Monday, August 27, 2012

Into fashion history: the 1910's and Lucile!

In my opinion, fashion can tell so much about a civilization, generation, or era, just as an outfit can tell so much about a person.
That's why I love fashion history. Not only can it be kind of funny - they wore what at that time? - but also enlightening, especially as it concerns women's status.
Women laced up in corsets? Society was probably a little repressive.
Women starting to wear jeans and trousers? Women are becoming better able to actually move around in their clothes, making them more active participants in society! It also means that they're starting to push against societal boundaries, aka the "women wear dresses" ideal that lasted for so many centuries.
Women wearing simple, utilitarian clothes with shorter hems? Hey, it might be World War II where women replaced the men in factories, therefore needing clothes they could work in, not fancy materials, and the hemlines were a little shorter because they needed to ration materials!

All to say, I find fashion history so interesting. In this post, we're going to talk about...
The 1910's and Lucile! 
(And the Titanic era, because who can ignore Titanic when talking about the 1910's?)

A little blog background: do you guys remember when I wrote a review about The Time-Travelling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky? Well, the vintage dress Louise is transported back to 1912 in is by none other than Lucile!

                                                                                   Source: via Laura on Pinterest

The reason I wanted to feature Lucile for my first fashion history series, particularly this week? Well, I know many people are preparing for fashion week, and guess who we partly have to thank for that? Lucile! She was credited with being the first designer to showcase her designs on a runway, and the first to show her designs on models and photograph them! I guess we also have Lucile to thank for  fashion blogging?
(I'll post a clip of a Lucile runway show at the end, it's so cool!) 

A little background on Lucile:

                                                                 Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Designed by Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, Lucile clothing was very popular from the turn of the 20th century until the 1920s. Lucy herself had a pretty controversial life - she was on one of the few Titanic lifeboats that managed to escape, and there was a huge scandal over rumours going around saying that her and her husband bribed the crew to let them on. Also, according to Vogue, she went on to design outfits for the Ziegfeld Follies!

Most notably, though, Lucile made fabulous evening dresses.
Check out this flapper dress!

Other super fabulous evening dresses from the first 2 decades of the 20th century:

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Edwardian fashion is very interesting because it was very much a transitional time for fashion. Some dresses, especially ones from the first decade of the 20th century, look very much like Victorian fashion (which officially lasted until 1901, at the passing of Queen Victoria.) This means that corsets were still popular, and dresses that had bigger skirts were still popular. However, looser sports clothes were becoming more common, and more column-style dresses were starting to become more common. These column dresses would lead to the looseness of the flapper dress in the 20s. The early 20th century was very much rooted in the Victorian Age but also looking forward to the excitement of the 20s, making it an "in-between" fashion era.

Lucile was also greatly inspired by the exotic, especially the orient:

And check out those pajamas? I don't know about you, but I'd LOVE to sleep in those!

And I don't know whether this source is right or not, but imagine if it is: how cool is the idea of a fashion designer being a suffragette?! Apparently, the reason this dress is green, white, and violet, is that the three colours stand for Give Women the Vote! (Seriously, how cool is that? Thanks for the tidbit, Ye Old Fashion!)

Here's the video I was talking about. It shows a part of the evolution of women's dress over 15 years, and I think the first part of it - the 1914 fashions - are all screenings of Lucile shows! Cool, no?


Sooooo, what did you think? Interesting? Visually appealing? Was the fun fact about fashion shows being credited to Lucile your favourite part? How about the rumour that the green, white, and violet dress stood for giving women the vote? I think that may have been my favourite part since elections are happening on my side of the pond, and I'm always grateful for the ability to vote even if most of the candidates are kind of, well, bleh.

What I want to know, though, is what you guys thought of the fashion history aspect of this post. I enjoyed writing it so much! If you'd like more of it, maybe fill out the poll about what era you'd like to learn about next?
Or, leave me a comment answering the poll or saying which designer history you're interested in!

Let me know what you think! I've never made a poll before, eek! (You can also fill out the almost identical one on the main page of the blog, whatever you prefer!)


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