Charming 19th century
19th century in the fashion history was a period of constant changes, that took place mainly in the women’s clothes. Frequent changes left their mark on almost all aspects of social life. Europe was stepping into modernity intensely – means of transportation, information flow, new and technical scientific discoveries changed the face of the world, changing the face of fashion as well. Mechanization of textile production, introduction of the sewing machines in the homes made imitating the fashion of the elites easier for the less wealthy people as well. In creation of new styles for women’s clothing people gladly reached for history, looking there for inspiration for new dresses and accessories. The era was opened with an interest in classicism, that resulted in creation of a delicate, slim dress, most often sewn with white muslins, cut off under bust, giving a look of Greek column to a woman’s silhouette. In the 1820s the waist has lowered and the skirts widened at the bottom, creating a characteristic bell-like shape. The sleeves were given bigger and bigger puffs and heads were covered with hats of elaborate decoration. Patterned and decorated textiles were very popular. In the 1840s the waist went back up and skirts widened, which created the need to use numerous heavy underskirts. The next two decades were reigned by a wired frame called crinoline, that allowed for more free spread of the giant skirts. Huge crinolines were abandoned after1867, the skirts elongated and the excess of the textile was draped in the back, changing the silhouette. That way the so-called ‘first tournure’ was created, that dominated in the 1870s Women’s silhouette became slimmer, bodices and sleeves were more fitting, the hipline became visible. A one-piece very close-fitting slim dress called ‘priness’ appeared. In the 1880s new models of the tournure were introduced in shape of a saddle mounted to the back. Bodices and dresses kept their fashionable, slim outline. On the break of the 19th and 20th century Art Nouveau reigned in fashion. The woman’s silhouette took the form of an hour-glass and a wealthy lady had to change several times a day to fit the occasion. But gradually the styles changed, the excess of decorations was abandoned, heralding the coming of the simpler, more functional clothes.