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by Archaeology Newsroom

A Century of Fashion

Since the issue here is the garment, fashion nowadays is the professional occupation in designing, making and marketing original, haute couture clothing. The haute couture, covering the need for change, supplies the market with new products, which serve as models for the known as pret-a-porter garments, a term introduced in the 1960s by Pierre Cardin.

The twentieth century can be characterized as the century of the great haute couture maitres, which, however, is marked by two disastrous world wars that have in turn determined the relation of the emancipated woman with the haute couture and vise versa.

For the first time the garment is commercially promoted in the great exhibitions of London (1890) and Paris (1900). Since, approximately, 1930 the simple chic taste prevails. Nothing is loud in a world that knows how to behave and to change clothes, appropriate to a variety of occasions, even within the span of a day. The World War II preserves this attitude, although now the dresses become shorter, and the shoes with a platform heel – made of cork, rope or wood in combination with other cheap materials — are a novelty.

In the postwar years the haute couture firms are reorganized. A new type of fashion shop, the boutique and a new form of formal dress, the cocktail dress, which gradually replaces the long evening gown, are the highlights of the period. In 1947 Dior makes a revolution with the “New Look”, while the fashion historians consider the years between 1947 arid the late 1950s as the Renaissance period of haute couture.

In the 1960s the dressing revolution that introduced the “mini” has not come out of the blue, since some designers have already advanced in shortening the skirt; this “mini” skirt, if designed by Jacques Esterel, can be wide, with countless petticoats to bell it out – as to match the style of Brigitte Bardot -, or narrow, as to elevate the silhouette of Aundrey Hepburn, the muse of lun£p VTE Zipavoi.

In 1980 the haute couture of Paris seems to have lost everything. The fashion trends that follow are char¬acterized by anarchy and confusion. Through super spectacular exhibitions arises the dogma of fashion for fashion or of fashion for only one exhibition. The costly, extreme creations are worn only once by movie stars in the Oscar Awards celebration or by some fabulously rich ladies.

Japan appears as a bright phenomenon in the fashion firmament, and designers, such as loei MiyidKe, who introduce us in the twenty-first century simply confirm it. Miyake is considered as a national capital in his country, an esteem which provides him with every opportunity and facility to carry on his research into textile and garment.

Today, owing to the TV Fashion Channel and the countless fashion magazines, we can observe a beautiful new generation to be dressed – or undressed -without any imagination, probably because the amply offered supply has created a big confusion.