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Victorian Fashion and its Influence on Modern Fashion
Happy #FashionFriday! Today I thought I would change things up for #fashionfriday and write a blog post about Victorian fashion its influence on modern fashion. Over the years we have seen many styles and trends come and go, from shoulder pads to Miami vice suits, and acid wash jeans. Many of these trends have been altered throughout the years but certain trends have always come back in fashion. Our latest exhibition, Silhouettes in Time, made me curious about how many modern fashion trends have been influenced by trends from the Victorian Era.
One of the most popular fashion trends that began in the late 1820s and continued into the 1830s was gigot sleeves or leg-o-mutton sleeves. This style of sleeve began slightly off the shoulder, where it puffed out before narrowing towards the lower arm. I cannot think of a more iconic modern dress with this sleeve style than the wedding dress of Princess Diana. While this style of sleeve was slightly adapted for more modern times, there is no doubt that big sleeves were popular during the 1980s!
Another fashion trend that became popular during the early to mid-1800s was the peplum. A peplum was an overskirt that was attached to another garment like a dress, jacket or skirt, to highlight and accentuate a woman’s tiny waist. During the 1830s and 1840s the peplum was a staple to have on any dress or jacket, and had many style variations from long and short to uneven designs. The peplum eventually went out of style, but throughout the 20th century the peplum continued to pop up as a style trend.
However, during the 1980s the peplum reappeared with a vengeance in women’s party dresses, as seen in the above image of the Red satin suit by Cache, American. Today the peplum trend has again emerged as a fashion trend in dresses, tops and jackets.
Even though this blog highlights only two examples, pagoda style sleeves, corsets and lace are all influences from the Victorian Era that have appeared in modern fashion trends.
Don’t forget to join us at the Museum on Thursday, November 16, for the third instalment of our Silhouettes in Time Speaker Series, “The Path to Fashion” with Jonathan Walford. Jonathan is the Curatorial Director and Co-Founder of the Fashion History Museum of Cambridge. For more information on this event please visit our website.