An overview of fashion design history


Manner is a heating issue in day-to-day life, which is near to about every facet of society. As the enlargement of globalization, manner companies are seeking to more chances in international market by set uping subordinates all over the universe. Harmonizing to Helen ( 1965 ) , manner design is utilizing dedicated art in vesture and accoutrements to set up a alone manner. In today ‘s manner field, Italy is considered in the prima topographic point for its elegant and dedicated manner. However, France and Japan are besides produce first-class interior decorators who have gained international repute in manner design and set up celebrated trade names.

The history of manner design could be dated back to 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth to run up label into the garments, and merely vesture created after 1858 could be considered as manner design1. During that historical period, most manner interior decorators are freelance in a family-based vesture store and supply design service to single client, which are rather different from today ‘s forte shops or high-fashion section shops. During the whole twentieth century, manner design had bit by bit been developed consistently and has become an of import industry in society. It is hence utile for analysing the manner history of 20th as a usher for the new century ‘s development. This essay will pick up specific decennary between 1940 and 1950 as the research mark.

Background information of twentieth century manner design

The development of manner design in twentieth century has experienced a alone procedure. The first decennary of the century was a period to prosecute new component into the design ( Baudot, 1999 ) . The outgrowth of new female coevals and solid tendency in humanistic disciplines had stimulated manner design to unite new elements. The Europe tendency was still focused on elegance and grace, while U.S tendency was developed to natural manner, provided a measure from the dedicated manner of 19th century. Between1910-1919, there was a great alteration in manner design influence by Deco humanistic disciplines. The distinguishable character of Deco humanistic disciplines was the usage of heterosexual and folded line. It brought a boylike manner in the manner design to follow a conciseness manner and add some eastern elements. During following decennary, the manner design added girlish manner to the apparels and go on to maintain the young person elements in the design. Chanel ‘s manner created by combination of coat, skirt and frock privailed and expanded until presents. Another feature is the attending on athletics apparels design. There is besides manner design tendency in China with the amend of traditional cheong-sam. 1930-1939 was an of import decennary for the manner design. In reaction to the economic crisis, the patch-up skirts which represented economy appeared. Then a long skirt lap prevailed until the Second World War. The broken of war stimulated a tendency of nostalgic new Victorian manner. Another of import part of this decennary is the constitution of modern manner design standards, uniting the elements of elegance, beauty and gustatory sensation to stress the corresponding of apparels and fortunes. The following decennary, besides the mark period in the research, is 1940-1949. The epicurean manner during the war clip was restricted by jurisprudence and moral codifications. Practicality had become a standard for manner design. The pursue of map made the adult females apparels be input more male elements by the prevail of ground forces apparels and frocks. The war clip besides provided America with the opportunity of developing its ain manner design alternatively of wholly trusting on Europe.

Purposes of the research

Presents, manner interior decorators create their original work to show their alone gustatory sensation and manner. However, they besides produce plants to follow the bing manner tendencies. They are hired by mass market makers to make apparels for work forces, adult females and kids. The most successful interior decorator trade names today are those trade names with long history, such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. It took them old ages to set up and develop their places as manner icons. In respect to the historical context, 1900-1950 is a really of import revolution in manner history, industries started more originative on the design of their apparels. Fashion design corporations have to bring forth their ain trade name with high quality and repute to last and vie in the promising market. To specify and understand what constitutes manner design and how manner design has emerged in today ‘s clip as topographic point the manner design in certain imperative clip periods is of import manner to understand manner industry. The purpose of this research is to present manner design in the decennaries of 1940-1950 to research the relationship between manner design and a series of factors, such as humanistic disciplines, wellness & A ; beauty, scientific discipline & A ; engineering, and so on.

Fashion Design and Its Related Factors

Humanistic disciplines

Before twentieth century, manner design is merely a inactive contemplation of humanistic disciplines. When came to twentieth century, particularly the decennary between 1940 and 1950, manner interior decorators were willing to cooperative with humanistic disciplines. They combined their design with major humanistic disciplines genre. Schiaparell ‘s desk apparels and laniate apparels are representation of super-realism ( Buxhaum, 1999 ) . During this period, the popular music tendency was bop and large set. In the dance country, swing, swing and fox-trot was in the warming place. All the tendencies in humanistic disciplines have influenced manner design deeply. All this new thoughts brought manner market into a new coevals. At this clip, endeavor were usually operation by interior decorators them or household concern.

Politicss and current events

The most influential event during this period is the Second World War. War as an of import factor to alter the history of human being, every bit good as the development of manner design. During the decennary after the Second World War, manner design had a great transmutation. Women ‘s manner of the beginning of the decennary was masculine, and by the terminal of the decade2 it changed to highly feminine. During the war clip, the manner design manner was changed from elegance, dedicated to conciseness, while it was emphasized on feminine once more after the war. Furthermore, the pursue of practical map during the war clip enabled the manner interior decorator to add more male elements in planing female apparels, some even used male mode into adult females design ( Marsha, 1993 ) . The strictly limitation on dressing was besides carried out in several states, for illustration, there was a point system in Britain to curtail the dressing manner of adult females, set out a series of regulations to take adult females ‘s dressing manner ( Janet, 1977 ) . This sort of limitation non merely set on female dressing, but besides guided male ‘s manner of dressing. Male ‘s unvarying manner was most affected portion such as public-service corporation suit of Britain and victory suit of America ( Boucher, 1987 ) . The whole decennary was dominated by the wartime practical map and the after-war feminine manner.

