Evolution of fur in fashion Part 1

Although fur has been condemned by much of society over the years, the trend is back as it appeared on fall runways from designers like Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, J. Mendall and DKNY among others.

Fur fashion could be seen on nearly every runway this year. Photo courtesy of Desihigh Style.

Fur fashion could be seen on nearly every runway this year.
Photo courtesy of Desihigh Style.

The history behind fur in clothing goes back a very long way and some of it is quite surprising.

As there is so much behind it, my post on the evolution of fur in fashion is a two-parter.

It is pretty apparent that fur was likely one of the first makings for clothing as a means to keep warm.

In early societies, hunters believed by wearing the fur of the animal, they were transferring the strength and power of the being into themselves.

Fur became fashionable in the middle ages when clothing lined with it showed the wearer’s social status.

Fur was reserved for the rich and noblemen and eventually laws were made to prevent lower classes from wearing it.

This purple robe with ermine trim was popular in the late Middle Ages. Photo courtesy of Rose Almaras, Pinterest Chapter 6: The Late Middle Ages

This purple robe with ermine trim was popular in the late Middle Ages.
Photo courtesy of Rose Almaras, Pinterest Chapter 6: The Late Middle Ages

In Germany a law stated, sable and ermine were reserved for the noble, while France ordered a royal ordinance that no one in the middle class could wear ermine or vair.

Popular furs for people to wear during the time included ermine, sable and squirrel fur.

During the late 1800s, the Tsar of Russia was invited to visit France, the capital of the Western fashion world, and soon people from across Europe began adopting the fashions of Russia – particularly with wearing fur.

Children in the 1860s don  fur hats and muffs. Photo courtesy of Erin Beachy, "1800s", Pinterest.

Children in the 1860s don fur hats and muffs.
Photo courtesy of Erin Beachy, “1800s”, Pinterest.

Coats and dresses were trimmed with fur collars and cuffs and men began wear ankle-length coats made of beaver and buffalo. While women wore coats made of sable and Hudson Bay seal skin.

The seal coat was the first coat with the fur worn on the outside.

Wearing fur on the outside became a trend by 1840 and grew in popularity. However, even then people protested on the cruelty of wearing it.

My next post will be dedicated to the following century of change in the fur industry.

What’s your take on wearing fur?

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Dior’s New Look

The main reason I became interested in fashion and its history is because there is so much more to it than most people understand.
There are reasons behind every design and each reflects the society at the time. It has affects on the public in ways many would not expect.
Today I’ve decided to take a look at my favourite collection, The New Look and the controversies it stirred during the 1940s.
The collection took the world by storm as Christian Dior revolutionized women’s fashion.

When Dior began a fashion house with Marcel Boussac in December 1946, they created voluptious designs, bringing back the S shape silhouette with longer skirts and cinched-in waists.

Dior created the "new look" in 1947, which meant longer skirts and cinched-in waists. Photo courtesy of the Dreamstress http://thedreamstress.com

Dior created the “new look” in 1947, which meant longer skirts and cinched-in waists.
Photo courtesy of the Dreamstress http://thedreamstress.com

Originally the look was known as “Corolle” meaning circlet of flower petals in French.
It was coined the “New Look” by editor-in-chief of Harper Bazaar.
“I have designed flower women,” said Dior on his collection.
Although the designs were highly controversial at the time, it put Paris back on the map as a fashion capital. New York and London had recently rivalled for the top spot, making their own claim for fame in the fashion world during the war.

Dior's New Look meant fuller skirts, particularly for evening wear. Photo courtesy of Diorable Style.

Dior’s New Look meant fuller skirts, particularly for evening wear. Photo courtesy of Diorable Style.

Dior’s designs replaced padded shoulders, boxy lines, and short skirt of the war time with softer, fuller and more feminine silhouettes.
Because clothing during the war were not allowed to exceed a particular length due to a conservation of material, women were use to wearing short straight-cut outfits while taking over men’s work as they went off to war. Clothes had to be practical.

Fashion during the second World War meant straight cut, almost uniform-style dresses. Courtesy of Sydney Barnett Pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/sydmb/ch16-the-20s-30s-and-world-war-ii/

Fashion during the second World War meant straight cut, almost uniform-style dresses. Courtesy of Sydney Barnett Pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/sydmb/ch16-the-20s-30s-and-world-war-ii/

When Dior’s designs came to the spotlight, it created a backlash among people across the globe.
A woman named Louise Horn from Georgia, found her new skirt caught in an automatic bus door and was dragged for a block before the bus stopped. She then enlisted more than 1,200 women to sign an anti-Dior petition which led to the protest group Little Below the Knees Club.
In an interview with Newsweek, one protester said, “Long skirts are dangerous. With today’s speed, you can’t even catch a street car in a long skirt. And how can you drive an auto?”

