A unique look at the history of style and how it has
been perceived since the end of Baroque era.
Contemporary History of Fashion highlights the major
changes in the female and male image over the years,
with a decade-by-decade account of fads, fashions and
icons that determined the desired ‘look’ of the time.
The Western ideal of fashion has changed throughout
the last 100 years and there are many reasons for this;
world events, developments in technology and shifting
priorities are obvious ones, coupled with society often
triggered by economics and the need to create new
Also, there appears a rare genius, making something
happen out of the blue, capturing the imagination to such
an extent that we realise it was inevitable, so perfectly it
sums up the spirit of the age. Perceptions of style have
changed a lot from the last century with various ideals
back and fourth.
The late Baroque era, also termed the Golden Age,
lasted until the death of Louis XIV in 1715, as paralyzed
stylistically as the aged King was in his ways. The following
era of the regency broke the spell and rang in the age of
This era is known as a study in opulence. Fashion
here was beginning to be driven primarily by the French
court of Louis XIV and the English court of Charles I. The
style of dress most associated with this period was known
as "Cavalier" style.
The "Cavalier" style of dress became popular during
the early part of the Baroque period. This style marked a
distinct change from the fashions of the prior age. Starched,
stiff fabrics were replaced with natural atins and silks.
Trimmings were simple and confined to buttons,
buttonholes, and lace. Women's bodice necklines were cut
wide and square, and waistlines heightened. By 1630,
sleeves became full and draped softly below the elbow,
revealing the wearer's lower arm for the first time in
Waistlines were often adorned with ribbon bows
which held the doublet and breeches together. Sleeves were
trimmed with horizontal rows of braid or vertically slashed
and finished with buttons. The stiff hose of the past was
replaced with full, long breeches trimmed with braid and
slashed on the side, as well as softer, wrinkled hose below.
Later in the period, men wore baggy breeches known as
"Rhine graves," which were gathered below the knees with
lace frills. This trend in breeches led to the popularity of
"Petticoat breeches," which were full skirts worn low on the
This painting is of Queen Baroque Inspired; Christian Lacroix,
Constance of Austria from PARIS, July 7, 2005
It can clearly be seen that in the Baroque fashion was worn to show power
and glamour. Women wore narrower collars those days, as the décolleté was
broadened to the shoulders. Women‘s skirts hadn’t changed much. They mostly
wore bell-shaped skirts and a corset with a very low neckline. Women liked
wearing chocker around their neck. The general slenderness of woman’s fashion
was emphasized by the narrow corset.
The colour red has not changed. Designers are using dark colours to have
the similarity of the period. Headdress are worn in both pictures.
Besides that, both images have used velvet fabric to make it more classy
Regal Elegance - Necklace Regal Elegance – Necklace
The only difference between the two necklaces that I have chosen is
that the modern picture portrays a shell around the stone. Whereas, the
Historical Period has diamond shaped gold around the stone. However,
both look very similar. Pearls and stone are used.
1715 - 1775
The Rococo period was during the 1700’s. The art of
this time represented the morally corrupt ways of the
aristocrats and depicted luxurious images of fashions,
interior design, and gardening.
Rococo is considered by art historians to be a trend
within the overall classification of Baroque, a refinement of
the heavier more vigorous Baroque expression. Rococo
found a reflection in the fashions of the times: In the
curving lines of the hoop-supported skirts, the delicate lace
and flower decorations of dresses and the pastel shades
favored by women. This style emphasized lavish
ornamentation, free and flowing lines, and flat curved
forms. It was massive rather than delicate.
Madame de PompadourFrançois Rococo Inspired; Christian Dior
Boucher - circa 1756 for the Fall 2007
The only difference between the two garment pictures is that the
historical period picture has pink ruffles on her upper body dress in
between. Whereas, the modernized picture has long sleeve jacket. The
jacket has very elaborate embellishments.
