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1920s vintage clothing

August 9, 2015

1920s vintage clothing is where you’ll start to see a much more relaxed kind of women’s clothing – clothes you’ll be dying to wear yourself, not crinolines and bustles that really look like they belong to fashion history.

1920s vintage clothing is also a major inspiration for fashion designers today, which is why it all still feels so fresh.

1920s vintage clothing – Chanel’s influence

One silhouette of a girl of fashion in the Twenties was slender and boyish, and dresses were shorter (knee to calf length) and looser – not nipped in at the waist. This is a look that the designer Coco Chanel loved, being that sort of body shape herself. She once said, aged about fifty (and I paraphrase): “From the neck down, you would take me for a 13 year-old girl”.

One of Chanel's early little black dress designs alongside the designer in her signature look.

One of Chanel’s early little black dress designs alongside the designer in her signature look.

 

Chanel also claimed to have invented the little black dress, and she certainly popularised it. Her first design for the iconic garment came in 1920.

Fashion was, at that time, pretty much about opulent colours and fabrics which she clearly considered garish. “Those reds, those greens, those electric blues made me feel ill. These colours are impossible. These women, I’m bloody well going to dress them in black … I imposed black; it’s still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around,” she announced, remembering.

1920s vintage clothing – Films

1920s vintage clothing-1920s Movie star in black.

1920s vintage clothing-1920s Movie star in black.

 

In fact, the arrival of black was down to more than one factor. Things rarely happen under just one influence – inventors often seem to arrive at the same invention at just the same time, whilst working secretly and alone, and scientific discoveries made by different researchers in parallel. But in the case of fashion, the mood of the time is rarely secret, and Chanel was not such a dominating force in fashion in 1920 – she was right at the beginning of her powerful career.

However, what was new and exciting at the time was film. Film stars often wore black dresses on screen as they showed up clearly and crisply, and the colour, previously reserved for mourning, began to seem glamorous.

1920s vintage clothing – Vionnet’s designs

Vionnet gowns.

Vionnet gowns.

 

Vionnet was also a hugely in demand designer in the 1920s, who also abandoned opulent colour and trim to create simple clothes. Well, they appeared simple, in white or pastels and made of yards of heavy silk satin, draped around the body, but in practice were fiendishly complicated in cut.

In fact, some clients of Vionnet found themselves staring in bewilderment at a gown at home, wondering how on earth to get it on. But once they did, they found themselves resembling a Greek Goddess, as many of Vionnet’s inspirations came from Ancient Greek statues and friezes. These gowns did not require a boyish figure, but sensually highlighted a woman’s curves.

1920s vintage clothing – accessories

Beautiful 1920s Mary Janes.

Beautiful 1920s Mary Janes.

 

Cloche hats, feathered headbands, Mary Jane shoes and long strings of pearls finish off your womens 1920s vintage clothing look perfectly. Makeup is strong, with a red lip and smoky eye, and a bob or faux bob – perhaps with finger waves – fits the bill exquisitely.

 

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