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Here, there, or somewhere else…

October 10, 2011

October 1932, and a crisis is facing the fashion world.

Luckily for us the writers at Britannia & Eve magazine were on hand to demystify matters. (Or make them more complicated. One or the other.)

The issue causing sleepless nights is that no one, but absolutely no one, can decide where the waist should be this season. Should it be high, or low, or somewhere in the middle? Apparently the good couturiers of Paris can’t decide either, and the solution is to have all three levels of waist IN THE SAME DRESS.

“Many clever couturiers,” asserts the magazine, “have made what one might call a ‘compromise waistline’ which is definitely in three places– one around the hips, one at normal, and one above. This requires much cutting and corseting… Molyneux has another method– he attaches the belt at the back in two little notches, leaves the rest of it free, and let it be wrapped about the middle or above, or below, as you like.”

“One house,” declares the magazine, “which made an immense success last season with high waists, keeps them aggressively high in front but lets them drop at the back just enough to suggest that even the highest may fall.” I wonder if they mean something like the example on the right below, which is by Chanel:

“Consider,” muses the magazine, “the tucks at the natural waistline in the dress from Jane Regny…and the false air of high-waistedness lent to the bodice by the cross-over fichu”:

The back of another Jane Regny example:

Then there’s this dress by Bruyere, “where a clever drapery obscures the waist in front, although a belt marks the normal waistline at one side”.

And a similar idea by Patou:

And “last, but not least in importance, is Patou’s six inch drop. An example of his hip-length waist and fitted medieval bodice is shown”:

Or, if you are still undecided, you can apparently “wear an enormous belt about ten inches wide and let people guess. Something like this must be done until the season is in full swing, and until we find that waists are here, there, or somewhere else.”

(You’d be presuming the ten inch belt is their little joke, right- not recalling many pictures of 1930s dresses with whopping 10” belts and everything? But then take a look at these belts featured in the article- and how modern they look with all their multiple straps and buckles!)

Well, I hope that makes everything perfectly clear. (Isn’t is a comfort that fashion was as fickle back in 1932 as it is now?)

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