During World War II fashion responded to the restrained mood and economy of the war. Many fashion houses closed during occupation of Paris.
Fashion History from 1940 – 1950
During the World War II (1939 – 1945), all types of cloth were needed for a variety of wartime purposes, and material for clothing was severely rationed and limited for each year and its number decreased steadily as the war progressed. From 1940 onward, no more than thirteen feet (four meters) of cloth was permitted to be used for a coat and a little over 3 feet (1 meter) was all that allowed for a blouse. No belt could be over 1.5 inches (3 centimeters) wide. Despite this, haute couture tried to keep its flag flying. Fashions of the era emphasized shorter skirts than ever before, buttons for any type of clothes were limited to three per item, evening wear was also shortened and women were encouraged to make do with ankle socks and bare legs.
Among young men in the War Years the zoot suit became popular. After the war, the “American Look” became very popular among men in Europe. Certain London manufacturers ushered in a revival of Edwardian elegance in men’s fashion, adopting a tight-fitting retro style that was intended to appeal to traditionalists. This look, originally aimed at the respectable young man about town, was translated into popular fashion as the “Teddy boy” style.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s, designers were tired of the utilitarian, minimalist clothing of the wartime era. Paris fashion, which had fallen from its position as the capital of the fashion world after World War II, made a strong comeback after the war in part due to the international success of couturier Christian Dior’s first women’s collection “Corelle” which went down in fashion history as the “New Look” in February 1947. His new clothing styles which emphasized rounded shoulders, full skirts, and narrow waists was so successful that it went down in fashion history. The “New Look” became revolutionary, strongly popular and influenced fashion and other designers for many years.
Christian Dior’s New Look from 1947:
Fashion History from 1950 – 1960
The 1950s were years of nuclear anxiety, economic expansion, social conservation and the rise of American popular culture. Yet even as bourgeois standards of propriety and “good taste” were expressed in fashion through girdles, hats and gloves, young people were developing fashions of their own.
As the installation of central heating became more widespread the age of minimum-care garments began and lighter textiles and, eventually, synthetics, were introduced. A new youth style emerged in the 1950s and changed the focus of fashion forever. During the same period of the time, in men’s fashion ‘plaid’ was very common, both for shirts and suits, which was often viewed as a symbol of rebellion and banned in schools.
Three of the most prominent of the Parisian couturiers in the 1950s were Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, and Pierre Balmain. Balenciaga is well known as one of the few couturiers in fashion history who could use their own hands to design, cut, and sew the models which symbolized the height of his artistry. In 1951, he totally transformed the silhouette, broadening the shoulders and removing the waist. Followed by the tunic dress which he designed in 1955 and which later developed into the chemise dress of 1957. The French designer Givenchy created a sensation with his separates, which could be mixed and matched at will. His first couture house was opened in 1952. Balmain liked to dress up sophisticated women luxurious elegance, simple tailoring, and a more natural look. His clientele was typified by the tailored glamor of the “New Look”, with its ample bust, narrow waist, and full skirts. Along with his haute couture work, the talented businessman pioneered a ready-to-wear range called Florilege and also launched a number of highly successful perfumes.
In 1954, after closing different boutiques in the war years, Coco Chanel’s strong comeback went in history. She detested the “New Look” to the fashion world and presented a collection which contained a whole range of ideas that would be adopted and copied by women all over the world: her famous little braided suit with gold chains, shiny costume jewelry, silk blouses in colors that matched the suit linings, sleek tweeds, monogrammed buttons, flat black silk bows, boaters, quilted bags on chains, and evening dresses and furs that were marvels of simplicity.
By the end of the decade off-the-peg clothing had become much more popular than in the past. It was literally the start-shot for the general public to access the fashionable styles for affordable prices.
See some beautiful designs of the most influental fashion designers of the 1950′s:
Former creative director of Jil Sander, Raf Simons had his debut Haute Couture FW 2012/13 Show at the Hôtel Particulier in Paris a few days ago. As the new head designer of the Parisian Couture house Christian Dior, Raf Simons showed 54 amazing looks that nodded to the history of the house — cinched waists and full A-line skirts.
