Through Present (1900-1950)
The early 1900's were known to much of the English speaking
western world as the Edwardian Era, which was named for the
reign of King Edward of Britain from 1901 until 1910. During
this time period, the industrial revolution was coming to a
close, railways extended across America, and inventions such
as the telephone and the light bulb changed the world. Fashion
too was changing.
In 1909 Vogue magazine featured a women on its cover wearing a
soft, loose fitting styles. This silhouette was a stark
contrast to the styles popular in the Victorian Era, which
were marked by tight corsets, an hourglass figure, and
elaborate decorative designs.
The 1920s too saw a great change in fashion, especially for
women. Flapper culture shortened hemlines to unprecedented
heights, women bobbed their hair when for centuries only long
hair had been acceptable, and the silhouette, rather than
expressing a womanly shape, opted for a boxy, long, loose
shape. In 1926 the Women's Fashion Institute designed a one
hour dress, meaning the dress could be sewn in one hour. Also
during this time, forward-thinking designer and legend Coco
Chanel was one of the first designers to introduce sportswear
for everyday clothing and trousers for women that would
influence fashion forever.
During the 1930s-1950s there was a new source of fashion
icons, found Hollywood movie starlets. They set fashion
trends in hair, makeup, and clothing. Hollywood brought
glamour to America and the world. In the 1940s, the silhouette
again changed, with wide shoulder lines and wide trousers
desirable for both men and women. Still, women wore skirts and
dresses more often than not. The 1950s again brought the
hourglass figure back into popularity and the sheath dress
(now more popularly called a wiggle dress) was the standard.
Teenagers at this time began wearing jeans and creating styles
distinct from both childrenís wear and adultís wear, which had
not been done before.
The invention of the first manufactured man-made fiber, Rayon,
led to more functional clothing for women and men who were
entering the work force. Before that, cotton and wool were the
main natural fabric sources available.
DuPont changed the world by inventing nylon, another man-made
fiber. Hence, nylon stockings were invented and gave the look
of silk but with cheaper prices. During WWII clothing was
rationed and style was conservative. People wanted more luxury
after the sacrifices that were given during the war. To meet
this demand, French designer, Dior, launched his brand in 1947
LIFE magazine called the "New Look".