The 1910s body ideal

Just like previous decade we are going to analyze the body ideal of this decade. There was quite a change between the 1900s and 1910s. The age of the the hourglass was gone and height was no longer considered beautiful. In fact, the opposite was. People who were petite with sloped shoulders, a curvy waistline with small breasts and a large head were the ones to look out for. You could say they were sort of doll-like.


The 1910s beauty ideal

While most women were not into makeup, they were still going for the natural look with a bit of powder and rouge. Trendier women started to embrace makeup and use it to achieve this very weird exotic look that would grip the edgier side of fashion in the 1910s: very dark smudgy eyes, dark lips, tousled hair and an exotic head scarf.

It was in the 1910s that the trendy and more daring women started to cut their hair, this was called an ‘Eaton Bob’. These haircuts were called that way after the boys school in England, where boys cut their hair into these bobs. It was thought to be rather boyish and daring. But most women weren’t brave enough to cut their hair, so what they did was cheating by cutting the front of their hair at the sides short but keep the back long and tie it up and wear a ribbon around their heads.



Style Icons

Our next style icon is Isadora Duncan and she was an interpretive dancer. She used textiles and clothing and fashion as part of her dance. You really see that during this era women really desperately try to express freedom from constraint in all kinds of ways and Isadora Duncan certainly did. She was a real fashion victim. She loved long flowing textiles and was famous for wearing long flowing scarves. One day she was driving around with her boyfriend in the South of France and one of her beautiful long scarves, that was dramatically flowing out behind her, got entangled in the the back wheel and broke her neck. This is how the beautiful Isadora Duncan died.

“You were wild once. Don’t let them tame you.” – Isadora Duncan


Designer of the Decade

The designer of the decade this time is somebody you absolutely have to remember an know. His name was Paul Poiret and he was French and absolutely revolutionized fashion. One of his famous designs was the ‘Lampshade Dress’. He was really given credit for liberating women from the corset but also getting women away from this idea that to look beautiful, they had to dress in lilac or cream. He really put drama into fashion with his exotic colors. Poiret really pushed women into a new way of looking at fashion. He was about internationalism looking at places like the East and the Middle East for inspiration.


“I do not impose my will upon fashion. I am merely the first to perceive women’s secret desires and to fulfill them.” – Paul Poiret



Another designer of the decade was Madame Vionnet. She designed her collections on a little wooden doll. She was the first designer ever to cut fabric on the bias, so that it would hang on these wonderful asymmetrical folds.


“When a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too.” – Madeleine Vionnet


And the last one was an Italian named Mariano Fortuny. He was the first designer to work with cleats. His most famous dress was the ‘Del Foss Gown’. It was named after the oracle of Delphi because he loved Grecian drape. Although he was inspired by Grecian drape. Fortuny was the first designer of the Modern Era to embrace draping. His work would influence Madame Grès in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. Also his work would influence Issey Miyake and his ‘Pleats Please’ line and many, many others.


Fashion of the 1910s

Fashion begins to catch up with clothing that can actually function in this modern, 20th century world. The idea that less might be ‘more’ begins to inspire those at fashion’s cutting edge, yet the mainstream still overly embellish to show status.  The palette starts shifting from feminine pastels to more exotic hues, and by the end of the decade, we finally abandoned the previous century.

Well there was freedom from the corset but a new fashion constriction kept women in their place. It was called the ‘Hobble Skirt’. It was given that name because there still were a lot of horses around in that era and the way you stopped them from running away was to hobble them. You would put one of these sort of leather belts around their ankles and that would stop the horse from running away. And the Hobble Skirt stopped women from running too quickly into the modern world. Sometimes the hems of these skirts got so tiny that a wire ring was sewn or inserted into the hemlines, so she wouldn’t rip it just by walking naturally.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to also have a look at the 1920’s here!

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