With the constant evolution of fashion, unless you are in the industry or a designer, one never knows what to expect on the Red Carpet during award shows. Who could have imagined one hundred years ago that the rise of a woman’s skirt would be such that skin would show, let alone the garconne trend, made popular by Coco Chanel, where women would one day wear pants! Over the years, different fashions come and go, but the looks that are popular today date back further than many realize. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s fashion options and their historic inspirations.
Most often, fashion and the social/economic climate often go hand-in-hand. For example, the elaborate long dresses were reintroduced to fashion in 1930, much like we saw on the carpet this year, despite the economic, and social, hardships of the Great Depression. Is this symbolic of our own economy today?
Pregnant and glowing, Natalie Portman choose a pale pink, silk Empire silhouette dress, draped with a red rose across the bodice. While popularized in the Greco-Roman Era, it actually refers to the period of the First French Empire. With a high-waist gathered near or just under the bust with a long, loose skirt, this style is popular for disguising the stomach and lengthening the frame.
Early examples are seen on women depicted in Greco-Roman art, while wearing loose fitting tunics known as Peplos or the Chiton which the wearer belted under the bust. The style resurfaced towards the end of the 18th century in Paris where it helped to make the fashions less confining and cumbersome than clothes of the rest of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Olivia Wilde was a knock-out in her glittery, sequined Marchesa. One of the first to arrive on the Red Carpet, her dress of shining gold at the top and fading into black, resembled those dating back to the Crinoline Era, first appearing in 1830 and working it’s way out of the fashion system by 1860. The crinoline was a cylinder shaped stiff petticoat or skirt that went underneath a woman’s dress, succeeded the farthingale and panniers, dating back to the 15th century, but serving relatively the same purpose of supporting the woman’s dress into the required shape.
By 1860, the crinoline had grown to it’s maximum diameter of 6 feet, and began it’s decline. Women were unable to fit through doorways, struggled to sit, which ultimately let to them taking it off and out from under their dress and placing it next to them, and on more than one occasion, knocked an object, like a candle, off a table. Hence, the bustle was born. While having the same issue with having a seat, women could now fit through doors with ease, with the gathering of fabric secured neatly in the rear.
While not attending the Awards show, Kim was present for the post party at the Beverly Hilton, pictured here at InStyle. Her black Nina Ricci emulates the Princess dress, created in honor of Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later the Queen of England) in 1880. The dress, having no horizontal waist seam, used horizontal tucks to emphasize the hips and the bust, fitting close to the waist.
Many a lady, both on the red carpet and off, swore (and swear) by Spanx. While the material is different, the concept dates back to the late 16th Century, where in 1580, women wore iron corsets to present their best body possible. This dated piece was made up of two separate pieces, one front and one back, not unlike a suit of armor, that opened at center-back.