Health & A ; athletics

After 1945 a series of radical alterations took topographic point in athleticss clothe. First, slipover frocks, underwear and gym tops frequently used new scope of man-made fibers which suited in the early yearss of production to knitted cloths. During the 1950ss, some earlier innovations and new usage of man-made fibers peculiarly nylon combined with practical techniques developed in military vesture were introduced into civilian production. For illustration, goons that were concealed in cervix neckbands ; pockets in jacket foreparts which were designed to hive away snack nutrients ; baseball mitts with nothing pockets for ski base on ballss ; elastic inserts in the sides of ski bloomerss and stirrup straps underfoot made for pull on, draw off apparels. These characteristics are expected by us automatically today. In add-on, nylon running trunkss and cotton vests3 were adopted by jocks. Zip up parkas and parkas were taken onto the sports and athleticss field, though pant undersides frequently appeared to be uneven, they helped to maintain off the iciness. Stretch garments became rather popular by the mid 1960ss ; and one attractive advantage was the comfort factor of being able to travel with a garment.

Hair & A ; beauty

In this decennary the most popular hair manners is braids curled and rolled longer. The film stars of that clip such as Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall gave the best presentation of the long curling manners. Though seting your hair up into compact elegant up-dos was the standard manner for nuptialss and proms, this sort of occasions became rarer and rarer.

World War II to a great extent influenced the beauty industry in this decennary. The manner, cosmetics used and beauty criterions were affected by the temper of sad and depression. As Ingrid Bergman showed in the 1942 film Casablanca, a typical beauty manner should seek to show serious, glamourous in a really subdued, sophisticated way4. A wholesome expression was much more acceptable than showy. The temper for surplus and flamboyancy was considered as inadequate, both because the effects of the Depression still were act uponing people ‘s life, and because a batch of American immature work forces were directing to European battlegrounds to contend and decease.


The manner icon in this period was Rita Hayworth. The Great American Love Goddess was born in Brooklyn, New York. She represented the most stylish manner of 1940s in the films of “ The Strawberry Blonde ” ( 1941 ) , and “ Blood and Sand ” ( 1941 ) . The musicals “ You`ll Never Get Rich ” ( 1941 ) and “ You Were Never Lovelier ” ( 1942 ) , both with Fred Astaire, “ My Gal Sal ” ( 1942 ) , with Victor Mature, and “ Cover Girl ” ( 1944 ) , with Gene Kelly, made her a musical star and a favorite pinup miss of American military mans during WWII ( Stach, 1987 ) .

Science & A ; engineering

The development of scientific discipline and engineering enable manner design develops from hand-made household workshop to the machinery production. The importance of client design began to be recognised. As the betterment of industry engineering, the off-the-rack apparels were considered to be the major issue during this period. The scientific discipline of human organic structure stimulates the constitution of comprehensive size system for apparels. The engineering besides made the fabrication of apparels divided into three classs: Haute Couture apparels, senior off-the-rack apparels and ordinary off-the-rack apparels. Meanwhile, the enlargement of stuffs scope provided sufficient footing for interior decorators to show their alone manner in their chef-d’oeuvres. Although the conflict broke out over the universe, new merchandises came out at the same clip. Nylonss were sold to the populace in 1940 when the conflict of Britain started. In the following twelvemonth, Nipponese attacked Pearl Harbour, and the landrover was invented in the same twelvemonth. In 1942, when the conflict of Midway and the conflict of Stalingrad broke out, T-shirt was introduced to the populace.

Furthermore, the promotion of societal scientific discipline besides played great function in the manner design within the period. Peoples established positive attitudes towards beauty every bit good as manner design and were tolerance on prevailed tendencies, which enabled some subculture tendency become popular in the mainstream of the society.


1940-1950 was an of import period in manner design due to the influence of World War II. Affected by the war, many manner corporations closed such as Maision Vionnet and Maison Chanel, while others relocated in New York ( Turner, 1958 ) . Paris ‘s prima topographic point was still continued although Germany was taking half of Gallic fabrication and was sing relocate the original Gallic haute couture to Berlin. The religion of manner design was established and developed rapidly ( Peacock, 1998 ) . Its enomous alteration was driven by several factors include humanistic disciplines, political events, hair & A ; beauty, scientific discipline & A ; engineering, etc. Conduct research on this specific decennary is non merely dating back to the history, it is besides provides sufficient information for the development of manner design in the new century.



  • Baudot, F. ( 1999 ) A Century of Fashion. London: Thames & A ; Hudson Ltd.
  • Boucher, F. ( 1987 ) A History of Costume in West, London: Thames & A ; Hudson Ltd.
  • Buxhaum, G. ( 1999 ) Icons of Fashion, the twentieth century. New york: Verleg.
  • Helen, B. ( 1965 ) . The Theory of Fashion Design, New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  • Janet, A. ( 1977 ) . Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomans ‘s Dresss and Their Construction c. 1860-1940, Wace 1966, Macmillan 1972. Revised metric edition, Drama Books.
  • James, L. ( 1979 ) . The Concise History of Costume and Fashion, Abrams.
  • Marsha, H. ( 1993 ) . The Way We Wore: Manners of the 1930s and 40s and Our World Since Then, Fallbrook Pub. Ltd.
  • Peacock, J. ( 1998 ) Fashion Sourcebooks, the 1940s. London: Thames & A ; Hudson Ltd.
  • Stach, L. ( 1987 ) . Hollywood and Seventh Avenue: The Impact of Historical Films on Fashion, in Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film, Los Angeles County
  • Turner, W. ( 1958 ) . The Mode in Fashion, 1942 ; 2nd expanded edition New York: Scribners.

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