Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More retro fashions

Here are some more body-distorting fashions; these are taken from a souvenir programme for a Grand Church Bazaar held in Birmingham in 1905. This curious body shape, with bust thrust foward and the backside thrust backwards is, I think, what was known as 'the grecian bend'. Ladies accentuated it with high heels, but I doubt if the maids wearing these outfits did so. Can you imagine running up and down several flights of stairs, at the beck and call of your mistress, in a tightly corseted outfit such as this? Of course the advertiser's picture is idealised, and it seems unlikely to me that most hard working maids, or sensible women come to that, would impose this fashion on themselves in it's extreme forms. But it does make you understand why a couple of decades later women were going for the flat, straight look of the picture I posted here.

If you are interested, you can read more about these deformations of the body here on the Victoria and Albert Museum website.


Lee said...

I think waists have changed over the years! I'll vote for comfort!

Knowleypowley said...


Do we know whether it was a woman's ideal to look like that or a man's?


Judith said...

I should think the answer then was the same as it is today, Pete, and I'm not sure I know that either. I've always imagined that it is the designers who lead the way, forever trying to think up something new to catch the eye. But perhaps they pick up their ideas from a prevailing style trend observable in how women actually adapt and wear the offerings of the designers. One thing though, there are probably more women designers now than there were 100 years ago.

Granny J said...

Weren't styles sometimes set by VIP ladies in the court or high society?