In both images, both women wear a luxurious blue dress and a very
large draped skirt with an abundance silk fabric. Both dresses have very
elaborate embellishments (i.e. flowers). Other than that, both have
accessories on their hair.
Works of Art - Collection Database S/S 09 collection, Neosens®
For differences, the Historical Period shoe image is made from Silk,
Leather and Wood. Whereas the modern image show beautifully
handcrafted products using premium leather. Besides that, the Historical
Period shoe is metallic in colour. Whereas the modern Rococo shoes are in
Pink and Grey.
Both shoe have the classic Mary Jane style.
1775 - 1795
The neoclassical period was in the 1700’s. The art of
this time showcased the republican style government with
Greek-Roman influences. The artists painted balanced
compositions and emphasized heroics. The fashion
designers created garments with layered sheer fabrics, high
empire waistlines, with beautiful drape.
TÃ©rÃ©sa Cabarrus, Alexander McQueen Fall 2008 RTW
Descendance de Jean de Fourcade,
The two dresses are Neoclassical in design because of the high
waistlines and sheer cotton fabric. The natural figure was hidden due to the
columnar form of the garment, but with emphasis on the breasts. Both are
white in colour and have the sheerness and empire waist.
Marie Antoinette, a ringlet lover John Galliano's collection from his
from 18th Century 2009 show - Fantastical Coiffures
The Historical Period, Marie Antoinette hairstyle was much more subtle
and elegant compared to John Galliano’s quirky and fantasy-laden.
From what I see, the most eccentric of the bunch is the weird white and
tall hair style which I have chosen that reminds me of the powdered wigs
that Marie Antoinette used to wear.
1795 - 1815
This period, referred to as Regency style in England,
followed the French and American revolutions. It saw a
drastic shift in dress for both men and women. Classical
Greek and Roman images were evoked to justify the
democratic revolutions of this period. This resulted in the
adoption of a classically inspired silhouette for women
which was long, narrow, uncorsetted, and high-waisted.
Initially the color of choice was white, and the fabrics soft
cottons, often virtually transparent. Shawls and long gloves
were introduced to cover bare shoulders and arms; shawls
would remain in fashion until the advent of the bustle in
After 1805, as society began to turn into a
conservative mode, and as the aristocracy returned to
France, dress gradually became less semi-fitted and more
tailored. Bodices became more fitted, more surface
decoration was used, as well as heavier fabrics and more
modest long sleeves.
JEAN DOMINIQUE INGRES, Christian Dior, Spring 2005
MADAME DE SENONNES, 1806 Couture
The difference is that the Historical Period image has neck ruffles and
slashed sleeves. Whereas, the modern image has neither, only a chocker on
Both dresses are red in colour and have high waistline. The Historical
Period imagine portrays more of the classic look.
Directoire & Empire slideshow
Shawl Scene taken from Pride & Prejudice
There are no differences nor are there similarities between the 2 images
of shawls that I have chosen. However, shawls were very popular during this
period. These were very reminiscent of the pallas and himations used in
fashionable Greco-Roman attire. These accessories were fashionable as well
as functional. It could be made from Silk or Cotton.
1815 - 1848
The neo-Gothic influence in fashion history dress
fashions was at its peak during the Romantic Era
between 1825 and 1835. The romantic spirit in
fashionable dress lasted only until the late 1840s.
The romantic period was in the 1800’s. The art of
this time depicted images that spoke against the
balanced compositions of the neoclassical time. This art
expresses moods and feelings, often through nature.
The fashions included Leg O’ Mutton Sleeves and
Romantic Era Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2009
The Romantic style was born around the 1820s but differed from
Neoclassical because of the waistline changing to the rib cage. Leg O’
Mutton sleeves and were a nod to the Gothic style. The Leg O’ Mutton
sleeves shown in the two images are Romantic in style like the American
silk walking dress.
Romantic era hat images Scene taken from Sense & Sensibility
Both have large romantic wide hats, ornately trimmed with feathers,
loops of ribbons and bows complemented the wide shoulder lines. This is
a great feature of the Romantic era.
