The era following the Victorian time was the Edwardian time. This was an era within the UK when Edward VII was in power. The duration encompassed the historic Titanic sinking, the beginning of World War I in 1914, and the stop of World War I in 1918. This period was marked with great attention in travel and art within continental Europe and was possibly because of Edward VII love of tour. The era brought about an innovative form of art that was known as Art Nouveau. The artistic expression was coupled with highly-stylized, curvilinear designs, flowing frequently incorporating floral as well as other plant-inspired patterns (Rogers 21). This world started to decline in 1914, although the war finished it forever. During 1900s, fashioned had its last elegance age, in what is described as the longest Edwardian summer.
The ladies of 1901 presented an innovative, flowing silhouette contrary to their Victorian forerunners. The skirt curved in an outward direction over the back, downwards and slightly inwards near the knee-level, then sharply outward at the hem. It gave a look of a curved in skirt. Fashioned in soft, little drapery to break off the outline, and flowing fabrics, it showed the figure than heavily and stiff draped skirt in 1980s. The bodice on top was normally molded on well-boned and tight foundation. The outside cover was cut little longer and fuller in front than lining and was designed to hang down the waistband. Sleeves were tight near the top and flared out just below the elbow, sagging on the cuff. The entire effect was flowing, curved and awfully feminine (Becker and Vivienne 7).
The innovative silhouette needed a novel figure, shaped by an innovative corset style. This straight-fronted corset emerged in 1890s and was the accepted fashion by 1900. It skewed the figure, shoving the entire bosom forward, however, full posterior and narrow shoulders backwards. This unique curved appearance was referred as the S bend. It was a times balanced by leaning stylishly on a fashionable cane or lengthy handled parasol. The innovative corset gave a tiny waist. Moreover, corset was reduced in size and never divided the bust like the 19th century had done, providing the impression of a wide, single, low mono-bosom. Low bosom and full curves were fashionable and indicated the attractiveness of the grown-up, matronly woman. Historians of fashion attribute this to full-grown and admiration of a mature lady (Mangan and Loughlan, 23).
Edwardian sleeves were tight around the arm top and fuller around the wrist, where they gathered into taut cuff. The fullness of wrist sagged over the cuff and increased in width. The head of sleeve had a few gathers and the entire sleeve appeared curved in like the skirt, narrow around the middle, wide around the bottom and full around the top (Tortora and Keith, 16). In 1900 to 1905, pagoda sleeves or open-ended were made and worn with a blouse sleeve reaching the wrist or gathered sleeve end. In 1905, a shift of emphasis existed. The fullness around the wrist vanished, the top width increased and a re-emergence of leg-of-mutton, doubled-puffed sleeves and full puffed of the 1980s was seen.
White colour was a popular summer blouses and dresses. They were designed in gauzy white coloured fabrics and frequently decorated with white lace and white embroidery (Rogers 21). The fabric below the lace was reduced, sometimes leaving skin of the wearer uncovered, for instance, at the neck and on the arms. This was perceived provocative, and descriptions like lingerie dress and pneumonia were coined. The white dresses and blouses were expensive when hand-made but in theory were impractical to put on. The white clothes were made in linen and cotton which were washable, and could be sewn at home. These clothes were extremely popular and widely adopted and were worn in a customized form after the trained, complex and formal dress had been outdated by 1914.
During 1900 the waved and puffed hair appeared to be skewed forward above the temple. The large hat, always with upturned brim droops frontward on the coiffure, accentuating the extraordinary frontward of the 1900s woman. Whereas the S-curve continued to be fashionable, the hat and hair remained frontward. As the curve or bend of the figure became straight, the coiffure started to fill out the sides and behind, under its weight. The waved, black-weighted, large hair supported wide-brimmed hats. All these balanced unsteadily above a willowy column of the dress (Mangan and Loughlan, 23).
Evening dresses were normally made from fine silks, having short sleeves and open necklines, which were cut together with the dress’ body. Fabrics were brocade, silk satin, chiffon, embroidered silks and lace. Many fabrics were layered to develop a rich effect devoid of bulkiness. Closures were normally hidden below the different layers. The lining of bodice was arranged, closely fixed to the figure as well as boned. Day dress normally had long sleeves, moderately fixed to the arm. During the day, one piece dresses within cotton or silk, skirts and blouses, jumpers or skirts with matching jackets were extremely popular (Welters and Abby 18).
Becker, Vivienne, and Vivienne Becker. Fabulous Costume Jewelry: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub, 2013. Print.
Mangan, J. A., and C. Loughlan. "Fashion and fealty: the glaswegian bourgeoisie, middle-class schools and the games-ethic in the Victorian and Edwardian eras." International Journal of The History of Sport 3.1 (2008): 23. Print.
Rogers, Elizabeth B. Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2011. Print.
Tortora, Phyllis G, and Keith Eubank. Survey of Historic Costume: A History of Western Dress. New York: Fairchild Publications, 2008. Print.
Welters, Linda, and Abby Lillethun. The Fashion Reader. Oxford: Berg, 2011. Print.