It is certainly the case for me (and i believe many others) that my fascination with vintage clothing began with 1930s evening-wear. Sublime and dreamy these super feminine styles were designed to flatter the natural figure and were produced in sumptuous fabrics (metallic, velvet, tulle etc), utilised clever cutting techniques like the bias and super tasteful trim and embellishments.
Essentially, the 1930s ticks all the boxes where fashion is concerned and has probably never been bettered.
The 1930s was a time of great change and upheaval, with the world still reeling from the aftermath of the Great Depression and the rise of Hollywood as a cultural force. It was also a time of great elegance and glamour in fashion, with evening wear taking centre stage.
Hollywood actresses of the time, such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, and Jean Harlow, were fashion icons who popularized certain styles of evening wear. As Garbo herself said, "Clothes are like a mask, they allow you to become someone else." These actresses used fashion to create a persona and captivate their audiences, both on and off the screen.
There is a deep misconception that 1930s style clothing only suits the tall and willowy - when in my opinion, the more curves the better - especially were evening-wear is considered. The cuts clung to curves and skimmed to flatter not enhance. Without being too crude, i appreciate how womens bodies weren't moulded in the 1930s (which returned again with the 50s bullet bra) and the bust-line was natural and low.
Here are some of my favourites...
These are by Madeleine Vionnet - the pioneer of the bias cut. She was a phenomenal designer-maker who brought about significant change in womens clothing throughout the 1920s and 30s.
Every year we try to bring out a new 1930s gown or cocktail dress to enhance the collection. But we have never exceeded the beauty of our 1930s Siren dress in rayon satin which was heavily inspired by Vionnet's designs. Whilst it covers the entire body from high neckline and full sleeves, the bias cut floor length skirt falls to the floor like liquid gold. It's just a stunner that suits all shapes. There's a touch of skin on show with the slashed sleeves but thats all it needed - the fabric does the work.
Today, the fashion of the 1930s continues to influence designers and fashion enthusiasts alike. The elegance and glamour of the era live on in contemporary fashion, with designers drawing inspiration from the bias-cut gowns, sequins, and pastel colors of the time.
In conclusion, the 1930s was a pivotal era in fashion history, with evening wear taking centre stage and Hollywood actresses serving as style icons. The elegance and glamour of the time continue to inspire and influence fashion today, reminding us of the power of fashion to transform and captivate.
To see our full collection of 1930s eveningwear - click here