1848 - 1870
Like most Victorian architecture styles, the
popularity of Second Empire waned throughout the
late 18th and early 20th centuries, but by the 1950s
and '60s it was so out of fashion that many houses fell
into disrepair and looked downright scary.
This was the period of industrial, cultural, political,
scientific and military progress with the United
Second Empire was a style favored by the elite of
Painting by F.X. Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress
The modern image dress is closely based on the original wedding
dress. The fabrics that were used doesn’t look as fine as the Historical
Period image. The modern image has a similarity lace that was good
enough match to the original. Besides that, both dresses are white in
colour and have the signature, Bertha Collar.
HAIRSTYLE & ACCESSORIES
Queen Victoria /Past & Present
Both images have similarities in terms of hairstyle which is the
middle parting on their hair. Besides that, the accessories which are
worn on both sides of their head are very flattering.
AND THE GILDED
1870 - 1890
The Gilded Age is characterized as an era
of neomannerist tension, repression, and bad
taste in female fashion.
It was an age of expensive, artificial, upper-
class living in which taste was subordinated to
a heavy and ostentatious display of position
La Mode Artistique 1899 Alexander McQueen, 7th June 2010,
CFDA Fashion Awards
The Historical Period image shows fur coming down form the
neckline. Whereas the modern image shows a gold high-collared,
handcrafted from gold feathers. Besides that, both have long jacket, but
the second image has a white tulle skirt scattered with gold embroidery.
Whereas, the first image is plain brown.
Mrs. Newton with Parasol Random google image
Back then, women used to carry their parasols, either for style or vanity.
The images show two women with their parasol during the Gilded Age.
1890 - 1911
Edwardian fashion refers to the clothing that was
in style between the late 1890's and 1914 or the
beginning of the Great War (World War I). Also called
La Belle Epoque (the Beautiful Era), and the Gilded
Age, this was a time when women's fashions took on
a new opulence and extravagance.
Women's dress in the 1890's continued to be
built in a sturdy, heavy, upholstered style, but the
silhouette changed to that of an hour glass. Female
bodies were corseted to a small waist, and then
padded in the buttocks, hips, bosom and sleeves to
exaggerate the apparent wasp-waisted effect.
Nouveautes Parisiennes Karl Lagerfeld collection
The similarity are the puffy sleeves. Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by
the Edwardian era, but he decided to change the style completely into
something more sharp. Besides that, the tulle skirt on both images
have a similarity.
Random image Keira Nightley in "The Duchess"
Hats began to grow larger in the 1890's, a trend that continued steadily until
1911. The images show two big hats with different designs of ornaments on.
WORLD WAR 1
1911 - 1929
The 1920’s, saw dramatic changes in dress, and
became the first modern" decade of the twentieth
century. The female body evolved from the elaborately
trimmed dress with its high waist position and ankle
length skirt at the beginning, to the simple, hardly
decorated, shapeless tube with a hip level waistline and
a skirt barely covering the knees. The new fashion
began with their change in social aspects and attitudes
along with their new way of life. This was the Jazz Age,
the decade of the flapper girls.
The Cat's Meow: 1920's History The beautiful Kate Moss in her
1920s flapper inspired dress
The beauty of both of these dresses is that it is decorated in very light
shades and iridescent beads in an elaborate lace-type of pattern.
The very soft colors of the pearl beading is set in flourishes and cameos.
Polyvore, Vintage Gossip Girl guest star Hilary Duff
was dressed as a 1920s flapper
The 1920s accessories were big and bold so opt for long beads. To keep
in with the 20s tradition, pearls is a must. The pearls were set in such a way
that they gave the foundation and appearance of the two images.
1929 - 1945
The thirties was an era of extremes in wealth and
poverty. The rich enjoyed the life of luxury and fashion,
which for the poor was merely an escapist fantasy via
the magic of the silver screen.
