Despite the dire financial environment of the 1930s, this decade gave rise to great technical and aesthetic innovations in fashion. This handsomely illustrated book is the first to analyze important developments in both men’s and women’s fashions of that time. Select experts contribute texts that delve into the economic, political, and cultural influences that shaped these emergent styles. They also explore how industrial capabilities, such as the production of new textiles, allowed couturiers to drape fabric in ways not previously possible, and how revolutionary dressmaking and tailoring techniques gave form to truly modern clothing.
Advancements in menswear tailoring in London and Naples paralleled breakthroughs in couture draping in Paris, New York, and even Shanghai. Hollywood also played a role in defining and popularizing this glamorous style. The international trend toward softer, minimally ornamented, and elegantly proportioned clothing differed markedly from the more restrictive attire of the preceding Edwardian era. By contrast, the fashions of the 1930s were made for movement, highlighting the natural and classically idealized body. The revival of classicism and other artistic influences were crucial to the creation of this clean, minimal, and modern new look.
Patricia Mears is deputy director of the Museum at FIT. G. Bruce Boyer is a leading menswear writer and historian.
Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s
Special Exhibitions Gallery
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
February 6–April 19, 2014