That Simons debut would be a success seemed a given, but that it would be such a triumph was a thrill. The entire collection was beautiful, sophisticated, and restrained. The answer to the question “what made his couture collection look different?” gave Raf Simons himself in an interview to Style.com: “[I am trying] to change the psychology of people who are interested in couture. The way I’ve been looking at it so far is as a still image, something you look at for that moment. I think lots of people see it as a still, an image from the red carpet. I want to make it more dynamic, appeal to a person who has a different energy. A younger person, in mind, not necessarily in age. And I think couture is very much about curating something unique for women. Fashion is so mass-produced now; I hope there will come a refocus on how people see couture. And I would also hope for a new focus on the craft.”
We couldn’t agree more. Now, dive into Raf Simons very own couture world and see for yourself how beautiful made his first collection was.
By the 1960s, the empire of fashion had begun to break up into various style tribes. The coming of age of the postwar baby boom generation, together with a strong economy, led to the rise of an international youth culture that completely revolutionized the fashion system. “Youth quake” styles were closely linked to popular music, especially in London, where young women first started wearing miniskirts, while men dressed like peacocks. Forth fashions were soon followed by stylish versions of hippie anti-fashion. Despite the rise of influential new designer and popular trends, the time had clearly passed when a single designer could dominate the look of a season or decade the way Dior once had with the “New Look” of 1947. Italy, Japan and New York became new centers of fashion.
Fashion History from 1960 – 1970
Until the 1960s Paris was supposed to be the center of fashion only. Prior to the 1960s fashion designers generally created styles for runway shows and clothing manufacturers mass produced the designers’ styles for the general public. At that time the youth generation with a power and culture that was all their own, now at an age to speak out, began to rebel against traditional clothing styles and created their own fashion trends. As a matter of fact, after trying to move forward with their traditional creations, fashion designer couldn’t keep up with their specific trends and implement the youths’ popular creations into clothing for the masses. Even indomitable and matured women adopted a girlish, hip-style with short skirts and straightened curves in the 60s. Not to mention that at the start of the decade skirts were knee-length, but steadily became shorter and shorter until the mini-skirt emerged in 1965.
A huge variety of clothing became popular beside the short miniskirts, including bell bottoms, hot pants and blue jeans. It was no longer shocking for women to wear pants on a daily basis. The basic shape and style of the time was simple, clean cut, neat and especially young. Synthetic fabrics were very widely-used during the 1960s. The colors of the styles were both clear and bright at the same time, very much mirroring the mood of the period. Hats weren’t worn anymore, only to special occasions and flat boots also became popular with very short dresses in 1965. Later on the boots even rose up the leg and reached the knee.
Emilio Pucci and Paco Rabanne were two very influential fashion designers in the 1960s. Emilio Pucci’s sportswear designs and prints earned him a very high reputation of the high society. His sleek shift dresses, tunics, and beachwear, created a ‘Puccimania’ that liberated the female form in the 1960s. Paco Rabanne on the other hand produced resolutely modern designs, created garments from aluminum (Rhodoid) and pieces of scrap metal. His designs, as well as being experimental, were also closely in tune with what modern adventurous young women wanted to wear. Rabanne was also the first fashion designer to use black models in the conservative world of haute couture.
The principal change in menswear in the 1960s was in the weight of the fabric used. The choice of materials and the method of manufacture produced a suit that, because it was lighter in weight, had a totally different look, with a line that was closer to the natural shape of the body, causing men to look at their figures more critically. The spread of jeans served to accelerate a radical change in the male wardrobe. Young men grew their hair down to their collars and added a touch of color, and even floral motifs, to their shirts. The polo neck never succeeded in replacing the tie, but the adoption of the workman’s jacket in rough corduroy, and especially the Mao jacket proved to be more than simply a political statement.
The Swinging Sixties:
Fashion History from 1970 – 1980
The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look of the late 1960s, with afghans, Indian scarves and floral-print tunics. Jeans remained frayed and bell-bottomed, tie dye was still popular, and the fashion for unisex was mounting then ever.
