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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Fashion In The 20th Century - 1186 words
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Fashion is said to be evolutionary and not revolutionary. This was not true in the 20th century. Fashion revolutionized America and the rest of the world during this time period. Also, during this time period fashion evolved tremendously. New fabrics and innovations were introduced to America.
When World War I came about, people had to sacrifice their clothing for the men at war and they dressed more conservative. Christian Dior changed all of that when he came out with the "New Look." This look consisted of draped gowns with a lot of fabric being used. What Christian Dior was basically saying was that we should not have to sacrifice how we dress. In the 20th century, new synthetic fibers were invented, making new fabrics come to life like rayon and polyester. New technology changed many different ways we made our garments toward printing and construction. Of course the 20th century started out in the 1900's
The silhouette of the female was made up of the pigeon-breasted bosom, tiny corseted waist, and full, swayback hips. There were many common designs in this era. One was a white, high-necked, trimmed cotton blouse with a heavier, dark shirt. Another was tailor-made jackets and skirts for working women. Most of the fabrics available were mostly natural fibers like cotton, silk, linen, and wool.
Daywear was most often in shades of white, brown, and black, commonly in a small figured or floral print. Eveningwear consisted of lightweight silks in sometimes brighter solids or light-colored hazy prints. In this particular period, fancy trim meant status. Trim was very excessive as possible on shoulders, waist, and the lower half of the skirt. Items used included were lace, embroidery, jet beading, flowers, ribbon, and net. All of the hemlines reached the floor.
Sergers were first introduced in this era. In 1910, most of the influence for fashion came from designer Paul Poiret and Eastern influence. Daywear silhouette included a head-to-ankle coverage with lowered necklines for the first time ever in decades. The primary silhouette was a straight, squarish outline with low hips. Common designs were long, ethnic influenced tunics with a skirt and waist sash, and horizontal layered appearance in skirt or vertical wrap effect on tailored jacket-and-skirt sets and dresses.
Rayon was invented and used. Also used were medium to heavy weight fabrics like serge and gabardine seen in tailored daywear. In the evening, chiffon and crepes were used. Chanel used denim as leisure fabric in this period. Solids or small figured prints were worn for daywear and in the evening people wore brighter, varied colors and larger, exotic prints.
Poiret was well-known for his vibrant hues. Feathers, furs, and tassels donned for the new mystique look of fashion. The roaring 20's consisted of a body outline that was very straight and curveless with streamlines, close-fitting hats and hairstyles. Skirt hemlines were raised between the knee and mid-calf for day and eveningwear. Eveningwear consisted of a sleeveless barrel-shape with great amounts of beading and also unusual streamlined drapes, or emphasis of the lowered waistline by a wide band of shirring or smocking.
The hemline dropped back to the ankles when the stock market crashed in 1929. Acetate was invented and the development of bias-cutting fabric by Madeleine Vionnet was introduced in this era. For the first time in centuries, the natural, though slim, silhouette became in style in the 1930's. Shoulders were emphasized by puffs or padding, especially towards World War II. Unusually cut and pieced day and evening dresses, with oddly puffed and fitted sleeves were a common design.
Also, two-piece suits with square-shaped jackets, large buttons and narrow, lean skirts in thin materials were introduced. Colors were often muted or deeper hues, but brighter color was also accepted. Abstract prints became more popular and were in contrasting shades. Large collars and cuffs were popular. Also, a standard motif throughout the decade was the two-piece belt or jacket clasp, worn at the center waist. Nylon was invented in this era and also stretch weaves in fabric. Salvatore Ferragamo invented platforms on high-heeled dress shoes and costume jewelry was accepted by society thanks to Chanel.
Soft but wide shoulders, corseted waist, and full hips were the hallmarks of 50's wear, but silhouettes were also more varied. Common designs in this era included more casual dresses with tied shoulder straps or halter straps, boned bodices and the circle skirt, long-sleeved button-up sweaters with a plain, ribbed neck, often beaded or appliqu'ed, and similarly fitted eveningwear that had a heart-shaped, opaque, strapless bodice with a sheer silk or nylon over-bodice. Futuristic prints of all types appeared in bright, abstract designs apropos of the atomic era. Colors in the evening were now both subtle and bold, as peacock blues and hot pinks were acceptable. New fabrics that were introduced were acrylic, spandex, and finally polyester.
In the 1960's, everyday clothes and fashions were quite simple. Usually A-line or shift dresses were worn with lengths between the high thigh and the knee. Basic designs included mini length dresses with ultra-modern or baby doll details, simple shift or princess line dresses in a solid or soft print fabric, and boxy jacket and skirt suits. Almost all fabrics used today were available at the start of this era. Florals of all types and some abstracts were common day prints. Brighter and more varied prints were seen in leisurewear, especially Hawaiian motifs.
There was little trim with the exception of simple motifs seen in piping and embroidery. Evening saw more extravagant sequins or beading, especially encrusted panels on jeweled collars and cuffs. The outline of figures in the 1970's was widely varied, especially in hair and hem lengths. In general, a long, almost gaunt look was desired in the arms and torso, and the flared line of bellbottoms was common. Straight, skinny synthetic shirts or T-shirts were paired with synthetic or denim bellbottoms and also polyester knit suits in dress-and-jacket, jacket-and-skirt or pant sets wore worn.
Polyester was overwhelmingly the fabric of choice from leisure to eveningwear, but natural fibers were still used with the organic flower child look. Loud and clashing colors were now in everyday fashion prints, from conservative to wild. Swirling psychedelic prints, dotted with flowers, medallions, and geometric shapes were popular. There was widespread use of designer names and labels as an incentive to shoppers, marketing everything from clothing to luggage with designers such as Geoffrey Beene and Christian Dior. No matter what decade or century you are in, fashion is going to change.
People make fashion change and evolve through the decades with different events that happen. Early on, it was the designers who decided what men and women wore. Through the decades it became evident that we should choose and decide what we should wear to incorporate our environment. Women basically decided that they were the rulers of fashion and that they make fashion what it is today. Why shouldn't they choose? Of course fashion is here to stay, so, I wonder what we would be wearing in the 22nd century?Vintage Vixen Clothing Co. Fashion History. 1997-2005.
Vintage Vixen. 20 Apr. 2005. http://www.vintagevixen.com/history.
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