Timeline: Modern Fashion
Part I: 1858–1920
- In her magazine, the Lily, American feminist Amelia Bloomer promotes the comfort of "bloomers," a simple flaring skirt over Turkish-style trousers.
- Englishman Charles Worth establishes first haute couture fashion house in Paris
- Paul Poiret establishes fashion house; creates harem pants; first couturier to launch perfume, “Rosina”
- Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel opens boutique in Deauville, France; revolutionizes and democratizes women's fashion with tailored suits, chain-belted jerseys, quilted handbags; the most copied fashion designer in history
- World War I prompts women to work in factories, offices; women wear pants; military cut influences clothes
- Circa 1920
- Women participate in sports, prompting new styles, including the “flapper”
- Early 20s
- Madeleine Vionnet creates flowing, feminine clothes, including the chiffon handkerchief dress; creates cowl neck, halter top; sets trends in 1930s
- Mid 20s
- Popularity of rayon causes decline in use of cotton
- Knee-length hemlines mark new high
- Late 20s
- Elsa Schiaparelli opens Paris boutique; pioneers use of zippers, shoulder pads, unusual buttons; favors bright colors, including “shocking pink”
Part II: 1930–1968
- Hemlines drop; then gradually rise
- Alix “Madame” Grès becomes famous for elegant draped dresses
- World War II forces many Paris couture houses to close
- Christian Dior reestablishes Paris as fashion center; revives haute couture; replaces wartime austerity with the glamour of the “New Look” with tight waist, stiff petticoats, billowing skirts
- Shoes have pointed toes, stiletto heels
- Cristóbal Balenciaga introduces “semi-fit” dresses with soft, round shoulders; is the classic designer of the 1950s
- Early 1960s
- Pierre Cardin becomes first designer to license his name for various products; is first to create ready-to-wear lines
- London boutique owner Mary Quant champions the youth movement; introduces mini-skirt, hot pants; launches Twiggy as supermodel; becomes 1960s most influential 1960s designer
- Yves St. Laurent opens fashion house; often uses ethnic inspirations; remains most classic modern designer, heir to Chanel, Balenciaga
- Mid 1960s
- Influenced by rock music, “Mod” scene makes London major fashion center with fun, revolutionary clothes: bell bottoms, psychedelic prints, wild colors, dresses made of vinyl, paper, cellophane, metal, covered in mirrors; go-go boots; ruffled shirts for men; Nehru jackets; fur vests
- Rudi Gernreich creates “radical” fashion—topless swimsuit, see-through blouse, “no bra” look
- Calvin Klein begins producing elegant, simple clothes, favoring neural earth tones and luxurious fabrics
- Ralph Lauren creates men's wear line; expands into women's wear; favors natural fabrics; designs feature western or country motifs
Part III: 1970–1990
- Known as Halston, Roy Halston Frowick dominates 1970s with pantsuits, sweater sets, form-fitting dresses, knit wear
- Giorgio Armani creates men's wear line; popularizes Italian tailoring
- Claude Montana founds couture house; specializes in leather
- Early 1980s
- Japanese “school” of designers, including Issey Miyake, Kenzo, Rei Kawakubo, Hanae Mori, enjoy major couture success
- The Malden Mills company invents Polarfleece. The soft, quick-drying fabric, made partly from recycled plastic, makes bundling up cozier than ever.
- Donna Karan launches line of versatile, casual knits; favors black
- Through music videos, Cyndi Lauper shows the world her wacky, colorful look-part vintage, part punk-and helps make thrift shopping the new frontier of chic.
- “Anything goes” emerges as fashion credo
- The Council of Fashion Designers of America begins Fashion Week in New York City. Fashion Week is a biannual event for designers to show off their latest fashion collections.
- Late 1990s
- Alexander McQueen emerges as daring new designer; features cozy, romantic designs, dresses looking like quilt blankets, rabbit-skin dresses; favors highly theatrical fashion shows, models parade in rings of fire, get doused with paint or water, skate on real ice
- Stella McCartney, at Cloé fashion house gains following with daring new designs
- Project Runway, the Peabody award winning and Emmy-nominated show premiers on Bravo. Fashion model Heidi Klum hosts this fashion-competition reality series.
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