Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spring 2012; Fashion Trend #1: Roaring Twenties

This coming spring 2012 season brings us new trends and styles. I will be highlighting three trends of the season (20s, Prints, and color-blocking) along with two shorter articles, one on the new color of the season (tangerine) and one on the jacket trend of the season (Anoraks).

This spring, 1920s fashion has been reinvented for 2012. But before I get into the current trends I would like to introduce the fashion of the 1920s.

In What People Wore, Douglas Gorsline writes, "In 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, women gained the privilege of equal suffrage. With this prerogative their social and economic horizons were vastly broadened... This sudden economic upheaval, one perhaps more revolutionary than is generally realized, was influential in causing a drastic change in clothing fashions. In the years 1925-1930 women did their best to deny their essential femininity." These women had been enjoying the freedom they had acquired during World War I. This period had opened the door for women to act as men and dress like men. They held jobs on the home-front while the men fought in the war. When the men came home, women did not want to give up this freedom.
The Kyoto Costume Institute describes the 20s in this way, "New rules were applied to a society that now included a burgeoning nouveau riche class alongside the old-money upper class, and an avant-garde sensibility alongside traditional ideals of elegance. Hemlines shot up from below the ankle to flirt with the knee. Since a youthful, slender style found more favor than a mature and voluminous one, women accordingly dressed up like boys. The new woman acquired a higher education, had a profession, and enjoyed romantic relationships without hesitation. She led society into new customs such as driving cabs, playing golf and tennis, exercising, and even smoking."
Two specific designers stood out during the 1920s: Gabrielle ("Coco") Chanel and Madeleine Vionnet.

"Gabrielle Chanel played a decisive role in this new aspect of women's fashion. She designed clothing for comfort, simplicity, and chic appearance with an innovative combination of jersey material and shapes borrowed form men's clothign. after her jersey dress caused a sensation, she designed cardigan ensembles, sailor-style "yachting pants," beach pajamas, and the renowned must-have item, a simple black dress."

Coco Chanel

On left: Dress: Silk, Metallic Threads, and sequins

On right: Sweater and skirt ensemble: Silk, Wool, and Metal

"While Chanel's role was that of a media-savvy stylist, Vionnet was more an architect of fashion. Her technique of cutting garments from geometrically patterned fabric with a superb sense of construction brought about genuine innovations in dressmaking. Vionnet invented a wide variety of detailed designs like the bias cut, circular cut, cut with slash or triangular insertion, halter neckline, and cowl neckline."

Madeleine Vionnet


This year, the 1920s has been revitalized in the fashion industry. While in the 20s it was to convey a sense of masculinity, in 2012 this trend evokes an image of delicate femininity. As fashions have changed over the years, women's wear has become more and more inspired by men's wear. What was considered boyish in the roaring twenties is now very feminine compared to jeans and a t-shirt.

Many designers chose to include looks from the 20s in their spring 2012 collections but the four that stood out were: Marchesa, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and Ralph Lauren. describes the trend this way: "double-breasted suit and drop-waist dresses, lots of beading and feathers, and the slim, sexy silhouettes favoured by the Daisy Buchanans of the world... feather-light chiffon gowns, silk bias cut dresses and palazzo pants. Impossibly pretty, sophisticated and classic in that all American way."

  • Trends: 1920s, asymmetrical hemlines, drop-waist dresses, strapless styles.
  • Key Look: Wide leg palazzo pants worn with loose knits, long bias cut silk slip dresses, flapper dresses.
  • Accessories: Turbans, cloche hats, feathered stoles, long layered beads.
  • Description: Boyish and athletic while being classically elegant and feminine.

Here are some looks from the runways:

On Left: Marchesa
On Right: Marc Jacobs

On Left: Ralph Lauren; On Right: Givenchy

Now that you know the background of 1920s fashion, have learned the trends, and have seen the 2012 runway looks, I would like to give you affordable options to include this trend in your wardrobe.
Here is a dress from Forever 21 that is only $19.80:
This look is from ASOS and is $71.62:
This dress can be found at Cactus Flower for only $36:
In addition to these, there are quite a few dress inspired by the 1920s on with prices ranging around $40-$100.

I will try to have an article up soon on Spring 2012 Fashion Trend #2: Prints.