Friday, January 18, 2013

Modern Fashion

Happy New Year! My 2013 style resolution – more high heels, more pant suits, and this may be the year that I will cut my hair short…we’ll see.

What fashion era advanced women to heels, trousers and short haircuts?

Roaring 20s is the decade when floor-scraping Victorian ensembles began to loosen from waist-cinching corsets into shorter drop-waist flapper dresses embellished with laces, embroideries, beadings and feathers, paramount to express “individualism” which marks the period. It is a period of women’s fashion freedom with more revealing sleeves and hemlines. Baring more legs, with skirts rising just below the knees, 2 to 3-inch high heels such as Mary Jane ankle strap button shoes slowly came to style.  Without the cincture restriction, a less curvaceous woman and more boyish silhouette came into vogue at the time, followed by more masculine hairstyles such as bob and crop cuts, ideal for cloche hat and newsboy cap, which are haute accessories at the time.

French designers hugely influenced American fashion during this era.  Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, popularized the easy-going masculine style introducing trousers and tweed jackets for women.  Approaching a hundred years, her No.5 fragrance was born in 1920s as well.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883-1971).
Evening Dress, 1925, crystal beads on silk chiffon.
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum. Photo by Ken Howie.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883-1971).
Dress, 1925, crystal beads on lace, silk ribbon.
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum

Jean Patou designed sportswear and left her mark by universalizing the tennis skirt and cardigan. Some of us may remember Jean Patou’s perfume, Joy, that was voted Scent of the Century in 2000, beating Chanel No. 5.

Jean Patou (French, 1880-1936).
Tulle dress, 1925, with silk lining.
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum.

Jeanne-Marie Lanvin was influential as a milliner and couturiere with use of beading and embroideries in her creations. Her famous Aperge fragance was also made during the Jazz Age, and was named by her musician daughter.

Madeleine Vionnet (French, 1876-1975).
Evening Dress, 1920s, draped chiffon.

Evening Dresses, 1920s.

Day Dresses, 1920s.

Many of the classic styles transcending generations and continue to be "in" are influenced by modern fashion that started in the golden twenties.  If you haven't yet, there's still time to see the Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920's at the Phoenix Art Museum, Ellman Fashion Design Gallery thru February 10, 2013.

A blessed and stylish 2013 to all =)

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (French, 1883-1971).
Evening Dress, 1928, metal sequins on silk tulle.
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum.
Gift of Mrs. Wesson Seyburn. Photo credits Ken Howie.

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