This is the time of the year to talk about trend reports. It’s the most exciting part of runway shows, searching for trends for next seasons. Fashion magazines, blogs and e-magazines round-up the coolest trends and predict how our fashion habits are going to change for the new year (for example if Instagram would be the key element to consacrate to success new Instagirls or if celebrity models would take a fundamental role on catwalks and ad campaigns).
In January we’re all crazy about trends!!
I won’t write about the next fashion trends, of course, I’m a fashion history blogger!
But I love to take inspirations from present life, so I decided to travel back 100 years to 1915 to describe 5 outstanding fashion trend of that year.
So what was happening a century ago in the world of fashion?
The Larger-Than-Life French couturier Paul Poiret took inspiration from a cosmopolitan group of artists, as Apollinaire, Stravinsky, Picasso, Cocteau, Diaghilev, who settled in a roaring Paris at the beginning of the century. The love and fascination for exotic cultures was clear and fashion moved in that direction, crowning Poiret the Maharajah of glamour. The opulent fabrics and redundant colors were balanced in his creationsby the simple cuts and geometrical shapes. Through his revolutionary African Kaftans, draped Japanese Kimonos, and Greek chitons, Poiret set the stage for 1920′s tubular dresses.
The outbreak of the WWI concerned many countries in Europe, as Italy, England, Austria and Germany. Men were called to fight and of course women had to take their places, helping their own families and going to work, for most of them for the first time. Corsets and brassieres were abandoned, as well as uncomfortable “hubble-skirts” and couture-inspired outfits.
This was the moment when a girl, named Gabrielle Chanel had the great idea to create something cozy, comfortable and chic for the new generations of working young ladies. Classified by Poiret as “Pouvretè de Luxe” this new minimal and effortless fashion was ready to conquer the entire world and was going to last till our present days.
1915 was the year of a great venture in fashion: Romain de Tirtoff, aka Ertè began to publish his drawings on Harper’s Bazar. His oriental-inspired designs were first published on the cover of American Bazar in January. With his fertile imagination Ertè created a very personal concept of woman, filling his sketches with details. Women embody ultra-chic creatures in his vision, Assyrian princesses, harem’s queens and Egyptians goddesses. His world was ruled by the influences of Russian Ballets of Diaghilev and he conveyed the joyful mood of Parisian life in his drawings. Even if his designs weren’t immediately accepted and appreciated, he became successful during the following years, and his creations were permanently considered pieces of art, gaining the worldwide approval of all major fashion magazines.
In the late 1914 Giacomo Balla, one of the major artist of the Futurist movement, published the manifesto about fashion rules, as seen through Futurism’s dictates. The Manifesto was called “Il Vestito Antineutrale” and had a great influence on the Futurists fashion habits: Balla, Depero and Thayat put into practice the abolition of pail colors, symmetry, mediocrity and boring good taste. They created dynamic fabrics patterns, with aggressive colors, asymmetrical cuts, with rounded and squared lines and dynamic silhouettes, which embody action, impetuosity and courage. Although admittedly the ideas of the audacious Futurist artists about fashion didn’t quite reach mainstream, its fashion dictates spread all over Europe and Russia, where the movement was active until 1920′s.
1915 marked the year of a revolutionary invention that changed the world of make-up: Maurice Levy, an American engineer, invented lipstick push up sticks in tubes, which later became extremely common during the 1920′s. The metal cylinder was mostly similar to the shape used today and it sure made women’s life much easier!
100 years passed: society, culture, fashion and people evolved. But the cycle of trend remains the same. The trends were settled from a minority, an elite and used to gain popularity during their evolution. Fashion was considered revolutionary and trends mirrored the social, artistic, economical and technological changes. The disappearance of trends happened not so fast as now, of course, but mechanism behind them was identical to our contemporary fashion changes.