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    Fashion History: The Haute Couture Era

    Mai 11th, 2017

    By the end of the 19th century the horizons of the fashion industry had generally broadened. The more mobile and independent lifestyle causes many well-off women to begin to adopt and to wear the practical clothes they demanded.

    Fashion History from 1900 – 1910

    Throughout the early 20th century Paris dictated high-end fashion. Parisian designers set the fashion tone for the rest of the Western world, and their designs were highly sought for women of the upper classes. Although the two most important fashion terms and their division haute couture and pret-a-porter wasn’t sharply defined, nevertheless both fashion magazines and department stores all over the world sent their editors and buyers to the exclusive Paris Fashion Shows to follow the newest high-end fashion trends and styles. At this time fashion style magazines started to include photographs in their article and became even more influential than in the future.

    Remarkable wastes defined the fashion of the decade. And the couturiers of that time created incredibe extravagant outfits which were meticulously made. Worn by the fashionable women of the Belle Époque the outfits highlighted the S-Bend silhouette of the full-figured body. The S-Bend corset was very tightly laced at the waist which forced the hips back and the drooping mono bosom was thrust forward in a pouter pigeon effect creating a S shape. Toward the end of the decade the fashionable silhouette gradually became somewhat more straight and slim, due to Paul Poiret’s high-waisted, shorter-skirted Directoire line of clothes. Curvy hips were also flaunted by the dress styles of the era. In the early years of the first decade, skirts were only long and full. No fashionable lady could (or would) dress or undress herself without the assistance of a third party. Unlike today, the constant radical changes of the fashion trends were still literally unthinkable. The use of different trimmings were all that distinguished the styles season after season.

    This video shows Fashion in the early 1900′s:

    Fashion History from 1910 – 1918

    From 1910 until the start of the First World War in 1914, skirts gradually grew shorter and began to reveal tantalizing glimpses of the ankle. The overall silhouette of dresses also changed slightly, moving toward a slimmer, narrower and straighter line that emphasized the hips and busts. As the war began in 1914, attention and materials were drawn away from fashion design, and no significant fashion developments occurred again until peace was declared at the end of 1918.

    The most influential fashion designers of the time were Paul Poiret, Jacques Doucet and Mariano Fortuny. Paul Poiret has evolved the first outfit which women could put on without the help of a maid. He was one of the first who translated his vogue into the fashion world with his exotic kimonos and vivid colors. While the French designer Jacques Doucet excelled in superimposing pastel colors and his elaborate gossamery dresses suggested the Impressionist shimmers of reflected light, Mariano Fortuny was a curious figure with very few parallels in any age. For his dress designs he conceived a special pleating process and new dyeing techniques. Each garment was made of the finest silk.

    Fashion History from 1918 – 1920

    World War I changed the fashion world for ever. Women chose to dress like men and borrowed their clothes from the male, corsets were refused and both bustless, waistless silhouette and the flapper style became very popular among yound women. The sporty and athletic look for both women and men were popularized equally as well.

    The menswear emphasized youthfulness and relaxation in the 1920s. Unlike before the young men were no longer afraid to show their growing mood of informality, especially not the Americans. What was very tradional in the past, wearing a special outfit for every event in the well-dressed gentleman’s day, wasn’t popular any longer. Men began to wear the same soft wool suit all day long and felt confident. Short suit jackets replaced the old long jackets of the past which were now only worn for formal occasions. Men prefered more the sport clothes, including sweaters and short pants and the London cut, with its slim lines, loose-fitting sleeves, and padded shoulders were very popular.

    At that time the couturière Coco Chanel was a major figure in fashion for her chic and progressive designs. Chanel evolved the little black dress, the Chanel-Costume and the use of jersey knit for women’s clothing.

    Watch how Fashion changed after WWI due to Coco Chanel’s influence:

    Related article: Couture isn’t dead. It’s an article about how haute couture is demand than ever after the economic crise in the 21st century.
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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Cloche Hat?

    Februar 27th, 2017

    The well known cloche hat was invented by the Parisian milliner and French fashion designer Caroline Reboux (1837-1927) in 1908. Due to the fitted, bell-shaped form of her invention, she named her hat – “cloche” hat, a French translation of the English word “bell”. The hat even shaped hairstyles and became especially popular during the 1920s, and continued to be commonly seen until about 1933.

    Read the rest of this entry
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    Fashion History: The Fashion Revolution Era

    Dezember 19th, 2016

    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:


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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the first A-Line collection?

    Oktober 9th, 2016

    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
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    Fashion History: The Present Era

    August 22nd, 2016

    Since the end of the 20th century the vicissitudes of globalization and the development of new technologies for design and production (including the creation of new “techno textiles”) increases the influence of the future of fashion. Synthetic materials such as Lycra, Spandex, and viscose became widely-used. Back to that time fashion turned to the past for inspiration, after two decades of looking to the future.