Due to the choices for available clothing that had become very diverse, it was nearly impossible to tell the do’s and don’ts in fashion by the 1970s. The “anything goes” in terms of fashion was increasing during these two decades of rapid social revolution and holds on until nowadays, at least for the freedom of choices.
Jeans became an accepted part of the American fashion scene in the 1970s. Heading to the more casual sportswear, the American fashion designers adapted the best of what they learned from Europe to the massive American clothing industry. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren became widely known in America after designing clothes for the men and women of a new world. It could be said two styles dominated fashion in the U.S.A. during the 1970s – the tailored, unisex look and the fluid, unstructured style with a strong feeling of the 1930s glamor and elegance.
Kenzo Takada and Sonia Rykiel were the most influential fashion character to that time in France. Kenzo drew his inspiration from all over the world, mixing Western and Oriental folk influences with a fantastic ‘joie de vivre’ (joy of life) and an instinctive understanding of what his young customers wanted. He literally turned the fashion world upside down with his unusual prints, fluid lines and clever combined accessories. Sonia Rykiel, the so-called queen of knits in 1974, designed her first sweaters with reversed seams. She created a whole range of clothes that were extremely individual and yet could be worn almost anywhere.
Men’s fashion changed more in the 1970s than it had done in a whole century. The typical male look was defined by narrow shoulders, tight-fitting lines, no tie, no interfacing, zip-up boiler suits, waisted jackets or tunics, sometimes even without shirt. Fashion designer of that time adopted the unisex look and transformed it even to the work clothes, like traditional suits and changed them to a more informal style therefore. Designers also introduced a revival of the 1930s elegance in men’s wear. The unearthing of old military clothing, preferably khaki and from the United States, English-style shoes, Oxford shirts, immaculate T-shirts, tweed jackets with padded shoulders, and brightly-colored V-neck sweaters.
A huge change in fashion was also the influential increase of Italian’s fashion. Milan confirmed its status as the second center of international fashion after Paris. Capitalizing on the dominant trend of anti-fashion, Italy offered a glamor that had nothing to do with the dictates of Parisian haute couture. While profiting from a clearly defined style, Italian fashion was luxurious and easy to wear. The two most influential Italian fashion designers of the time were Giorgio Armani and Nino Cerruti. Armani’s first women collection in 1975, was dynamic, urban, and understated, androgynous in inspiration. Nino Cerruti presented his first women collection in 1976 while he was pursuing a menswear boutique in Milan for 19 years. A high-quality designer of taste and discernment, Cerruti occupied a unique position in Italian ready-to-wear.
Haute couture is dead, welcome to the 1970′s fashion:
Finally, more than one year of speculation and rumor who the “next” John Galliano is going to be for the luxurious fashion house Dior, is over. Christian Dior named Raf Simons its next couturier on Monday. He’d unviel his first collection for the house during Paris Couture Week in July.
Simons as the new artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections was working as the creative director for the German fashion house Jil Sander for 6 years before he was ousted in February and succeeded by Jil Sander herself.
We are glad Simons is now in good hands with Christian Dior. Good luck to him and we are looking forward to seeing his first show.
The Christian Diorhaute couture S/S 2012 collection designed by Bill Gaytten, John Galliano’s right hand for his entire career, had the idea to expose, like an X-ray or blueprint, the craftsmanship of the Dior ateliers.
Showing full-skirted dresses of delicately embroidered silk organdy, a lot of black and beige and a few pieces of purple and red designs, Gaytten didn’t add something new or made constructions that looked hard and aging.
I hope you had an unforgettable New Year’s Eve and are ready for the upcoming fashion year 2012. As you know, it’s always interesting to have a sneak peek at the past year to be open for an increadible start into the next year. Here are the 10 best and worse fashion moments in 2011:
1_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: John Galliano’s eviction
In February 2011 John Galliano went on an anti-Semitic rant at a bar in Paris. He was immediately suspended and subsequently fired from his 14-year post as the creative mind at Christian Dior. He also got layed off from his eponymous label a few weeks later.
This was the greatest fashion scandal of the year.
