As fashion lovers, you all probably have a favorite decade for those gorgeous silhouettes. These silhouettes define what kind of women dominated that time. They reflect each inch of power, grace, and aesthetic every Aphrodite beheld, and made it a permanent mark in the course of this universe’s history. Though simple as others may look at it, the silhouettes through the years relates the story of us, women.
I am laying it down on you today: a brief history and celebration of us, being empowered by the cuts and grace of every contour.
This decade, we have glorified the new found freedom women gained. The Feminine Liberation movement decided that women’s roles should be changed. Gone are the days that we are to stay home and cook! We now have the right to utilize our strength and make a living for ourselves! With this, the dresses now evolved and took form in shorter skirts with pleats, slits, or gathers to allow more transitions in movement.
Women broke free from corsets! The hourglass shape is no more and most silhouettes are linear in form. At this point in history, the women are allowed to vote and express what they want to. Legs are now flaunted with pride with hemlines rising to the knee. Roles are now shared between genders, as well, that a more masculine look became popular with the appreciation of flattened breasts and short hairstyles.
Women’s enlightenment was at its peak until the late 1920’s to early 1930s. However, the Great Depression started taking toll and affected everyone’s view in life. A conservative bump pushed us back to longer skirts, and higher waistlines. A campaign for a more “womanly” look prevailed. Madelaine Vionnet invented the bias-cut and used the method to mold and accentuate the body’s contours as it draped the female form. This was the essence of the 1930s. Although the short hair lasted little until the end of 1930s, feminine curves became of most importance.
The grim severity of the war caused the limited access of people to new and quality clothing, including fabrics in making one. The War Production Board issued its Regulation L85 restricting elements in women’s clothing. It was so grave at the time that magazines and pattern companies advised girls on how to revise men’s suits into something women could wear! This made perfect sense as the men are usually in uniform and there is no other use for their old clothing during this decade. The 40’s silhouette is almost the same as the 30’s with the nipped in waist. The only difference is that the shoulders are more squared because of the blazers.
Just like a bird unleashed from its cage, the women showed their desire for style, elegance, and soft beautiful fabric right after the Second World War has ceased. Christian Dior exhibited the “New Look” silhouette which was defined by a very narrow waist, and big, extravagant skirts. Longer skirts were appreciated, as well as the fitted ones. As long as it’s long, the public wanted it!
Rock n’ Roll and the Jive were hits in the 1950s. The enigmatic transformation of the decade was manifested by brightly patterned dresses and swirling fabric.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy has influenced everyone’s view on elegance. Women were smitten over pastel-colored suits with oversized buttons. Shifts, or simple geometric dresses, were also a fad while full-skirted ball gowns were worn in the evening.
The mini-skirt made its first appearance in 1964 as introduced byMary Quant. After that instance a radical evolution in fashion occurred. Hemlines were rising, higher and higher that the micro-mini was born by 1968. The time was almost a reminiscent glance of the 20’s in shape and lines; however the skirts are provocatively and scandalously shorter!
The hippie look slowly lost its magic as the economy improved in the mid-seventies. From the high revealing skirts, the length of it dropped to just below the knee, to midi, and then finally to maxi. The 70s was a mix of all decades but with more lace, ruffles, and cuffs. Off-the-shoulder necklines were also a hit as popularized by Yves St. Laurent. This became the prologue of the peasant look, with flowing, unstructured effects on cuts and structure. The 70s was also the year for the punks and the disco fever.
Who doesn’t know of SHOULDER PADS?! It is a part of what they called “Power Dressing.”This originated from a newly realized respect for women as they earned position in workplaces, sometimes bagging positions higher than the men’s! It was almost a combination of the 50’s and 40’s but, again, with the humongous shoulder pads.
Madonna also invited women from all over the world, and in all shapes and sizes, to defy norms by wearing lace gloves, tulle skirts, and crucifix jewelries.
The decade was a concoction of many things from knitwear, classic blazers, blue jeans, and even baggy jeans, to oriental clothing such as the cheongsam. The silhouette is all about freedom and flow. Fashion-era concluded the decade in two amazing sentences that said it all: “Short above knee straight skirts and stirrup ski pants masquerading as a refined version of leggings were worn with long chenille yarn sweater tunics, oversized shoulder padded shirts or big embellished T-shirts. The latter gradually reduced in size to become slimmer fitted and semi fitted garter stitch knits with fake fur collars, darted three-quarter shirts and screen printed t-tops minus the pads often worn with tie waist, easy loose trousers, jeans or boot leg trousers.” Too visual, right? The decade was a feast for the senses!
Where We Are Now.
This decade’s fashion silhouette is a recall of all the silhouettes through time. You can see the 60’s miniskirts being flaunted with a modern edge, as well as the maxi dresses, paired with “peasant” fashion accessories. Where we are now when it comes to silhouettes, is all about paying homage to our rich history. 2000 is a proof that we can make things better and that the future isn’t necessarily about inventions. The future promises us more and more changes but at the same time, a plenty of recognition of our past.
Life and fashion is indeed full of promises. We live life, we love life! Silhouettes create our basis of beauty and as they run a full-circle, we are filled with realizations that beauty is freedom and is indeed in the eye of the beholder, no matter what time and year. This makes me look forward to the next decade!!!