Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clara Stealey's Diary - January 16, 1910

"January 16 -

Still at home. My side is more painful to-day. Hope it is better to-morrow as I want to go to school. My dress is nearly finished. Been studying some to-day." (*there are two entries for January 16th, although they appear to be separate days)

found photograph my collection (women's fashion early 1900s)

found photograph my collection (women's fashion early 1900s)
"And then, in 1910, there was a fundamental change in female dress. There has been much argument as to what brought this about, but it was plain that the Russian Ballet had something to do with it, and so had Paul Poiret, and we need not trouble ourselves with the question of which came first. What is certain is that there was a wave of Orientalism following the extraordinary excitement caused by the production of Scheherazade, the costumes for which were designed by Leon Bakst. The colours were striking, even garish, and society adopted them with enthusiasm. The old pale pinks and 'swooning mauves' were swept away; the rigid bodices and bell-shaped skirts were abandoned in favour of soft drapery. Skirts became narrow at the hem, and in 1910 extremely so, resulting in the hobble skirt which made it difficult for a woman to take a step of more than two or three inches. To prevent women from taking a longer stride and so splitting the skirt, a fetter made of braid was sometimes worn. It was as if every woman - and this in the very year of the Suffragette demonstrations - was determined to look like a slave in an Oriental harem. Some women even went so far as to wear little 'harem' trousers visible below the hem of the skirt, but these created such a sensation when worn in the street that only the most daring persisted. With the extremely narrow skirt went very large hats. The silhouette, in complete contrast to that of the woman in 1860, was a triangle standing on its point. The favorite trimming of dresses was no longer lace but buttons, which were sewn all over, even in the most unlikely places." (source for quote: Costumes & Fashion: A Concise History by James Laver, Thames and Hudson, NY, ©1995)

(source for 2 plates above: Costumes & Fashion: A Concise History by James Laver, Thames and Hudson, NY, ©1995)

see also 1910s in fashion

The video below documents research carried out on Paul Poiret's original pledge in the Costume Institute of New York by Maria Ines Strasser






Anna Pavlova performs The Dying Swan by Saint-Saens, at the Kirov Ballet


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