The twentieth started with a buzz of activities. The First World War ended ushering the roaring twenties. The year 1920 was a witness tremendous change, women gained the right to vote; clubs opened-up, jazz music was played, Hollywood and Vogue gained prominence and the need for liberalization took root. Fashion too liberalized; the flappers came into picture and fashion entered the modern era. This modernization of fashion was the working the few iconic fashion designers of the 20s. Here are the people who created fashion in the 1920s.
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”- Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, popularly known as Coco Chanel was born in 1883. Chanel liberated women form the restrictions of the corsets and popularized a more masculine look. Borrowing the details from menswear Channel created two or three piece suits. She made the suits elegant with matching blouses, stylishly lined jackets and pleated skirts. Channel pioneered the iconic ‘little black dress’ something that is still found in women’s wardrobes. Cardigan jacket was another one of Chanel’s signature creations. Chanel introduced a perfume, Chanel No. 5 which is still popular. Coco Chanel had a classic and powerful style with a lasting legacy that has influenced decades of fashion.
“Certain dressmakers desire to pass for an artist. I have one ambition: that is to have good taste.”- Jean Patou
Jean Patou, a lesser known brand today than Chanel, but in the 1920s they both ruled. He is credited with creating the ‘designer tie’ for men and pioneered the boyish gaeconne look for women. He was praised for his ultramodern and sporty style. When Suzanne Lenglen, the French tennis star wore Patou’s long white sleeveless cardigan and a fly-away white pleated skirt for her game it became sensational news. He left his mark when he created the most expensive fragrance ‘Joy’ that is still loved by people. He also created the first suntan lotion. Jean Patou had an extravagant way of living yet his designs were simple, youthfully classic and most importantly wearable.
“In difficult times fashion is always outrageous.”- Elsa Schiaparelli
In the 1920s Italian-born Elsa Schiaparelli was considered Chanel’s biggest rival. She is remembered for her coveted black knit sweaters with a white bow tie design. She was strongly inspired by Surrealist like Salvador Dali. She was wild and whimsical, something that is clearly visible in her creations. She created prints that were wild, unique outfits and distinctive hats one of which is her lamb chop topper that was shaped like a large shoe. Unfortunately, she could not adapt to the changing fashion of the post world war ll and her business ceased in 1954.
“When a woman smiles the dress must smile with her.”Madeleine Vionnet
The Queen of the bias cut and the Architect among dressmakers are the few names Madeleine Vionnet achieved in her lifetime. Influenced by the architecture, geometry and dance of that time Vionnet innovated, the bias-cut gowns that were sleek, form-fitting and fluid in their making. She is best known for her elegant Grecian style dresses.
“A design inevitably reflects the artistic motifs stored in one’s memory, drawing on those which are the most alive, new and fertile all at the same time”- Jeanne Lancvin
Lanvin had blurred the lines between children’s and women’s wear and by the 1920s had come-up with a more youthful and sporty look. She made simple styles into elaborated fashion by using decorations and embroideries, a 1920 character. She made luxe fabric and pleated skirts famous among royalty and Hollywood.