Also, there was a return to a more genteel, ladylike
appearance. Budding rounded busts and waistline
curves were seen and hair became softer and prettier as
hair perms improved. Foreheads which had been hidden
by cloche hats were revealed and adorned with small
plate shaped hats. Clothes were feminine, sweet and tidy
by day with a return to real glamour at night.
1930s The Fall 2008 ready-to-wear line from
John Galliano featured 1930s-inspired
In both images, both women clamored to embrace their curves.
Hemlines dropped dramatically to reflect the more somber mood of the
post-crash economy and nipped waistlines to create a slender hourglass
silhouette. Fabrics like rayon and fine wool were used.
Random Google Image
During the 1930s, the finger waves, with hair still close to the skull and
styled was popular. The two hairstyles give a soft and feminine look. The
second image has a similarity with the Historical image but with a modern
THE COLD WAR/
1945 - 1963
After the upheavals of the war, women again had a
stabilized role as part of the idealized nuclear family.
But society was changing rapidly and the new woman
wasn’t far behind.
During the Cold War, the 50s were rich and
exciting time. Spectacle came into its own, and much
use was made of colour, which was rich and deep,
perfectly showing off the vibrant hair colours and
strong make-up fashionable at the time. Even when
films were set in the past, they reflected current
trends and images of 50s glamour.
Mother & Daughter, Wearing Louis Vuitton Runway
Different Fashions, Waving
Goodbye To Daddy In The 1950s
In short, the poodle skirt was one of the very first “too young for
you” fashions. This was one of the ultimate fashion; both skirts of the
50’s featuring a generous volume and a below-the-knee length.
RED LIPSTICK & HAIRSTYLE
Marilyn Monroe Paris Hilton
During the 1950s, bleach blonde, short and curly describes the
retro Marilyn Monroe. The second image shows Paris Hilton trying
out the 50s look. Also, many women back then, used neutral eye
shadows, black eyeliner, red lipstick or light lip gloss to create classy
makeup trends. Which is the similarity on both images.
1963 - 1983
Contemporary era is divided into many fashion
looks. The sixties was a period of great trend setting
ideas. This was the period which saw some of the
most popular styles being launched; some of them are
still in Vogue, even today! The youth had a major say
in fashion. The hippy culture strongly caught on in the
1960s as well.
Besides that, the seventies is often cited as the
decade of decadence, but despite the extremes of glam
and punk, this was the time when women really
looked at their place in modern society for the first
Lastly, the market, rather than the medium, was
the message in the eighties, with wealth and the image
of wealth a style attribute in itself. You didn’t have to
be rich to look healthy, but it helped.
Random Google Image Vivienne Westwood, London Fashion
This ever fashionable miniskirt was created by Mary Quant, and is
synonymous with the 1960s. This transformed the face of fashion. Designer,
Vivienne Westwood decided to do a 60s look with funky designs on runway.
Whereas the first image is one of the very first few picture , yellow in colour
Madonna in the 1980s 80s, Marc Jacobs’ fall collection
for Louis Vuitton, Fall 2009
The 80s look have the bold shoulders style. Unexpected flourishes
came in the form of the accessories on both images. Except Madonna has
much more of a gothic look – All black. Whereas Marc Jacobs decided to
add pops of pink into his 80s collection.
After completing this project, I realize, fashion today is
fast-paced, technologically savvy, and global. I’ve learnt the
new chapter on the history of fashion, the latest facts and
figures, and the most current theories in fashion
development, production, and merchandising.
Learning Contemporary History of Fashion provided a
broad foundation for me hoping to become a part of the
industry. Apparel, accessories, cosmetics, home fashions,
design, and more are explored in detail.
Throughout the 3 months learning the Baroque era up
until Contemporary has taught me a lot. I never did realize
before this on how fashion evolved so much. It was very
interesting having to learn this. In between doing this
project, I kept on doing deeper and deeper research for
similar pictures because I was interested in knowing the
similarities with the old Historical Period image, instead of
just doing a minor research.