“Clothes as text, clothes as narration, clothes as a story. Clothes as the story of our lives. And if you were to gather all the clothes you have ever owned in all your life, each baby shoe and winter coat and wedding dress, you would have your autobiography.”
― Linda Grant, The Thoughtful Dresser
BEAUTY NEVER FADES
Vintage fashion from the 1930s is often characterized by its elegance, sophistication, and attention to detail. This era was influenced by the Art Deco movement, which emphasized streamlined, geometric designs and a love of luxury materials such as silk and velvet.
One of the most iconic looks of the period was the bias-cut dress. This style, which featured a diagonal cut that draped over the body, emphasized the natural curves of a woman's figure and created a fluid, flowing silhouette. Other popular dress styles included tea-length dresses with puffed sleeves, ruffled necklines, and intricate embroidery.
In terms of outerwear, the 1930s saw the rise of fur coats, often trimmed with bold, contrasting colors such as red or green. Another popular choice was the fitted wool coat, often belted at the waist to create a more structured look.
Accessories also played a significant role, with women often pairing their outfits with long, dangling earrings, Art Deco-inspired brooches, and colourful silk scarves. For footwear, high-heeled pumps and strappy sandals were the go-to choices, often adorned with intricate details such as bows or beading.
In terms of menswear, the 1930s saw a shift towards a more relaxed, comfortable style. Suits became less formal, with looser cuts and softer fabrics, and were often paired with colorful ties and patterned shirts. Tweed jackets and corduroy trousers were also popular choices, especially for more casual occasions.
The period surrounding the 1930s is characterized by its attention to detail and emphasis on luxury materials. From bias-cut dresses to fur-trimmed coats, this era produced some of the most iconic styles in fashion history, many of which continue to inspire designers to this day.
The 1930s was a decade of great creativity and innovation in fashion, and several designers emerged during this era who have since become legendary.
One of the most well-known designers of the 1930s was the inimitable Coco Chanel. She is credited with revolutionizing women's fashion by creating simple, elegant designs that allowed women to move freely and comfortably. Her signature style included the use of jersey fabric, which had previously been reserved for men's underwear, and the little black dress, which has become a timeless classic.
Elsa Schiaparelli was another prominent designer of the 30s. She was known for her whimsical and surrealist designs, which often incorporated unexpected elements such as lobster motifs, fur trim, and bold colours. Schiaparelli was also a pioneer in the use of zippers in clothing, which were still a novelty at the time.
Madeleine Vionnet was a French designer who was known for her innovative use of bias-cut fabric. Her designs were characterized by their flowing, elegant lines and delicate draping, which emphasized the natural curves of the body. Vionnet also experimented with asymmetrical designs and geometric shapes, creating a style that was both modern and timeless.
Finally, Jeanne Lanvin was a French designer who created some of the most exquisite and delicate designs of the era. She was known for her use of luxurious materials such as silk and velvet, and for her intricate embroidery and lacework. Lanvin also created a line of children's clothing, which was characterized by its simple, elegant style.
The 1930s produced some of the most influential and creative fashion designers of the 20th century. From Coco Chanel's timeless classics to Elsa Schiaparelli's surrealist designs, the styles of this era continue to inspire and influence.