Throughout this era, there were many developments in the progression of fashion and ideas.

The industrial revolution marks a major turning point in history, it was a time from 1760 to 1850 that marked to change to new manufacturing processes. This change included the development of electric sewing machines and factories started to use steam and coal to power machinery and trains.

 industrial revolution                 train

The beginning of this era marks the end of the Victorian Era. Although by 1901 the Victorian era had ended and the Edwardian had started, Victorian style clothes were still very popular. A lot of trends set in Victorian times didn’t go out of fashion until approximately 1912. For example, many women wore corsets, a very tightly laced undergarment that would force the hips back and the chest thrust forward creating an s-shape. These corsets were worn up to around 1908.

images-1                                      images-2
The Victorian era lasted just under 64 years, right from 1837 through to 1901. It was a period of tranquility, affluence, refined sensibilities and national assurance.
The Edwardian Era (1901-1910) also marked the start date of a world’s fair that celebrated the achievements of the past century- Exposition Universelle.

Exposision Universelle dates back to 1900 and lasted 8 months, from the 15th April to the 12th November. It was a world’s fair held in paris, France.

It celebrated the achievements of the past century and to hasten development for the next century. It exhibited many things we still have today. This included:

– The first escalator


– The Eiffel Tower


– Talking Films

– Russian nesting dolls


– Ferris Wheels


And the Telegraphone (the predecessor of modern day sound recording)- displayed in front of 50 million people.


The exposition Universelle was very Art Nouveau. The name, Art Nouveau, is french for ‘new art’. It is a style of art, that was most popular during 1890-1910.


Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, the Edwardian Era began.


Although Edwards death in 1910 marked the end of the Edwardian period, it is sometimes thought to have been extended beyond his death including the years up to the sinking of the titanic in 1912.


During the Edwardian era, women wore very tight corsets- for the last time in fashion history.  As many people, mainly upper classes, enjoyed leisure sports which meant more flexible clothing styles were needed.

Four years after the end of the Edwardian Period in 1914, marked the beginning of world war one, as well as the end of a period of french history known as ‘Belle Époque’. This is the French for ‘Beautiful Era’.


It started back in 1890, arising during the era of the Third French Republic. It was a period of time representing optimism, peace at home and in Europe, new technology and scientific discoveries. In hindsight, Belle Époque was named after it being considered a ‘golden age’, being compared to the horrors of World War One.                                         In Paris, prosperity and peace allowed the arts to flourish, and gained recognition in many areas in the arts. For example music and theatre.

Also at this time, ready to wear collections became ready to buy. The first ready to wear collection were from Harrods in London.


When the women of the 1900’s weren’t wearing corsets they were allowed to wear a dress which allowed them to be much more relaxed and was much more comfortable to wear. They were called tea dresses or tea gowns.


They were made of flowing materials that draped well to calf or ankle length. It would have a train and made mainly of sheer fabric in varied sorts.

As well as corsets and tea dresses women often wore skirts that were restrictive enough to significantly impede the woman’s stride. The skirts were called Hobble Skirts.


The gibson girl was the first national beauty standard for American women. Gibson’s fictional images were published in newspapers and magazines during the Belle Époque and were extremely popular.


Wide Brimmed hats were also very popular, and have recently been featured in Marc Jacobs Autumn/Winter 2012 collection.


The suffragettes were members of ‘women’s suffrage’, which is the right to vote. They chained themselves to railings, went on hunger strikes, set fire to the contents of mail boxes, smashing windows and committed arson.


One particularly woman, Emily Davidson, died whilst attempting to through a woman’s rights banner over the kings horse at the Epsom Derby on 5th June 1913.

Although she had practiced this a few weeks before she failed at the Derby.


In the mid 1800’s a group of painters that mixed Romance, Poetry and Art called Pre-raphaelites opened a new sense of art. The group that it was founded by in 1848, (also referred to as the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) were English painters, poets and critics. There were three original founders; William Holman Hunt,


John Everett Millais;


and Dante Gabriel Rossetti;


Liberty is a shop in London that opened in 1875 selling ornaments, fabric and objects d’art from Japan and the East.


It created in house clothing inspired by the orient, Art Nouveau and Pre-Raphaelite Artists that challenged the couture fashions of Paris. It became one of the most fashionable places in London and fabrics sold for both clothing and furnishings.


The Ballet Russes was a ballet company which performed between 1909 and 1929 all over the globe.


Ballet Russes means The Russian Ballets, and was directed by Sergei Diaghilev. It was thought of as the greatest ballet company of the 20th century.

The director of the Ballet Russes- Sergei Diaghlev, had a lasting influence on clothing. It was a groundbreaking company which incorporated dance, music and visual art.


Diaghlevs Art became heavily influenced by a man named Paul Poiret- who led fashion away from the curvy silhouette of the 1900’s towards a long, lean empire silhouette


Diaghliev designed costumes for the ballet, this heavily influenced fashion.


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