Pass notes: Tanztheater
This term at Morley we are launching a brand new pilot course to the Dance department,…
Do you long to create the 30’s silhouette and live out the Golden Age of cinema? Morley tutor Lynda Kinne breaks down the characteristics of 1930’s fashion.
The carefree attitude of the 1920s became more subdued in the 30s with the Great Depression in America and the unsettled political landscape in Europe in the years between the wars. The overall style of Art Deco which began during the 20s continued into the 30s, emphasising streamlined designs influenced by the modern machine age. The rise of the cinema as a cheap entertainment and escapism for the masses made Hollywood glamour a driving force in fashion and style. Women began to imitate the looks seen on the silver screen by stars like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.
Madeleine Vionnet and Gabrielle Chanel were the biggest names in the fashion of the day although there were stark differences in their work. It has been said that “Vionnet pioneered a cut but Chanel pioneered a lifestyle.”
In contrast to the shorter hemlines and straight boyish silhouettes of the 1920s the 1930s saw a return to a more feminine form. The waist returned to normal and silhouettes became more curvaceous. Vionnet’s bias cut dress was hugely influential as it allowed the fabric to float above the curves of the body while still allowing for ease of movement.
Dresses were still worn in daytime but there was also a return to women’s suits. Fur was very much a status symbol, being worn mostly along collars and cuffs, and as wraps and stoles. Sportswear (including the introduction of wide legged trousers), was also very popular as women required clothing to suit their more active lifestyles.
Silhouettes were long, even for daywear, never measuring more than 10″ from the floor and increasing in volume towards the hem. Exposed backs, especially in eveningwear, replaced the bare legs of the 20s as the new feature to display. This stemmed from the cinema, where costume designers used garments with an open back to create a sexy look on film without the risk of censorship.
A variety of techniques can be used to reproduce fashions from the 1930s; you could work with an original 1930’s patterns or create your own based on an original design. You could also create your pattern through draping on the stand, a technique well suited for the form fitting styles of the day. Machines were used for the sewing of major seams, but hand work was still an essential part of quality garment construction. We will examine the techniques of creating a beautifully crafted garment with an emphasis on the methods of the day, especially the challenges of working with bias. An overall experience of clothing construction and working with patterns is essential.
Do you long to create the 30s silhouette and live out the Golden Age of cinema? Morley tutor Lynda Kinne breaks down the characteristics of 1930s fashion.
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