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Module 1: History of Fashion Design

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We covered some of the most significant trends of the 19th century, along with what influenced the trends. Although these fashions occurred centuries ago, many of them are still around today in one form or another, so it is important to learn and understand their origin.
Now, we will move on to fashion from the 20th century, which you are most likely much more familiar with.
As you make your way through the history of fashion in the 20th century, you might notice where these trends are repeated as inspiration today.
The 1900s
As we transition from the 19th to the 20th century, you will find that fashion trends are influenced more by social movements, politics, and war.
 The beginning of the 20th century was often referred to as the ‘plume boom’, because real feathers became increasingly popular. In fact, they were so popular in clothing that it caused a massive decline in the bird population during that time.
In addition to heavily adorned feathered hats and apparel, the early 1900s is known for the Edwardian corset, which was designed to accentuate a woman’s breasts and hips, while dramatically cinching the waist.
As for men’s fashion in the early 1900s, it was common to see men wearing different coats during different times of the day, which varied between overcoats, and knee-length top coats.
The Roaring ‘20s
The 1920s was a significant time in history defined by a free-spirited culture that often rejected the traditional standards of dress. 
This era, often referred to as the ‘Roaring Twenties’, led to styles that are still used today in theatre, costume, and fashion design.
Fashion during this time was about comfort and stretching the boundaries of style.
You might already recognise the Roaring Twenties for the popular woman’s ‘flapper dress’, and art deco designs, which women traded for the corsets and tight dresses.
It even became acceptable for women to wear trousers during this era. Men during this time wore wider pants and abandoned their formal daily wear.
1930s
Towards the end of the roaring ‘20s, Wall Street crashed, and the Great Depression began, which had a profound influence on fashion. Suddenly, fashion was not as expressive as the decade before, and women returned to a more feminine and conservative appearance.
Although the Great Depression caused many people to fall on hard times, there were a few new things introduced.
 For starters, women skirts became longer, and dresses were bias-cut to emphasise women’s curves. This decade also introduced bra cup sizing and nylon fabrics as a replacement for silk.
Men’s suits during this time were changed to create larger torsos, padded shoulders, and tapered sleeves. Trench coats with wide lapels and belted waists were also introduced.
1940s
As we move into the 1940s, fashion was made to be affordable and durable, and not fashionable. Most of the clothing from this era was patterned after civilian uniforms and utility outfits.
During the ‘40s, women often repurposed bed sheets, old clothing, and other scraps to ensure their clothing did not seem repetitive.
There is one design that came out in this era that became especially popular for women and remains so today. 
Throughout the previous decades, the only bathing suit option for women was a one piece, until 1940 when the two-piece, high-waisted suit was introduced.
As for the men, the 1940s were an exciting time for fashion, which up until this era had been rather dull. 
Following World War II, a high-waisted, tight-cuffed, wide-legged men’s suit, known as the Zoot suit, became popular. These suits are still seen today, and you might even be familiar with the style yourself.
1950s
Fashion in the ‘50s saw a post-war re-emergence of haute couture with designers like Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga rebelling against the restrictive styles of the past.
 Also, the glamourous ‘50s housewife and a new rock ‘n’ roll music scene was born, both of which had a profound influence on fashion design.
During this era, the ready-to-wear mass market took off, with Marks and Spencer leading the market in making everyday fashion.
For women, several looks became popular. One look, inspired by Audrey Hepburn, included Capri pants, knitted jumpers, and ballet flats. The ‘50s also introduced the wildly popular poodle skirt, trapeze style dress, and large over-sized accessories.
Menswear in this decade was largely influenced by musicians and icons, which introduced the popular ‘Rat Pack’ style of suits and hats that became popular for men over the age of 30. Other looks inspired during this era include country style cardigans, wool jackets with loud ties, and single breasted jackets with velvet or satin lapels.
1960s/1970s
As we move on to the loud and flamboyant looks of the ‘60s, you may recognise some of the styles used as inspiration in today’s hottest designs. Fashion in the ‘60s was inspired by the social movements of the decades and from a few popular icons of the time. Some of these icons included the Beatles, Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, and Jackie Kennedy.
So, what did people wear in the ‘60s? 
This decade began with perfectly polished and tailored suits, which were inspired by Jackie Kennedy. However, towards the middle of the era, supermodel Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot had women taking fashion to an entirely different extreme. Under their influence, a more playful style baby doll look took over.
This included shapeless mini dresses, Mary Jane strap shoes, oversize bows, collars, polka dots, bright colours, and pop art movements. Also, a trendy earth tone hippie movement took over during this decade. Men were just as drastic, loud, and colourful as the women, but they did incorporate tighter pants, and a Beatles inspired pea coat.
As we move away from the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, you see a lot less of the hippie clothing and more disco fashion styles. 
This era inspired disco style fashion, which included platform shoes, bell bottom pants, and thigh-high boots. 
The ‘70s also inspired independent designers to open unique London boutiques, which featured innovative styles for the younger generation.
1980s/1990s
Almost everyone recognises ‘80s style clothing in one form or another, and although the style is famous for being tacky, it is making its way back into today’s fashion. The style of dress during this era was just plain bad, so much so it is still talked about to this day.
The fashion during this decade was big, loud, and colourful.
Pop music icons like Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson were ushering in unique styles that had people everywhere sporting large accessories, huge hair, and neon colours. Women during this time wore hoop earrings, stirrup pants, parachute pants, and very high waistlines.
Unfortunately, men didn’t dress much better with their acid wash jeans, turtle necks, graphic tees, and tracksuits. 
As we moved into the ‘90s, the trends calmed down a little bit, but fashion was still loud and tacky. This era introduced the slip dress, longer skirts, more alternative suits, and softer shapes.
2000
The year 2000 was known for the millennium bug, and many people associate it with a massive rise in technology.
It is at this point when technology advanced, so let’s look and see if fashion design evolved with it.
This year in fashion is often referred to as the ‘Global Mashup’, because trends of previous years past, combined with musical and cultural influences all combined to form one style. 
However, the most profound influence of this year was technology, which led designers to create mesh tops, box pleated skirts, handkerchief tops, sequenced shirts, and leather skirts.
Now that we have reviewed fashion throughout the course of history, it is important to look at some of the designers who had a profound influence on making these styles happen.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
The name ‘Chanel’, is known worldwide and is associated with glamour, but what many people don’t know is the history behind the name. 
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel is the name behind the famous 1920s flapper dress, which she originally called ‘garconne’.
Jean Patou
Another famous designer from the ‘20s who had a significant influence on fashion is Jean Patou who invented the designer tie, along with matching, gloves, scarves, and hats.
Christian Dior
You probably recognise the name Christian Dior, which is still around today and recognised as a high-end, luxurious fashion designer. 
However, Dior began humbly in 1946 as a small fashion house named ‘Corrole’. 
Dior went on to inspire 1950s fashion by creating the pencil and A-line skirts.
Hubert de Givenchy
Women everywhere will appreciate this next designer who is behind the perfect little black dress, which today is referred to as an ‘LBD’. 
His creation was made in the ‘50s and inspired by Audrey Hepburn who wore it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Oscar De La Renta
Powerhouse designer Oscar De La Renta has over five decades of fashion experience creating ready-to-wear clothing. 
This designer was very popular in the ‘60s and was well known for his evening gowns and suits.