Protest groups multiplied due to Dior's new fashion who felt the look was impractical.  Photo courtesy of CassieStephens.blogspot.ca

Protest groups multiplied due to Dior’s new fashion who felt the look was impractical.
Photo courtesy of CassieStephens.blogspot.ca

Men also led a group of their own called, The League of Broke Husbands, who protested the exorbitant bills their wives would leave them following the new fashion, due to the decadent amount of material needed.

Celebrities protested as well including designer Coco Chanel and model, Bobbie Woodward who said, “whoever dreamed up this fall’s gruesome styles have been reading too many historical novels.”

However, the fashion was eventually accepted by the general public and similar looks were inspired by Dior’s designs in the 1950’s.

Wartime fashion

I plan on posting an article soon on how Christian Dior revolutionized fashion in the 1940’s and while doing my research, I stumbled upon an article written during that time on the fashion. I thought it was worth adding just to give some context what fashion meant during the second world war when there was a fabric shortage.
wartime silhouette

Classic styles featuring Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn

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I haven’t seen as many classic films as I would like to say I have, but recently I had a mini-marathon of movies, that included Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Marilyn Monroe film, How to Marry a Millionaire. It was my first time watching either movies and as shocking as this may sound to some, I was not a fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at all. I found Audrey Hepburn’s character dull, stubborn and selfish. 

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On the other hand, I found How to Marry a Millionaire thoroughly entertaining the whole way through. The clothes were absolutely exquisite and contrasted completely with the next outfit. Full of both conservative and sexy outfits, bright colours and flouncy skirts, there was always something to admire of each character’s attire. Whereas Holly’s outfits of Breakfast at Tiffany’s consisted of little more than a black dress with gleaming jewelry.

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For those of you who haven’t seen How to Marry a Millionaire, I highly suggest you do. This post is more of an ode to another Monroe classic. For me, she will always be the most glamorous of ladies.

 

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Who do you prefer – Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe?

Vintage-inspired trends this summer

In just a couple of weeks, it will be officially summer. However with this weather we have been having in Vancouver lately, it feels as if it’s already been here for awhile. We have already broken out all our favourite summer dresses and shorts along with our wallets to get some of the latest summer trends.

After browsing too many stores longingly, a few vintage-inspired looks have caught my eye. Here are a few that I noticed:

Wide-legged trousers

Although these are more of a spring look, I happen to have seen them everywhere on runways and in magazines. These pants first hit popularity with help from Charlie’s Angels, but have now managed to sneak their way back into our wardrobes. I love the look, however for someone of my height (5″2), I wouldn’t recommend them for myself or others of the same stature.

These trousers can be found at Devil May Wear on Main st for $145. Photo courtesy of Devil May Wear http://www.devil-may-wear.ca/rucca-linen-wide-leg-pants/dp/3095

These trousers can be found at Devil May Wear on Main st for $145. Photo courtesy of Devil May Wear http://www.devil-may-wear.ca/rucca-linen-wide-leg-pants/dp/3095

Shift Blouse

Although similar to a tunic, they are usually much shorter and can be classified as a T-shirt. It was originally popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s with the hippy look. With its boxy shape, this is more popularly paired with a straight skirt this season.
Shift-Blouse-for-Spring-2014-Fashion-Trend

White Blouses

This isn’t exactly a vintage-inspired look, but it’s a classic I have been seeing everywhere lately. What seems to be most popular are loose sleeveless blouses. I’ve been keeping my eye on a particular chemise one in H&M.

Shiny fabric

This isn’t one of my most favourite trends, however, dresses and skirts in metallic fabrics have become a must on the runways. A lot of looks this season are inspired by the 1970’s and this too, is no exception. Shiny attire could be seen everywhere, particularly on the dance floor in the disco-era.

Tea-length skirts

And to save the best for last, I present the tea-length skirt. There is no specific measurements that come along with the term “tea-length,” but it usually refers to about mid-calf length. Although it may not be recommended for someone of a shorter stature, I insist on wearing them myself simply for the femininity of it. It was most popular during Hollywood’s Golden Age in the 1920’s. They are now often worn with blouses tucked into the high-waisted skirt and come in a variety of patterns and colours.