Fashion Lessons From The '30s

The event, which opens London’s Fashion and Textile Museum’s winter season, displays the creative energy of a decade full of experimentation. Through the clothes and styles of the times


  • jay thorpe new york

    jay thorpe new york

The 1930s were certainly some of last century’s most fascinating years: a historical moment of enormous experimentation and creative energy that never ceases to appeal. The ‘Night and Day: 1930 Fashion & Photographs’ exhibition, ongoing in London’s Fashion and Textile Museum from 12th October 2018 to 20th January 2019, describes that decade with a magnifying glass onto the ladies’ fashion world, intended not only as a universe of creativity, but also as the expression of a period in which historical-social-cultural changes were particularly radical. With over 100 outfits and images by famous photographers who immortalized the beauty of Hollywood stars – authentic icons of style in those days - the show is a retrospective study that leads to discovering the glamour of eveningwear, redesigned to show off the women’s curves, and the emerging versatility of everyday clothes, going from the discotheques to lively street scenes swarming with people wearing long, diamond- studded satin, velvet or crepe dresses in the evenings, to arrive at garden parties and sports activities: new pastimes for the emerging middle class that populated the suburban neighborhoods. Dictating the decade’s new style codes were principally Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli, known for her dresses with a surrealist touch which combined functionality with original decorative elements, and Madeleine Vionnet, an advocate of the bias cut, a technique that would have given clothes a hint of provocative elegance. This new aesthetic imagination with its sophistication and maturity reflected a fundamental change in people’s lifestyle. The Wall Street Crash in 1929 had put a stop to the extravagance of the ‘20s, and fashion, art and culture became a useful distraction for diverting attention away from the economic crisis. Retail sales also underwent a metamorphosis with the opening of more and more stores, the rise of department stores and the development of catalogues, such as Sears in the United States and Littlewoods in the United Kingdom. All changes that contributed to pop- ularizing prêt-à-porter. The exhibition also provides the chance to remember the coronation of Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) in 1937, an event which, just like Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, got itself talked about, and not only due to the incredible jewelry worn by Her Majesty. Women’s magazines were full of suggestions on what to wear and what colors to favor. Some examples? Red, ‘a lovely shade’ and blue, ‘the richest of colors’: shades that still have not lost their regality today.

  • Daisy followers wearing her commissioned collier hindou or tutti frutti cartier necklace

    Daisy followers wearing her commissioned collier hindou or tutti frutti cartier necklace

  • margaret duchess of argyll, 1934

    margaret duchess of argyll, 1934

  • primrose salt debutante of the year

    primrose salt debutante of the year

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