• artwork analysis
  • garment analysis

1890 – William Merritt Chase, Carmencita

In this lively portrait of Carmencita, William Merritt Chase suggests the audience’s enthusiasm for her dancing by including a gold bracelet and flowers tossed at her feet. The celebrated dancer was painted by many other artists—usually wearing an extravagant dance costume—but none captured her exuberance quite like Chase did in this portrait.

  • film analysis
  • thematic essays
  • year overview

1938

The year 1938 was a period of transition from the catastrophic Great Depression to World War II. Women’s fashion was exuberant: vibrant colors, Surrealist accessories, ornate hats with minimal embellishments were key trends. However, the overall silhouette was simple, clean, and sophisticated. Hemlines began to fall down below the knees. Restrained, structured shoulders evolved into the iconic puff sleeve. Public figures such as the Duchess of Windsor inspired women in their everyday dress.

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

tablion

A rectangular panel, often ornamented with embroidery or jewels, attached to the front of a cloak. Worn as a sign of status by Byzantine emperors and other important officials.

1570-1579

Women in the 1570s believed more was more, loved intense decorative effects, and adopted some influences from menswear. Men’s dress was quite curvilinear, with a padded belly, small waist, and large bulbous melon hose at the thighs.

  • 17th century
  • 18th century
  • 19th century
  • 20th century
  • 21st century

1960-1969

Fashion in the 1960s became progressively more casual across all genders and ages. Womenswear followed three broad trends: a continuation of the previous decade's ladylike elegance, the youthful styles of Mary Quant and the Space Age influence, and the late 1960s "hippie" style. Menswear saw an increasing amount of color and pattern, military influence, and new fashion icons in the form of rock stars. Children's wear saw less change, but also became more casual and bright in color and pattern.