Charles James’ 1955 “Butterfly” gown features a body-conscious sculpted sheath and large bustle skirt, which is reminiscent of the tightly fitted bustle dresses of the early 1880s.
L’Eléphant Blanc is part of Yves Saint Laurent’s Trapèze collection for the House of Dior, Spring/Summer 1958, which introduced the versatile trapèze silhouette to haute couture. Saint Laurent’s first collection at Dior placed him firmly on the path to becoming one of the most well-known designers of the twentieth century.
The high-waisted neoclassical silhouette continued to define womenswear of the 1810s, as fashion remained inspired by classical antiquity. However, the purity of the line was increasingly broken by trim, colors, and a new angularity as tubular skirts were gradually replaced by triangular ones by the end of the decade. Menswear was led by British tailors, as a perfect fit was paramount. World events such as the Napoleonic Wars played a large role in shaping fashion of the period.
The Balcony is one Édouard Manet’s most popular paintings, but when it debuted it was the subject of much controversy. It is a study in contrasts: shadow and light, color, and types of fashionable dress in the late 1860s.
Fashion of the 1850s for both men and women was in a colorful, exuberant style with luxurious fabrics and relaxed cuts. Technological innovation had a large impact on clothing in this period, from the invention of the cage crinoline to the increasing availability of the sewing machine.
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