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DEJA VU : How We Look at History…

1920's1920s – Soon after the First World War, a radical change came about in fashion. Bouffant coiffures gave way to short bobs, dresses with long trains gave way to above-the-knee pinafores. Corsets were abandoned and women borrowed their clothes from the male wardrobe and chose to dress like boys. Although, at first, many couturiers were reluctant to adopt the new androgynous style, they embraced them wholeheartedly from around 1925.

1930's1930s – Women’s fashions moved away from the brash, daring style of the 1920s towards a more romantic, feminine silhouette. The waistline was restored, hemlines dropped to nearly ankle-length, there was renewed appreciation of the bust, and backless evening gowns and soft, slim-fitting day dresses became popular. The female body was remodeled into a more neo-classical shape, and slim, toned, and athletic bodies came into vogue.In place of the bobbed flapper haircut, the standard women’s hairstyle of the 1930s was a modest, short perm.

1940's1940s – Many fashion houses closed during the occupation of Paris during World War II, including the Maison Vionnet and the Maison Chanel. Several designers, including Mainbocher, permanently relocated to New York. Due to difficult times, hemlines crept upward in both evening wear and day wear, the latter of which was made using substitute materials whenever possible.Humor and frivolity became a popstar way of defying the occupying powers and couture survived.

1950's1950s – Flying in the face of erudite sociological predictions, fashion in the 1950s used more from the previous decade. A whole society which, in the 1920s and 1930s, had greatly believed in progress, was now much more circumspect. Dresses were made of opulent materials, with corseted waists and swirling skirts to mid-calf. Haute couture experienced something of a revival and spawned a myriad of star designers who profited hugely from the rapid growth of the media.

1960's1960s – Until the 1960s, Paris was considered to be the center of fashion throughout the world. From the 1960s onward, there would never be just one single, prevailing trend or fashion but a great plethora of possibilities, indivisibly linked to all the various influences in other areas of people’s lives. Prosperity and the emergence of a distinct teenager culture, combined with the counterculture movement, would all have major effects on fashion.

1970's1970s – Nicknamed the ‘me’ decade; ‘please yourself’ was the catchphrase of the 1970s. The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look of the late 1960s. Jeans remained frayed and bell-bottomed, tie dye was still popular, and the fashion for unisex mushroomed. The influence of soul music created a nostalgia for African culture. A radical chic emerged. After 1975, fashions came to be dominated by the “disco look” which included feathered women’s haircuts and on men, the three-piece leisure suit. Bell-bottomed pants would remain popular through the entire decade.

1980's1980s – The society of the 1980s no longer criticized itself as consumerist, but was, instead, interested in ‘the spectacle’. The self-conscious image of the decade was very good for the fashion industry, which had never been quite so à la mode. Fashion shows were transfigured into media-saturated spectaculars and frequently televised, taking high priority in the social calendar. Appearance was related to performance, which was of supreme importance to a whole generation of young urban professionals.

1990's1990s – In the 1990s it was no longer appropriate follow fashion slavishly, a sharp contrast to the highly a la mode 1970s and 1980s. The phobia of being underdressed was finally completely displaced by the fear of overdressing. A new standard of minimalism and stark simplicity became vogue.Fashion tackled themes that fashion had not previously embraced. These themes included rape, violence, death, and body modification. There was a dramatic move away from the sexy styles aimed at the glamorous.

2000's2000s – As the future began to seem increasingly bleak, fashion, and indeed the Arts, looked to the past for inspiration, arguably more so than in previous decades. Vintage clothing, especially from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (the 1980s idea of clashing, electric colours becoming especially popular in mid-late 2007) became extremely popular and fashion designers often sought to emulate bygone styles in their collections. The early 2000s saw a continuation of the minimalist look of the 1990s in high fashion, adopted and incorporated into many designs.


2010s – We are just at the beginning of this decade and the trends are starting to unfold. There is a heavy retro influence as there was in the 1990s and the millennial decade. The fear of the apocalypse and an overall impending doom has given revival to the old notions of werewolves, vampires and zombies. The world is smaller with the power of the internet. We don’t know exactly what the future will hold but we do know that it will have strong roots in our past….





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