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Let’s do the timewarp again

August 25, 2008

It may be slightly premature, but I’m looking ahead to Autumn now, and thinking about for ways to whip my autumn wardrobe into shape, wondering what clothes to make that will look modern while being classic enough that I’m not going to spend hours making something that looks dated in a year’s time.

Trawling through the different stores and sites online it occurred to me how difficult it is sometimes to actually pinpoint exactly what about a garment makes it look “now”. Sometimes it’s the subtle cut of a garment that simply affects the way it skims the body. Sometimes it’s the colour- certain shades are very “of a season”. But what I can’t help noticing at the moment is just how many influences from fashion history and particularly the 1910s to 1930s there are about for Autumn/Winter 2008. Care to time walk with me and examine the evidence?

Sleeve volume seems to be a major trend. Very 1930s. Spot the sleeve difference between this movie still from the 1939 set film Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and the grey Chloe cardigan for Autumn winter 2008. (I’m slightly wary of using a still of a modern film to illustrate 1930s costume, as I realise a designer will tweak things to suit our modern sensibilities. But I think this is pretty accurate. And it’s a lovely silk. And it’s a fun film.)

Remember when I wrote about my Vogue 1935 pattern book (which said big sleeves were in)? Check out the similarities between this 1935 design and Vogue’s pattern 1056 below, which is new for this season:



Then there’s some elegant late 1920s/early 1930s draping. Cardigan by Phase Eight. Illustration below it from a vintage pattern for a 1931 Parisienne Coat reproduced by Decades of Style:


I’m happy to see the trend towards tunic tunic length knitwear, hugging the bust and flaring out like in this design by Paul Poiret from 1912, and brought up to date in Rowan knitting magazine 44:

Or loose-sleeved and layered over another garment with longer sleeves,as shown by Poiret, and in a design from Rowan magazine 44:

Then there’s this free vintage knitting pattern courtesy of A Good Yarn for a 1920s sweater. But how current the sleeves and length and streamlined silhouette are!

The late 1940s/1950s are still very much in evidence, especially in the fitted jackets which are all over the place and very New Look. Here is Hobbs’ Rhoda jacket for Autumn/WInter 2008 and below it Dior’s new Corolle line suit from 1947:


And then it’s all in the details, like the early 20s collar and sleeves of this jumper by Toast:

And the 40s style shoulders and gathering of this dress from Coast:

And then……[At this point the writer’s brain short circuited at the countless other examples and possibilities and her fingers had to be prised away from the keyboard and she had to be dosed with strong coffee…]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2008 8:35 pm

    How clever of you to notice all of these, I love cuts and styles from that era, and its nice not to look too odd walking down the street : ) Your last paragraph really made me laugh. Have you seen ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’? Any good?

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