This was still the time of Edwardian corsetry and hourglass figure designs. The decade was coined as the Belle Epoque and French fashion houses lead the way. Paul Poiret was among most notable designers of the time.
Women started to experiment with softer and more fluid silhouettes. There was a big craze of Orientalism, brought by the Ballet Russe production of Cherezade. Harem pants and kimonos were in. Isadora Duncan in her floating dress personified the decade on the picture above.
1920s would have to be my favourite period in fashion. It’s also referred to as the Golden Age of French Fashion. Just picture the dreamy flapper outfits in the Great Gatsby - the movie! Around this time women started sporting short bobs (as pioneered by the great Coco Chanel) and above-the-knee skirts. Many have traded their Edwardian corset for a more androgynous look. Chanel, no doubt, emerged as the innovator of the decade. She introduced the little black dress and was the first one to widely use jersey material in clothing. At the same time, Jeanne Lanvin launched her label, which was to become a fashion powerhouse. Her signature designs were bright floral garments, abundance of embroidery and beading.
This was the time of the Great Depression. Naturally, women and men became more frugal and modest with their garments. Nevertheless, two women dominated the fashion world: Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeline Vionnet. Both ladies brought back romantic and feminine looks. Once again, the skirts dropped below the knees and beautiful evening gowns were the most coveted objects.
During the WWII many fashion houses closed down, including Chanel. Perhaps the most hideous trend of all times surfaced in the form of the Zoot suit…Marlene Dietrich was among few brave women who adopted the Zoot suit and male tuxedos.
On a positive note, Christian Dior introduced the New Look – full skirts and tiny waists were very en vogue.
A lot happened during this decade. Among many influential designers who rocked the fashion world, were Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain. Interestingly enough, Mademoiselle Chanel made her big comeback in the 1950s, by introducing the tweed suit, to-die-for costume jewelry and most important of all, the quilted chain bag, aka Chanel 2.55.
If Paris alone was dictating the fashion trends throughout the century, it was no longer the case in the 1960s. This was the time of Biba (Topshop of the decade) and flamboyant Pucci designs. If before what you wore spoke of your social status, now – young men and women were free to experiment with more affordable fashion.
One Frenchman made a big mark during this time: Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized the history of fashion one garment after another: his safari jacket, pea coat and le smoking – all proved to have major staying power.
This was the time, when I officially plugged in to the world of fashion. I can write a lot on this decade, but will narrow down the list of designers who’ve inspired me and many other people around the world: Gucci, Prada, Versace, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Donna Karan. All with very distinct aesthetics, these Americans and Italian fashions houses were making major waves. This was also the time, when it no longer mattered to be en vogue and to blindly follow the trends. You could channel baroque opulence of Versace, CK’s minimalist silhouette or Kurt Cobain's grunge look - whatever rocked your boat.