Photo: The Hollywood Gossip
2_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Fashion muse Lady Gaga
One thing is def. save to say: Ms. Gaga was the most influential figure in fashion this year. In March, she walked the runway for her stylist Nicola Formichetti’s first womenswear show for Thierry Mugler after that she was seen on several magazine covers as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and got her own holiday workshop at Barneys New York. Lucky her!
3_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Christophe Decarnin leaving Balmain
Due to the absence at Christophe Decarnin’s Fashion Show for Balmain in Paris, the fashion world got a bit confused whether the rumors of having a nervous breakdown might be really true. The fact of the matter was that Decarnin had been absent from the label for months due to creative differences with the brand’s management. Since then Balmain womenswear designer Olivier Rousteing took over the reans of Decarnin’s position.
4_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Elizabeth Taylor’s death
The most shocking news: Elizabeth Taylor’s death in March 2011.
5_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Kate Middleton’s stunning McQueen wedding dress
April, 29th 2011: Kate and William’s Royal wedding!
It was no surprise when it was announced that Sarah Burton for McQueen was going to create Kate Middlton’s one-of-a-kind wedding gown and the streamlined dress of her sister Pippa. Now, Burton is one of the most famous fashion designers in the world. Kate’s choice to wear Alexander McQueen was not only a triumph for British fashion, but also an incredible tribute to the late designer who had passed away the previous year.
One of the best fashion moments of 2011!
Photo: Vogue Daily
6_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Alexander McQueen’s MET Exhibition
Fashion legend Alexander McQueen who committed suicide in February 2010 is even now two years after his death, one of the important fashion figure of this world. The genius of the late grate McQueen was honored and celebrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York on May 2nd, 2011. Savage Beauty, the title of McQueens exhibit at the MET went on through May until the end of July 2011.
The exhibit was the most success the MET ever had.
Photo: 34th Street Magazine
7_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent
In September 2011, Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent over red-soled shoes due to consumer confusion and the use of the color “red” as a design element on an article of fashion. Eventually, the court ruled that the color “red” on the soles of shoes could not be granted as a trademark protection.
This story takes the boring cake.
8_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Elie Tahari & Levine invest in Catherine Malandrino
As of October 2011, Fashion has a new trio: Elie Tahari, Levine and Catherine Malandrino. The plan was to help Malandrino to grow her brand in Asia and Europe both at retail and wholesale. She will benefit from Tahari and Levine’s international resources.
9_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Emmanuell Alt takes over Vogue Paris
After Carine Roitfeld quit her job at Vogue Paris late last year, it was long uncertain who’s going to take over her post. She’d been an increadable chief-editor and who ever wanted to replace her had large shoes to fill. After months of speculation, the magazine’s former fashion director Emmanuelle Alt was named her successor.
10_The 10 most fashionable moments of 2011: Best red carpet dress
And the oscar goes to — Giovanna Battaglia! This woman in her vintage Stephen Sprouse gown was beyond every imagination. What a woman, what a dress. Could you have dressed better than her at the Cannes Film Festival? I doubt it!
Source + Photo: The New York Times, Fashion & Style – Cathy Horyn
The term ‘A-Line’ is usually used to describe a certain type of clothing, usually a dress, skirt or coat that is shaped like the capital letter ‘A’. It is narrow at the top and flares away from the hip towards the knees. Read the rest of this entry »
“I wanted my dresses be constructed, molded upon the curves of the feminine body, whose sweep they would stylize,” French fashion designer Christian Dior pointed out in his autobiography. Indeed, in the spring of 1947 this was Dior’s concept when he launched his incredible new women’s line collection “Corelle” which went down in fashion history as the “New Look”. Read the rest of this entry »
John Carles Galliano aka John Galliano, British fashion designer, born in 1960. The designer finished his fashion education in 1983 and showed his very first ready-to-wear collection one year later. He quickly made a name for himself and became well known as a talented, avant-garde designer who created sophisticated and high-end fashion designs. Galliano was the head designer of the French couture houses Givenchy (from 1995 to 1996) and Christian Dior (from 1996 to 2011). Since 1986, he also runs his own namesake fashion label.