    Fashion History from 1980 – 1990

    The 1980s saw a definite rise in the popularity of designer styles, while high fashion had greatly declined during the 1960s and 1970s. Fashion shows were more important then ever and were transfigured into media-saturated spectaculars and frequently televised. Power and money dominated the styles of the 1980s and clothing was a sign of power. The better-heeled people around the world were literally rushing to pricy New York boutiques and Paris fashion shows to purchase directly from designers’ lines. Extremly popular were the baroque evening dresses and long, extravagant designer gowns which made a reappearance inspired by the past. While not everybody could afford the very expensive designer cloths, the mass producers on the other hand replicated the high fashions for the general public. A few fashion designers such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren for instance also produced ready-to-wear lines to appeal to less-affluent customers.

    Thierry Mugler and Azzedine Alaia were the two French fashion designer who best defined the look to that time. Thierry Mugler produced fashion designs that combined Hollywood retro and futurism, with rounded hips and sharply accentuated shoulders. Due to his glamorous dresses which were a remarkable success to that time, Mugler had made an end of the hippy era and its unstructured silhouette. On the other hand Azzedine Alaia was known for his inspiring combinations and was the master of all kinds of techniques that had previously been known only to haute couture. He included in his designs many new and underused materials, such as Lycra and viscose.

    Beside the prevailing fashion image of the time two Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto offered a very natural look and marked a total break of the extravance and glamorous fashion designs. Flat shoes, no make-up, reserve, modesty, and secrecy were the hallmarks of their modern look.

    In American fashion, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren dominated the ready to wear styles in the 80s. While Karan brought a very personal and feminine approach to the severe, sober-colored, casual American look for urban women who greatly appreciated the understated luxury of her clothes, Lauren represented a classic look as sportswear and jeans that had been adopted for an active life. Unlike Karan, Lauren reached the widest possible range of social classes and age groups due to his affordable price points of his designs.

    Watch the clip to imagine the extravagant 1980′s:

    Fashion History from 1990 – 1999

    The economic recession at the beginning of the 1990s in the fashion industry literally destroyed the positive and optimistic mood of the 1980s. Women had begun to reject the moneyed, designer styles of the 1980s and opt for more comfortable, casual clothing by the 1990s. Ripped jeans, flannel shirts and baggy pants which were inspired by the rock & roll and hip-hop movement became extremly popular. The comfort and the desire of wearable clothes became the key factor in the fashion industry for most women in the 1990s and 2000s. Ready to wear retailer such as Gap and Banana Republic came to the forefront of fashion and retro clothing inspired by the 1960s and 1970s was popular for much of the 1990s.

    The Italian fashion house Gucci, founded in 1921 had begun selling luxury leather goods and gave up control of the company to Invest Corp. in 1990, was then employing an unknown fashion director, Tom Ford in 1994. Ford triggered a tidal wave with his chic and shocking collections, perfumes for men and women, revamped boutiques, and advertising campaigns. Hence the Gucci house was crowned with a great prestige and is today the second biggest-selling fashion brand, after LVMH worldwide.

    At the end of the 20th century Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs were the most influental American fashion designer. Michael Kors’s knowledge and consciousness of trends enabled him to produce simple well-cut garments, whose sophistication and elegance appealed to a whole new breed of wealthy American customers drawn to the new vogue for minimalist chic. Marc Jacobs is one of the most notable American designers of the period in that, unlike many American fashion designers in the past, he was not so much the co-ordinator of a mass-produced garment as a designer in the European sense of the word. The already well-known designer Calvin Klein on the other hand started to market his fashions, perfumes, and accessories beside the US also in Europe and Asia and was achieving an unequaled success. Klein used carefully constructed advertisements containing images tinted with eroticism to promote his sophisticatedly functional mass-produced designs, which won massive popularity among the urban youth of the 1990s.

    In Italy, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace dominated the fashion industry in Europe to that time. Both, Dolce & Gabbana with their superfeminine and fantastical style and Versace with his brilliant, sexy and colorful designs, broke away from the serious and sober-minded fashions that dominated during much of the 1990s.

    Catwalk footage of supermodel Cindy Crawford at Calvin Klein runway fashion show in 1991



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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Mini Skirt?

    Juni 25th, 2016

    The so-called mini-skirt is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees that is generally no longer than 4 inches (10 cm) below the buttocks. In the olden days it was not usual, even a scandal if you attempted to show more legs then you should. Read the rest of this entry
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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Wrap Dress?

    Mai 4th, 2016

    Fashion designer Diane von Fuerstenberg had a breakthrough for introducing the knitted jersey ‘wrap-dress’ in 1973. Its fundamental form was already deeply embedded in the American designer sportswear collection. Read the rest of this entry
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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the T-Shirt?

    Februar 28th, 2016

    As trivial as it happened to sound, as legendary is the story of the T-Shirts. Originally the T-Shirt was supposed to be an undershirt for sea-men and marines. Read the rest of this entry
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    Fashion History: The New Look Era

    Januar 27th, 2016

    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:


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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Twin Set?

    Dezember 2nd, 2015

    A sweater with a matching cardigan all made with the same fabric and color was more a boring invention in 1934. Fashion designer Otto Weisz invented the twin-set for the knitwear label Pringle of Scotland back then. Read the rest of this entry
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