They say history repeats itself. And the same is true for the revolving doors of trends and fashion that, although evolve, always harken back to a nostalgic time of distant memory. Such is true for many looks we love – the cloche, the chopine, and even Victorian boho hair that is represented numerous times throughout the generations.
Working in a fashion company whose sole purpose is to copy haughty trends and make them attainable by the masses (not to mention wearable), I have the opportunity to see first hand the inspirations that we draw from when patterning our favorite designers of then and now. Being ahead of trends often involves going backwards – to find the untapped resources that have yet to be copied and manipulated into what’s happening next.
But sometimes we need to really shake things up – and sometimes we need to completely dismantle a decade. Such was the case of the 1940’s which was cut in half by the throes of a world at war. The first half of one of the most interesting decades in fashion began with an end to excess. Gone were the luxuries of silks and accessories and bare bones necessity were it. In came the peasant skirts and man’s belted trench (which is a staple in my wardrobe). We saw an upsurge in (Gasp!) denim and cotton as well as a utilitarian style that has long since become a staple of many runways. Fashion houses were shutdown throughout Paris and in the U.S. women were ready to alter their man’s clothes (boyfriend jeans anyone?) and get to work.
Once that great war ended, we felt a need for a tonic for an ailing fashion world. And no one understood what it meant to be a dictator of femininity like Christian Dior. But even the great and powerful Dior was reinventing past trends. La Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Era) ruled the aught of the 20th century and reared it’s lovely head again. Excess fabrics, flowers and CORSETS were back(sometimes I wish they would make another come back – 18″ waists girls!) They were a welcome relief after years of military and civilian uniforms, sartorial restrictions and shortages. Dior offered not merely a new look but a new outlook helping to restore a beleaguered Paris as the capital of fashion.