While at the Paris Bibliothèques exhibit Mode & Femmes 14/18, I noticed a great representation of the evolution of dress for women in this time period and the effects that war had on dress. I personally found it really interesting how drastic the change from what was worn the summer before the war to what was worn when it started. Women wearing completely different outfits that are now practical and functional. Also taking the Haute Couture fashion class this new style was something so different from what I have previously learned about in the history of fashion. Right before the war the dresses were slim fitting and simple and then the suit coming into style and attire for women became very masculine.
I want to focus on the style right before the war. As I normally choose an item a week this week I want to relate to this exhibit and I want to focus on the columnar garments. These high-waisted garments tightened at the ankles creating a new silhouette. These types of dresses were worn right before the war in the summer of 1914. The fashion plates and fashion documents presented these dresses with large hats and frilly skirts that were tiered at the bottom.
Both of the photos below are from Pierre Brissaud. They are great representatives of this time period and the style. The day dresses being more solid colors and the detail is in the scarf like belt and in the background there is a women in more of an evening gown. All of these dresses have one thing in common and it is the same silhouette.
When the war was declared the outfits change to work outfits. Many were black and simple and hats were not very elegant but were once again simple. Even women in charity had outfits that would go from day to night instead of having multiple options. The silhouette overtime does change but I did notice with the working women comes the suit which is a similar slim shape to the columnar style dress.
I also found it interesting that in the exhibit there were the postcards that were sent to men at war and it included the intimacy and styles of the 1910s. These old fashion styles were used to forget about the harsh reality of what fashion and life was like during the war. The men would want to see these women in these brightly colored columnar style dress over a Nurse outfit or black suit.