Fashion General

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I don't think it's un-hygenic Sashka. That is what I did after my trip to Rome. I did feel bad for the guy at the security checkpoint to went though all my bags. It was a really hot week there and my clothes were...well...ripe!
>>It is interesting to note that the cloche hat we most associate with the flapper era actually made its first appearance in 1916<<

Yes, the First World War had an effect in simplifying women's fashions, due to the fact that many women became involved in the war effort, thus making more practical and less elaborate attire a necessity. I have in my possession somewhere, a catalogue from around 1916-17 which was produced by a Manchester department store, Oxendales. It is very interesting to study the fashions, certainly, women's headgear was smaller and less elaborate than before the war, with neat "bowler" type hats depicted, as well as the cloche styles. The simpler styles of the 1920's (shorter skirts, cloche hats, looser, less restrictive silhouettes), did have their roots in World War One.


The period between 1915 and 1920 is a fascinating one - the fashionable lady kept one foot firmly in the Edwardian Era when the other was already in the Jazz Age.

I take on board everything you say about the trend towards simplicity, prompted by the more active role of women during the Great War. But what I actually find so interesting about these years are the more 'romantic' styles pioneered by the likes of Lucile and Lanvin. Perhaps these were intended as a kind of ultra-feminine reaction to the general dreariness of the time?
Funny you should mention that. I have a photo of my Grandmother's mother taken in 1916 at the tender age of 19 that could very well show how fashion had at least started to become more simplified. She was the first in my family to be interested in Titanic. The ship sank when she was 14. So here she is in all her youthful glory.
What a charming photograph. Your great-grandmother was obviously a stylish lady! Her ensemble perfectly represents the fashions of 1916 and is a kind of fusion of the practical and the romantic. On the one hand, the skirt (which would have reached to just below the mid-calf) is quite full and it is gathered to a sashed waist, with a baggy 'blouse' above. The draped and hobbled gowns of 1911-14 were of little use to those women working in hospitals, offices and factories whilst their men were at the Front and so designers (such as Chanel, who I believe made her first appearance in 'Vogue' this very year) launched what was known as the 'war crinoline', which we see a modified version of here. Shorter, looser skirts allowed their wearers to move with greater speed and with less restriction on their ankles and legs.

Then again, by way of decoration, the designer has added a 'falling collar' of what looks like gauze or very fine muslin and has trimmed the three-quarter length sleeves with deep flounces of the same material, which reach all the way to the knuckles. These floppy cuffs must have been bothersome when your grandmother attempted to write or carry anything!

The rakish hat is also highly typical of the period and it looks to me like her hair is worn bobbed (or at least, much shorter than it would have been ten years previously) which again places your grandmother in the vanguard of fashion.

I wonder what colour this dress would have been? It seems to be made out of silk or taffeta...
My Great Great Grandmother helped Great Grandma make this dress. Called my Grandma for any info and she said that her mother had an great eye for copying fashions from magazines and such. Yet she was always very active and loved sports. This really was the outfit for her. She was active and sassy. I have a photo of her in the twenties Ice Skating. It's probably no coincidence this photo was taken outside by the Mississippi River. Great Grandma was an outdoor girl. She probably did her sewing at night.

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
I think Chanel appeared in Vogue a little before 1916, but was designing hats then, not clothes. It is even possible some of her first designs could have been on the Titanic! Also some of the first 'bobs' were called 'Castle bobs' after one of Lucile's customers, Irene castle. It was apparently all over the fashion pages when she cut her hair short in 1914, and many women copied her.
Sashka said "It was apparently all over the fashion pages when she cut her hair short in 1914, and many women copied her."

I forgot Irene Castle. Great Grandmother might of copied Irene Castle or a magazine model/ illustration in bobbing her hair. Partial bob's were also popular where women cut the front part of their hair and left the back long. I will say this once Great Grandma cut her hair she kept on cutting it. All the pictures we have of her is with bobbed hair.

Glad you liked the photograph Martin it's one of my favorites of My Great Grandmother.
On hats -
George Bernard Shaw had a few trenchant words to say about large hats obscuring his view in the theatre, but he was particularly vexed by large hats featuring dead birds, which much offended his views on animals. He apparently found himself one night behind a woman who had a seagull on her hat, with outstretched wings, and that was the last straw. He wrote an article about it, which I can't find at the moment, in which he threated to tie a few beetles on threads and attach to his lapel with a pin, to see how those ladies liked sitting next to him and his crawling companions.
Yes, I remember reading Shaw's original diatribe in a book I received for Christmas a few years ago. Apparently, the dismembered wings of that particular seagull had been tipped with red paint to resemble blood! I shuddered at the thought back then but now wonder if it was simply a case of his pen running away with his indignation...

I saw a play about Shaw at LSE a month ago. It seems he had a lot to say about MANY things.
My guess is that the book was Dipped in Vitriol by one Nicholas Parsons (not the TV bloke). My tattered copy is with a friend, which is why I can't quote it directly. It's a very good book ...
Dead Seagulls with wing dipped in blood on a hat. Although that shouldn't surprise me. A lot of those ladies had everything but the kitchen sink on their hats.

I saw a play about Shaw at LSE a month ago. It seems he had a lot to say about MANY things.

Shaw had on of the quirkiest personalities. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were thinking of Caesar and Cleopatra instead of Taming Of The Shrew for their first talking film they were going to make together. The only catch was that the esteemed Mr. Shaw wanted none of the dialog changed or cut. I know those early talkies could really drag, but if that movie were made it would have dragged on and on. Besides could you imagine Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford doing Caesar and Cleopatra. I couldn't. So they did Taming Of The Shrew. Mr George Bernard Shaw went on Being George Bernard Shaw with a lot of things to say about everything.

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
Lucile says in her book that she rebelled against some trends for bird wings on hats, because it was endangering the birds. I can't think of much that is more repulsive than sticking dead birds wings on your head!!
As a visual aid, here are some 'feather and wing' hats from the 1913 stock catalogue of a wholesale milliner, Burgessor of Fifth Avenue. These were supplied to department stores throughout the US and Canada including Gimmbels in New York. Also a more practical and attractive spring hat (worn by a very attractive model) from another New York wholesaler, C M Phipps Inc.

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