Who Invented Fashion?
There are many theories about who invented fashion. But there is no consensus on the exact date, and scientists have come to different conclusions about the origins of clothing. It may have begun as early as 33,000 years ago, or it may have begun much later. Either way, the purpose of wearing clothes is probably to stay warm, ward off disease, or attract a mate. If early humanity did indeed possess a virtuoso ‘fashion designer’, he or she is doomed to remain a mystery deep in the history of humankind.
Charles Frederick Worth
The French revolution changed the way the world perceived fashion. Worth, who was born in 1779, became an important force in the creation of the modern fashion industry. His invention of the sewing machine made the patternmaking process faster and more efficient, and helped standardize garment components. He also employed a newly invented sewing machine but still relied on hand sewing for delicate finish work. And while he wasn’t a traditionalist, his use of machines and standardized parts was still revolutionary.
As a self-promoter, Worth earned the titles of “Father of Haute Couture” and “First Couturier” as a result of his efforts. However, it was only in the 1870s that his name appeared in an ordinary fashion magazine. Worth’s work brought him international recognition and changed the relationship between the dressmaker and the client. And this was only the beginning. Today, there are many designers who have attributed their success to Worth’s innovations.
He began his career by redesigning the uniforms of shop assistants at Maison Gagelin in Paris. His wife modeled his clothes in the store. Soon, his fashion house was operating with over 50 employees. Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, became a famous client. Eugenie was a fashion trend-setter and became an important patron of Worth. His work was so impressive that the Empress appointed him to be her personal dressmaker in 1861.
Aside from the crinoline, Worth also invented the hoop skirt and crinoline. His innovative approach to fashion development allowed him to use the best fabrics and hire the most talented dressmakers in Paris. During the 1850s, Worth also popularized the crinoline, a cage-like structure of horizontal hoops that was suspended from the waist. This support structure pushed the fullness of the skirt to the back. It eventually became known as the bustle.
After WWI, Elsa Schiaparelli moved to London. After the war, she was immersed in an exclusive art scene. In Paris, her elegant and whimsical designs were accompanied by extravagant accessories. During her shows, she draped her lithe figure in a curtain held together by hairpins, which came loose when she danced. The resulting effect was stunning, but many questioned the fashion house’s motives.
The first thing to know about Schiaparelli was that she had a rocky childhood. Although her parents had hoped for a boy, Schiaparelli chafed under their strict control. As a child, she expressed this in her clothing designs. In addition, she was also prone to mischief. She once attended a society ball in Paris without any clothes at all. She subsequently wrapped a large piece of fabric around her head and referred to it as her first failure as a couturier. In London, she studied and attended lectures.
After her marriage ended, she decided to move to Paris to set up her own fashion line. She introduced a trompe l’oeil motif into her designs, and her first collection featured big bows adorning the neckline. The designer’s designs caught the attention of a French Vogue editor, who featured the designs. The following years, Elsa Schiaparelli created avant-garde designs, such as the divided skirt. She also introduced evening wear to her line in 1931.
The artist’s work inspired Elsa Schiaparelli to make her designs more conceptual and abstract. She worked with Salvador Dali on her Skeleton Dress, which references the surrealists’ exploration of the skeletal form. Similarly, she collaborated with Surrealists, such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. The Surrealists’ work challenged the limits of traditional couture and pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable.
During the first decades of the twentieth century, Jacques Doucet was a highly influential French art collector. He admired and collected the work of many famous painters, including Picasso, Braque, and Miro. He also exhibited a wide variety of contemporary works, including some of the most shocking works of art of the age. Aside from fashion, Doucet also admired and collected African sculpture. His collection included pieces by Picasso, Miro, Chardin, and Watteau.
In addition to designing clothes for the wealthy, Doucet also designed costumery for actresses. While he was an avid collector of eighteenth-century art and items, his style and taste emphasized luxury and dignity over practicality. His most original designs were for actresses of his day. His work was often called “sty” by his fans. Despite being a talented fashion designer, Jacques Doucet’s style isn’t wildly popular today.
During his lifetime, Jacques Doucet’s business expanded to three shops in Paris. Initially, it focused on lingerie and menswear, but eventually expanded to include shirts and other women’s clothing. His shirts won the patronage of Emperor Napoleon III, while his shirts also won the favor of His Majesty the King of Bavaria and the Netherlands, and His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Constantin of Russia.
During this time, a great number of women were experimenting with lace, and a variety of other feminine fripperies. Doucet’s clothes, however, were still highly fitted and showed a prominent bosom. His collection also contained a remarkably diverse collection of contemporary art. His designs often featured a variety of eighteenth-century references, including lace, and other embellishments. The most iconic of these creations is the tailleur, which Doucet patented. The tailleur’s introduction of the women’s suit led to the creation of the power suit and the renowned Chanel suits.
The Delphos dress, named after the city of Delphos in Greece, was Fortuny’s signature creation. Inspired by Greek and Roman art, this gown resembled ancient Greek dresses and was made to be worn without a corset. The sexy and loose-fitting garment was popular with transgressive women and was immortalized in Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.
In his later life, Fortuny focused on lighting and stage sets. After studying the lighting of the Bayreuth Festival, he took the design and production of this theatre to a new level. Fortuny then went to Berlin to study the stage lighting system and sold his designs to the German company AEG. He also restructured the private theatre owned by the Countess of Bearn.
The Italian artist and designer met Fortuny in 1894 and they continued to correspond for more than 20 years. In 1897, Fortuny and his wife, Henriette Negrin, met in Venice. The two struck up a friendship and Fortuny became a partner and mentor. They opened a shop in Paris and a store in London. In 1919, Fortuny shifted his studio to the former convent of Giudecca, where he continued his work. Fortuny died in the Venetian Palace in 1949 and is buried in Verano cemetery in Rome.
Fortuny continued to develop his techniques by collaborating with designers of Murano glass. He embellished his Delphos gowns with beads attached to thin silk cords. The beads anchored the dresses in place. Fortuny saw himself as an artist and not a manufacturer. And he was able to create these fabrics in the most unconventional ways. For instance, he designed a dress with a slender waistband and a strapless neckline.
After the French Revolution, Rose Bertin left Paris for London to avoid the Terror, and returned to France in February 1795. She was not popular during the Revolution, which swept her celebrity away and turned French fashion upside down. After the Revolution, Bertin’s style became associated with the excesses of the monarchy, and she faded into obscurity. In 1813, she died in Epinay-sur-Seine, France.
After the French Revolution, Bertin was accused of corruption and was stripped of her title as “Minister of Fashion.” But her reputation was based on her work and her relationship with Marie-Antoinette. The French Revolution eventually brought her down to a life of poverty and shame. Rose Bertin’s work influenced the fashion industry and has been credited with creating the modern day wardrobe. While the reigning monarch was no longer a favored client, she helped create a new era of clothing and fashion.
Rose Bertin was the first well-known fashion designer from France. She was a dressmaker and milliner to Queen Marie Antoinette and helped make France the epicenter of fashion. Although she was born into a modest family, she had a strong sense of ambition and became an apprentice to Mademoiselle Pagelle, one of the most influential women of her time. In addition to Marie Antoinette, Rose Bertin and the Queen were credited with the invention of hats.
The early 1770s saw the rise of the marchandes de modes guild, which rose to prominence in 1776. In 1778, she was elected its first mistress, a testament to her influence and success. This guild began to play an increasingly important role in ordinary dress design, and rose to prominence as the first “Minister of Modes” in 1778. Rose Bertin created fashion in France for a century and a half.