Getting Dressed

The straighter, slimmer, looser, women’s fashion silhouette of the 1920s not only called for less restrictive clothing than the previous examples, but also less restrictive undergarments.

Although corsets were still present throughout the decade, they were designed to slim a woman’s stomach, hips, and backside in order to give her a less curvy appearance. However, as the decade progressed, women wanted more freedom of movement, both in terms of their place in society and their physical bodies. Corsets were replaced by a combination of other undergarments by the end of the decade.

robe and chemise - front.jpg

Articles of clothing worn in the privacy of one’s home could be just as fashionable as those worn while receiving visitors or out on the town. This dressing gown, or robe, perfectly reflects the Japonisme trend of the 1920s.

In particular, the traditional Japanese kimono, was a popular inspiration for French couture designers, such as Madeleine Vionnet and Paul Poiret. They were particularly inspired by the loose and flowing shape, which seemed to be the perfect response to the restrictive corset. Women could find blouses, dresses, jackets, and accessories that all contained detailed embroidery, hand painted designs, and vibrant color combinations that were derived from kimonos.

robe - back.jpg

While traditional kimono embellishments were symbolic, this robe features a nonspecific floral/nature pattern in pinks, greens, and blues.

The pattern combines images similar to manju kiku (French Marigolds), Maple leaves, and either Pine trees or Paulownia trees, all of which were, and still are, popular kimono motifs.

Getting Dressed