into the middle of 1890s it was referred to as la belle époque • In both countries the atmosphere was very similar • Age of great ostentation and extravagance • In England, society and the court now began to coincide and the king set the example • Everything larger than lifesize • An avalanche of balls and dinners and country house parties • More money was spent on clothes, more food was consumed, more horses raced, more infidelities were committed, more birds shot, more yachts commissioned…. • Fashion always reflected the age • Like the King, it favoured mature women o Cool and commanding o Heavy bust • Heavy bust effect was further emphasized by the “health corsets” o Laudable effort to prevent a downward pressure on the abdomen, made the body rigidly straight in front by throwing forward the bust and throwing back the hips o Produced the peculiar s-shaped stance so characteristic of the period • The skirt, smooth over the hips, flared out towards the ground in the shape of a bell • Passion for lace in every part of the gowns • For those who couldn’t afford real lace there was a considerable vogue for Irish crochet • Hair was build high on the head o Flat pancake hat projected forward as if to balance the train • In evening dresses were extravagantly décolleté • In day the whole body was concealed from the ears to the feet • Little lace collar was kept in place by boning • Arms were always concealed by long gloves • Rage for feathers, hats being adorned with one or more plumes- feather boas worn around neck too o Best made from ostrich feathers • So many clothes from the period look as if they had been designed for a garden party (not for the winters of Europe) o In the winter the greater part of smart society seems to swarmed over to Monte Carlo and similar Mediterranean resorts • The period had been defined as the “last good time of the upper class” o Even the colours of clothes reflected the sunny optimism of those that had money to spend o All pastel shades of pink, pale blue or mauve, or black with small sequins sewn all over it o Favourite materials were crepe de chine, chiffon, mousseline de soie and tulle o Many satin dresses embroidered in floral patterns with little clusters of ribbon or hand painted • The blouse became an extremely elaborate confection o Adorned with tucking and insertion • Bolero extremely popular o It was also the so called Eton bodice, a garment like a boys Eton jacket • Balloon sleeves of the 1890’s no longer around o Now tight at the wrist and rather long so to extend over the hand • Tea gown = once meant “getting into something loose” now was an artistic creation in its own right • Importance of tailor-mades o Middle class women now beginning to earn their living as governess, typists and shop assistants and it would have been impossible for them to pursue their occupation in a tea gown o Even rich women wore tail-made’s in the country or when traveling o English tailors = rightly reputed to be the best in the world • Men o Accepted wear for all formal occasions was still the top hat and frock coat o Lounge suit worn with homburg hat was increasingly to be seen o Straw hats were super popular and sometimes were worn with riding breeches o Trousers tended to be rather short and very narrow o Young men were beginning to wear trousers with permanent turn-ups and sharp crease in front = possible with the trouser press invented in 1890’s o Collars of white starch linen = extremely high and sometimes went right around the throat  Echo of the boned necks of female attire • Female silhouette began to be slightly modified in 1908 o Bust was no longer thrust so forward o Hips not so far back o Floppy blouses hanging over the waist in the front were gone o Empire gown had the effect of narrowing the hips o Hats became wider = which made hips look narrower still • 1910 = fundamental change in women’s dress o Russian Ballet and Paul Poiret = reasoning o Aweave of orientalism following the extraordinary excitement caused by the production of Scheherazade, the costumes for which were designed by Leon Bakst o Striking colours that society loved o Rigid bodices and bell shaped skirts were abandoned in favour of soft drapery o Skirts = narrow at the hem o 1910 = hobble skirt  difficult for women to walk in  To prevent women from taking a longer stride and splitting the skirt, a fewer made of braid was sometimes worn o It was in this year that every woman – this in the very year of the Suffragette demonstrations – was determined to look like a slave in an Oriental harem o Some women even went so far as to wear little “harem” trousers visible below the hem of the skirt  Only the most daring wore them like this o Very large hats o Silhouette was a triangle standing on its point (completely opposite of the 1860’s) o Lace trimming no longer around , now = buttons popular o Designers prospered o Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) made her mark by designing Lily Eslie’s costume for The Merry Widow in 1907  Was like Poiret working on a romantic oriental theme o Lucile, Charles Creed and Redfern = famous for their tailor mades derived from men’s suits  All established branches in paris • 1913 – startling change o dress no longer had collars coming up to the ears o now V Neck o Created extraordinary amount of excitement o “danger to health” because of the indecent exposure o blouse with a very modest triangular opening = “pneumonia blouse” o if any collar now medici collar from the back • just before the war another modification in general outline of women’s dress o over the skirt which was long and tight at the ankle was worn another skirt – a kindof tunic reaching just below the knee o shape of hats modified o abandoned underskirt and wore the tunic or overskirt by itself o tailor made was now very popular o extravagant dressing was out of place in wartime o war had a deadening effect on fashion o 1918 nightgown introduced • 1919 o when fashion picked up again o flared skirt replaced with the “barrel” line  completely tubular o Skirts were still long but an attempt was made to confine the body in cylinder o Bust was entirely boyish – women even wore flatteners o Waist disappeared • 1925 o scandal = revolution of the short skirt
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