The Luxury 1930s Fashion





Fairy-tale 1930s fashion

Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, unemployment soared and poverty spread. Many woman retreated into the fairy-tale world of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The cheeky adolescent in her ‘flapper’ dress of the 1920s had matured into a sophisticated woman who yearned to emulate the silk-swathed stars of the silver screen.

1930 Fashion Portret Holywood Inspired

Image was everything

Around the world, millions flocked to the talkies to see and (for the first time) to hear their idols, stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow. They became icons, idealised goddesses and arbiters of style. Image was all. In Hollywood, film studios hired costume designers to dress their stars both on and off screen: at Paramount Pictures, Travis Banton designed for Marlene Dietrich; Gilbert Adrian dressed Greta Garbo at MGM. Edit Head put Dorothy Lamour in a sarong and set a trend.

Who created the 1930’s fashion? Hollywood did!

Movie fans could dash from picture house to department store where entire entire areas might be dedicated to selling copycat Hollywood looks. A host of would be Letty Lyntons, Scarlett O’Haras and Mata Haris were soon parading their new styles on the street.

1930s Fashion Scarlett Ohara Inspired

1930s Fashion Mata Hari Inspired

To carry off the 1930s fashion, woman needed a movie star figure. The new bias-cut evening gowns, with their sinuous columns of flimsy fabric, revealed every bulge. The ideal figure were lithe, toned and streamlined, with thin hips, a defined waist and broad shoulders. Brassieres were used not to flatten the bust but to lift and separate, and women wore bi-stretch Latex girdles to iron out any lumps and bumps.

1930’s Brightest Trends

Vogue magazine commented on long-line dresses in 1934: ‘You’ll look as thin as a reed and taller then ever, because of the long slip with its sudden flowering at the hem.’ Diamante clips and gold chokers glistened beside chiffon-topped black velvets, slippery white silk-satins, and gold lame.

1930s Fashion Hollywood Inspired

Daywear choice of the 1930s

1930s fashion was to spoil women for choice when it came to dressing. For daywear she might choose a slim-cut dress with wide shoulders and a belted waist, or perhaps a sharp, tailored suit which reached below the knee. Eveningwear fell into two main categories:

the first was a classically draped, bias-cut style, perfected by Madeleine Vionnet. She was lauded for her halter neck gowns and simple wrap coats.

The second harked back a generation to the prosperous Belle Epoque, with fitted bodices, body-style bows and sweeping skirts. In 1933 shoulders grew wide and exploded leg-of-mutton and butterfly sleeves a year later. But a sleek, tailored evening suit in black was the really modern choice. ‘Nothing in fashion is never’, said Vogue in 1935.

Furs in 1930s fashion

The very extravagant wore fur greatcoats that shadowed the long evening dresses. For everyone else, fur trims and wraps of all kinds were de rigueur. In a movie inconceivable today, Vogue printed a chart of animal sketches to aid the shopper’s choice of pelt. Squirrel or muskrat? Silver fox of Hudson seal?

1930s Fashion Portret with Fur and Gloves

1930‘s leisurewear

She switched from philosophy to fashion design and brought a quirky edge to Parisian glamour. Following in Poiret’s footsteps, her collaboration with avant-garde trompe l’oeil prints mimicking torn fabric. She built practical uplift brassieres into dress bodices and exposes traditionally hidden zips as detailing.

1930s Fashion striped swimsuit

But very soon women would have to tighten their belts

The clock was soon to strike twelve for a generation of Cenderellas dreaming of Hollywood. Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were busy carving up Europe.


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