Wednesday, June 2, 2010

On Trend--Chiffon, Taffeta, and Tulle

Due to the luxury found in the fantasy of the movies, chiffon, taffeta, and tulle (oh my!) have long been turned into glorious gowns for actresses.  Case in point, the Edith Head creation adorning Grace Kelly in Rear Window above.  At the time, those types of gowns didn't really have a place in the mainstream, though.  They were purely an escapist fantasy for a world weary from war as women had become quite accustomed to mending mending mending their small and mostly functional wardrobes. The country needed absolutely all of its resources for the war effort, including fabric and thread, and there was no such thing as a disposable income.  Women would need to learn how to shop in a slightly frivolous manner once again.

The shift came in the 1950s when housewives finally had a budget for wardrobes and celebrated their freedom from want with extremely feminine designs.  Dior's New Look inspired women to wear full skirts and dresses as everyday wear, and they definitely began to dress up if they went out for the evening.

Another major shift came in the form of a demographic that didn't even exist before the war--teenagers.  Once upon a time you were either a child or you were an adult...there was no in between.  But after the war, teenagers jumped up and showed that they had interests and looks of their own.  One of these was the concept of Prom.  Suddenly the chiffon, taffeta, and tulle that were once only fantasy officially exploded in the mainstream amongst mothers and daughters alike.  The dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor below in A Place in the Sun happens to be a dress that really inspired (and was copied by) them all.

However, as much as women loved this look, it still wasn't quite practical enough for life beyond the ballroom.  Thus, the hemlines began to shorten a bit just about the knee for what would now be known as the cocktail dress.  Perfection.  You can see that evolution in a couple of the looks I have in the GlamAmor Store.

And now?  The look is EVERYWHERE.  Even I was surprised by how much modern fashion designers, stylists, and celebrities are loving this extremely ladylike look once again.  I can't tell you how many images I came across in just the last couple of months.  And the dresses are being worn by all different types of women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Check out some of the examples of the trend here, including one from Glamour magazine of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The look is so on trend that one of the ultimate trendy brands, Juicy Couture--yes, the brand that gave everyone the casual velour tracksuit--has even taken to bringing back the 1950s with their latest collection.  Their ad below actually looks a lot like my GlamAmor studio.  And so, I opine, why buy a modern copy when you can have the originals in vintage?  Vintage through GlamAmor will cost less than the designer brands and you're practically guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind dress.  In any case, it's great to have this look popular again and I suspect that it's in the process of transcending mere trends to simply become classic.

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