Thetake a stroll down memory lane as we explore the fascinating history of one of the most iconic garments in women’s fashion – the gown.
Introduction to the History of the Gown
The gown has a long and detailed history, dating back to the days of royalty. Worn by both men and women, the gown was once a symbol of status and wealth. Today, the gown is still seen as a luxurious item, but it has also become more accessible to the masses.
While the exact origins of the gown are unknown, it is believed that they first appeared in Europe during the Middle Ages. At this time, only the wealthy could afford to wear them, as they were made from expensive fabrics such as silk and velvet. The styles of these early gowns were also very elaborate, often featuring intricate embroidery and beading.
As time went on, the style of the gown began to change. In the Renaissance period, for example, sleeves became longer and fuller, while necklines became higher. By the 18th century, gowns were generally much simpler in design, with fewer embellishments. It was around this time that they began to be worn by everyday people instead of just those in high society.
Evolution of the Gown Through Different Eras
The history of the gown is a long and varied one, tracing back to the days of royalty and privilege. For centuries, gowns were reserved for those with wealth and power, but as fashion evolved, so too did the role of the gown. Today, gowns are worn by all kinds of women, from Hollywood celebrities to everyday fashionistas.
The earliest known examples of gowns date back to ancient Greece and Rome, where they were worn by wealthy women during special occasions. Gowns in these cultures were often very elaborate, with rich fabrics and intricate designs. During the Middle Ages, gowns became more subdued, as Christian values placed a greater emphasis on modesty. Wealthy women would still wear fine gowns on occasion, but they tended to be less showy than in previous eras.
The Renaissance saw a return to opulence in dress, and gowns became even more elaborate than before. Rich brocades and velvets were popular fabrics, and gowns often featured intricate lace trim or beading. By the 1800s, gowns had become simpler in style once again. The Victorian era was marked by modest necklines and sleeves, although some evening dresses still featured glamorous details like low-cut necklines and sequins.
Early Beginnings: The Royalty Era
The gown has a long and storied history, dating back to the royal courts of Europe. In those early days, the gown was a symbol of status and power, with only the wealthy and noble classes able to afford such luxury items. The dress was often intricately adorned with jewels and lace, and would have been a key part of any woman’s wardrobe.
As time went on, the gown began to evolve. It became more accessible to a wider range of people, as new fabrics and production techniques made it more affordable. The style also changed, becoming more relaxed and less formal. This is reflected in the way we dress today – while there are still occasions where a more traditional gown is required, such as at a wedding or black tie event, they are no longer restricted to the upper echelons of society.
Victorian Era: From Grandeur to Romance
The Victorian Era was a time of great change for women’s fashion. It was a time when the gown went from being a symbol of royalty and status to a more romantic and feminine look. The Victorian Era is often divided into two periods, the Grand Period and the Late Period.
The Grand Period began in 1837 with the coronation of Queen Victoria and ended in 1901 with her death. This was a time of great prosperity in England and the British Empire. Women’s fashion during this time reflected this wealth and prosperity. The gowns were very ornate and elaborate, with intricate beading and lace work. They were often made of heavy fabrics like silk or velvet, and were meant to impress.
The Late Period began after Queen Victoria’s death in 1901. This was a time of great sadness for England, as they mourned the loss of their much-loved queen. Women’s fashion during this time became more subdued and less ornate. Gowns were often made of lighter fabrics like chiffon or organdy, and featured softer colors and simpler designs. This period saw the rise of the House of Worth, a leading fashion house that specialized in creating beautiful evening gowns for wealthy clients.
The Victorian Era was a time of great change for women’s fashion. It was a time when the gown went from being a symbol of royalty and status to a more romantic and feminine look. The Victorian Era is often divided into two periods, the Grand Period
Glamourous Flapper Style of the 20’s and 30’s
In the early 1900’s, a new type of woman was emerging. She was confident, independent, and most importantly, fashionable. This new breed of woman became known as the “flapper.” The flapper style was all about being flashy and glamorous. Feather boas, sequined dresses, and feathered headbands were all popular flapper accessories. Makeup was also heavily favored by flappers as they used it to accentuate their features.
While the flapper style originated in the United States, it quickly spread to Europe where it became just as popular. Flappers were often seen as rebels or “bad girls” due to their willingness to push boundaries both fashionably and socially. They smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and danced provocatively – all things that were considered taboo at the time.
The flapper style fell out of favor in the 1930’s as more conservative styles began to take over. However, the impact that flappers had on fashion is still evident today. Many modern-day fashionistas have been inspired by the bold and glamourous style of the flappers from the 20’s and 30’s.
The 50’s: A Return to Elegance and Femininity
The 1950s represented a return to elegance and femininity after the austerity of World War II. Women’s fashion was all about the hourglass figure with nipped-in waists and full skirts. The most iconic look of the decade was the “New Look” created by Christian Dior which featured a fitted bodice, voluminous skirt, and small waist. This look was achieved with the help of crinolines or petticoats which gave skirts their shape. Other trends of the 1950s included capri pants, cat-eye glasses, and beehive hairstyles.
The 70’s to 90’s: The Revival
The 70’s and 90’s were a time of revival for the gown. Fashionistas began to experiment with different styles and silhouettes, and the gown became a popular choice for special occasions once again.
One of the most iconic gowns of the 70’s was the “ Halston Heritage Gown ”, worn by socialite Babe Paley. This dress was a simple column silhouette made from silk jersey, which hugged the body and showed off Paley’s slim figure
The 80’s saw a return to more glamorous styles, with designers like Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang creating show-stopping red carpet looks. Princess Diana also helped to popularize the ballgown in this decade, thanks to her fairytale wedding dress.