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The Catwalk to Fashion

By Devyani Bora

Fashion, Fashion, Fashion! 

This word buzzes around everywhere you go – your friend’s house, a party, your workplace or even at a shop (yes, people have predetermined outfits even when they want to purchase fresh ones). Fashion follows us everywhere and has become an integral part of our lifestyles. The way we style our looks helps us portray our personalities, power, confidence and our riches.

Let’s take a fascinating ride and experience into the history of fashion, shall we? Let’s brace ourselves and dive into the world of dazzle.

Origin

To protect themselves from harsh weather conditions, humans began to wear clothes. The fashion trend back then was quite vivid; you would often witness humans wearing covers made of trees, plants, animal skins and bones. Along with the humans, fashion went through an evolution phase too. 

Indeed, the objective of fashion changed its course too – from the need of protecting oneself to looking as elite as possible. Fashion has come a long way, from not spending a nickel to costing millions of dollars. 

During the eighteenth century, some dressmakers would design the clothing of important people in society. For instance, Rose Berlin (was known as the Minister of Fashion), who was recognized internationally, was the dressmaker to Marie Antoinette (Queen of France from 1770 to 1793). There were others who were popular too – Francoise Leclerc, Marie Madeleine Duchapt etc. 

Charles Fredrick Worth (1825 – 1905) was an Englishman who resided in Paris. He was recognized as the first fashion designer, in the modern sense of fashion. He owned a huge business that employed several tailors and seamstresses. He used his royal connections to gain access to a larger pool of clients; he was launched as Empress Eugenie’s primary designer. 

His work became more renowned in 1853 when Napoleon III proclaimed that nobody would enter his court without wearing formal attire. 

In the pre-war period (the 1890s), also known as La Belle Epoque, the clothes worn by people were extravagant. The tailored evening gowns consisted of corsets to give the female bodies a desirable shape. Clothing was extremely expensive as the skill of making a dress from scratch, consisting of several layers of laces and petticoats were rare. Hats and parasols were usually worn as accessories to accentuate the beauty of women. 

Evolution

The fashion industry boomed in the early twentieth century, especially in Paris (the fashion capital) and to a certain extent in London too. All the new designs and patterns took birth in Paris and then via several shows, found their way to the rest of the world. The era of fashion magazines came into emergence, which also heightened the awareness of the latest fashion trends across the world. The first and one of the most popular fashion magazines was La Gazette du Bonbon, which included sensational photographs of outfits.

 By the mid-twentieth century, the fashion industry itself received a makeover. Fashion adopted a remarkable blend – it coexisted with the old designs, and added a touch of practicality to the outfits (you certainly can’t wear an evening gown all day long and everywhere). Paul Poirot (1879 – 1944) designed the first outfit that a woman could wear without anyone’s help. He introduced the ‘flapper style’ which meant no petticoats or a tight corset.

The Golden era of French Fashion shone brightly in the 1920s. Women gained more independence and thus the trend of bob cuts spread like fire. The clothing lines started to produce outfits that emphasised relaxation and youthfulness. Even sportswear gained acceptance during this time. The designers of this glamorous era have ensured that their brands continue to stick with us – Coco Chanel, Jean Potou and Jeanne Lavie were iconic and have left a mark in the industry. 

The Uprising

In the 1940s, fashion took a turn and mass production was the new normal. The common man was given the importance that he deserved with the help of ready-to-wear clothes. The industry soared in London and New York. Silk had been replaced by nylon and polyester that had been discovered then. Some of the most stunning designers of this time are Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Nina Ricci and Cristobal Balenciaga.

The cinema industry gathered everyone’s charms. In the 1950s, stars like Marilyn Monroe were trendsetters. Their outfits in films would become the new ongoing trend. Moreover, in the 1960s, a new concept known as ‘unisex clothes’ emerged too. Designers like Yves Saint Lauren supported this trend as they preached modernity in their styles. 

In the 1980s, denim managed to become a staple product, every second person owned a pair of jeans. Fitness boomed during this period, which led to a steep growth of brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas. Simplicity was appreciated and worn. In the 1990s, globalization reached its peak. International brands were available with much more ease. Fashion shows defined the exquisiteness of the outfits and were growing immensely in number. The ‘hippie’ culture developed itself in the 1990s.

In the 2000s, ‘street-wear fashion’ took over. This led to brands become gigantic and significant attention being paid to comfort. Countries that are said to be highly fashionable in this era are the US, Britain, France, Japan and Italy. However, now, several countries in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America have given a boost to fashion. Just like fast food, fast fashion started becoming a desire; e-shopping has left everyone in awe with the plethora of options it offers.

Conclusion

Fashion has made it clear that change is an inevitable part of nature. It has evolved with us and will keep evolving each day. Sometimes it will surprise us by bringing the old trends back alive, but such is life, it keeps surprising us. Fashion, today, has become a source of expressing individuality, where people express themselves with their clothes. Technology has enabled designing more convenient and has grown its world in the industry. Learn to follow the rule of Cs. So, go out there and wear what makes you complete, comfortable, confident and content. You set your fashion trend!

Devyani Bora

Devyani Bora

A unique blend of qualities define Devyani, right from a passive aggressive determination to a subtle sense of humour. A traveler at heart, she wants to travel every nook and corner of the world. Writing comes naturally to her, it is a part of her life that you cannot separate from her.

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