With the begging of the new decade in 1910’s fashionable silhouette became more fluid and soft.
When the Ballets Russes preformed “Scheherazade” in Paris in 1910, an obsession for Orientalism was ensured.
The busy, working women of the time needed respectable but at the same time practice clothing for everyday wear and better garments for weekends. The smart tailor-made outfit was mainstay of the female wardrobe and compromised an ankle-length skirt and long, matching jacket.
By 914 skirts were the widest at the hips and very narrow at the ankles those making it very difficult for long strides.
Very talented couturier Paul Poiret was the leading dressmaker at the time, His clients were transformed into harem girls, in flowing pantaloons, turbans, and vivid colors and geishas in exotic kimono. Paul Poiret was also the first designer to invent an outfit that was easily put on without a maid’s help.
In 1911,Paul Poiret introduced “Parfums de Rosine,” named after his daughter, becoming the first French couturier to launch a signature fragrance, although again the London designer Lucile had preceded him with a range of in-house perfumes as early as 1907.
In 1912, the fashion creations of Jacques Doucet were illustrated in the fashion magazine La Gazette du Bon Ton with six other leading Paris designers of the day – Louise Chéruit,Georges Doeuillet, Jeanne Paquin, Paul Poiret, Redfern & Sons, and the House of Charles Worth. His most original and outstanding designs were those he created for actresses of the time. Cecile Sorel, Rejane and Sarah Bernhardt (for whom he designed her famous white costume in L’Aiglon) all wore his designs both on and off stage.
With the WWI (1914-1919) on the horizon the world of fashion started to change. Paul Poiret and other fashion designers were called into the military and their couture houses closed. Wartime prevented commerce between France and the United States and, although the French silk industry remained in operation in Lyon, its clientele in the couture disappeared into the army along with many of its weavers.
As male designers were off defending France, a young female designer came of age. In 1915, Gabrielle Chanel was in the West of France, out of the combat zones, producing hats and designing loose-fitting chemise dresses with belts at the hip. By 1916, she was making casual pleated skirts from the practical Rodier wool jersey that before the war had been restricted to men’s underwear, and topping them with sailors’ sweaters–in the mode of the sportswear that had begun to appear earlier in Vogue.
Hats and Hair Style
Large hats with wide brims and broad hats with face-shadowing brims were the height of fashion in the early years of the decade, gradually shrinking to smaller hats with flat brims. Bobbed or short hair was introduced to Paris fashion in 1909 and spread to avant-garde circles in England during the war. Actress and fashion trendsetter of the silent films of that era, Irene Castle helped spread the fashion for short hairstyles in America.
During 1910’s ladies began fussing about narrow feet, believing that it was a sign of good breeding and gentility. Both men and women wore shoes that were a full size too small, sometimes going as far as removing their small toe for extra narrow effect. Women wore boots during the day and the court shoe with a small Louis heel in the evenings. These were often embellished with embroidery or metallic thread and glass or jet beading on the toes. Did you know that the first sneaker was developed called Keds in 1917. Do you know why they were called sneakers? The rubber sole didn’t make noise when you walked and you could quite literally “sneak” up on someone.
The Sack Suit- these were long, plain, loose-fitting (some might call them baggy) suit jackets with wide lapels and a one to three button closure. The most common colours were; Navy, Grey, Green and occasionally Brown. Fabrics were all wool with hints of striping, checks and plaid. The jacket could hang with straight opening edges or rounded. The overall look was a box shape jacket with pants with roomy hips and legs that hung straight down to the ankles, tapered slightly and were cuffed at the bottom.
Men could choose between three types of shoes, largely depending on where the shoes were going to be worn. Boots were designed for heavy walking and were usually worn for traveling, business and labor jobs. They were not ugly or bland. They were often two toned with the upper half white like a shoe spats, or a lighter color than the sole. Laces laced half way up and then switched to loop and hooks for the remainder of the height. The toes were pointed and the arches were high.
Hats and hairstyles and gloves:
Men always wore gloves, usually white in colour. Final touch for well-dressed Edwardian man was a hat. Derbies or bowlers and homburgs were acceptable day wear while silk top hats were worn for formal occasions. Sportsmen wore flat caps, also called Ivy, cab driver, or Newsboy hats.
In the 1910s, actor Lon Chaney wore the decade’s classic men’s haircut that is still favoured today, though with some modern touches. He wore his hair short and clipped, slicked back, and with a neat side part. The key is a short, neat haircut slicked back from the face, although rarely some men wore a sort of pompadour style.