Fashion from the 1920s - 1930s
Narrated by Dr. Valerie Steele, Director & Chief Curator for the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Even before the First World War, the fashionable ideal of feminine beauty was changing, from the voluptuous Venus of the 1800s to a younger, slimmer figure, often likened to the virgin goddess Diana. By the 1920s, many women had abandoned boned corsets in favor of brasieres. The new look of fashion was straight up and down. Hemlines moved from the ankle up almost to the knee, and young women cut their hair short. Women’s sports, especially tennis and swimming, became increasingly popular and influenced the simple, clean lines of fashion. During the 1930s, hemlines dropped and women’s fashions became somewhat more feminine. Evening dresses showed the influences of both Paris and Hollywood. But throughout the 20s and 30s, women dominated fashion design in both Paris and New York. The most famous female designer was Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. After all, who better to dress the modern woman than another modern woman.