Wednesday, 10 September 2014

1930s: Style features and fabrics

Style Features and fabrics
Jean Harlow all platinum and shiny , costume by Adrian, "Dinner at Eight", 1933
Jean Harlow an original diva
Women drifted and floated through the 1930s in bias-cut dresses and flared skirts with layers of delicate chiffon, lace and lightweight voile. Narrow waists replaced the drop waistline of the 1920's and skirts reached mid-calf length. Tippets (little capes) accented the shoulders of blouses and dresses produced in lace or appliquéd with ribbons and ruffles. Layers were used to create movement in the figure, while belts produced in the same fabric accentuated the figure in dresses. Skin tight gowns were also introduced and semi-opaque fabrics with risqué glimpses of camisole or lace. Fur also added luxury to outfits of the time with capes, coats and wraps made from ermine fox and mink being worn day and night.

Gowns by Augustabernard (1933)  From "Harper's Bazaar"  By Charles Martin
Harpers Bazaar 1933
Science was constantly finding alternative ways of producing fabric which led to the first commercial production of rayon in the 1930s. Rayon was an artificial silk fabric which created the possibility of mass producing evening wear for retail purposes. Beading and embroidery was a key feature in evening wear allowing women to embody the Hollywood dream. The introduction of the zip fastening began to replace traditional button closings in many areas of fashion.

Daywear became more functional and less restrictive. Designers compensated for a potential loss of female form by creating a more hourglass silhouette. Necklines were lowered and waistlines were heightened on blouses in flamboyant floral and geometric patterns. Day suits produced in wool jersey gave woman a free flowing form. An increased interest in fitness created a strong market for sportswear and swimwear. The idea of a healthy mind being a healthy body encouraged women to invest in outdoor attire. Knitted bathing suits and beach wraps were essential pieces in a summer wardrobe. In keeping with the essence of female freedom Lingerie moved in favour of comfortable bras and girdles made from washable Lastex fabric replacing the rigidity of the corset.

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