• artwork analysis
  • garment analysis
  • film analysis
  • designer profile
  • thematic essays
  • year overview

1818-1907 – Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley, a remarkably successful dressmaker, built her career upon exacting technical standards, graceful clean lines, and an understanding of Parisian fashionable trends. She is well known for her work for the political elite of Washington DC, particularly for Mary Todd Lincoln. Keckley was one of the first African American women to publish a book and was an impassioned activist who created a relief organization for newly freed enslaved persons.

1880

Basque bodices with lace trimming were highly fashionable for women in the year 1880. Polka-dotted textiles appeared frequently in fashion plates, and the color purple was considered stylish.

  • ancient
  • Middle Ages
  • 14th century
  • 15th century
  • 16th century
  • 17th century

1420-1429

The duchy of Burgundy, enriched by the wealth of its Flemish cities, was the leading center of fashion during the 1420s. The Duke of Burgundy's alliance with England supported the production of the finest woolen textiles, woven in Flanders from English yarn. Merchants used their profits from manufacture and trade to rival aristocrats as the greatest consumers of Italian silk velvets and other luxuries. Throughout Europe, men dressed in black and women with tall, horn-shaped headdresses were signs of Burgundian influence.

  • 18th century
  • 19th century
  • 20th century
  • 21st century
  • BIPOC
  • LGBTQ+

1990-1999

As the 20th century came to a close, fashion reached its most casual. Both men and women adopted grunge fashion in the early part of the decade and loose, oversized clothing and jeans became staples. As the decade progressed, women's fashion became more streamlined as minimalism became de rigueur, while children's clothing often featured popular Disney characters.