Fashion from the 1880s-1900s
Narrated by Dr. Valerie Steele, Director & Chief Curator for the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
American fashion at the turn of the century was still defined by designers based in Paris such as Charles Frederick Worth. But New York City was definitely the capital of American fashion, and elite New Yorkers were trendsetters for women in other cities. Not only were they among the first to wear Parisian haute couture, they also had access to the fashion forward styles of New York, where women were much faster to adopt practical tailor-made suits than their Parisian counterparts. Women at the time still relied on corsets to create the voluptuous curves that were the physical ideal of beauty, but the growing popularity of sports like bicycling helped introduce more comfortable boneless corsets.