In the 1930’s, the Great Depression had a compromising effect on fashion.

People h ad to strike a balance between maintaining the feminine look and elegant designs . Haute Couture fashion, during this period, showcased more romantic designs. Wais t lines returned and the hems became longer. The bust outline re-appeared and th e backless evening gowns and slim fitting day dresses once again gained populari ty. But as the war years set in, the world of fashion came crashing down. Designer w ear had been replaced by a utility range of clothing. The 1940’s During this decade, the Second World War was on, and being frivolous was not acc eptable. People had to live within their means. Being an era of war, people most ly wore uniforms. Women of such a time had to make do with whatever they had been given. Nothing w as to be wasted. They were expected to use whatever they could lay their hands o n, even if it were parachute silk. Women wore trousers for the sake of convenience. Boxy jackets and tops with nipp ed in waists and skirts were the on-going trends. Designer wear was not promoted during this time, due to the financial constraints. Hairstyles were simple yet glamorous. During the day, hair was kept covered with a scarf. Curls were the way to go during this decade! Since this decade was so financially constrained, the government encouraged prod ucers to bring out a utility range of clothing. Wastage of any material was forb idden. Pockets were discouraged and men’s turn-up trousers were banned. Back then, wearing uniforms were considered extremely trendy. Hence, many people wore thei r uniforms to special events and ceremonies. At times like this, the ‘Made In China’ label would have been a brilliant replacemen t for designer wear! The 1950’s The 1950’s was an era of growth, capitalism, conservatism and anti-communalism. Th e Wars were over and the world was getting back on track. This decade saw the re turn of designer wear and fabulous new styles. Everything was changing. The lifestyle of the people was being revived. And so w as Haute Couture. The fashion trends at this time were greatly influenced by mus ic and movie idols. The luxury of fashion couture was taken to its extremes. Haute couture had a new form of femininity to it. Clothes were more predictable and women wore scarlet lips and fingernails. Dior’s new styles encouraged corseted waists, softer shoulders and longer skirts held in place by fitted petticoats. During this decade, corsets were an extremely important part of a woman’s wardrobe , helping their figure the ideal 8 hour glass shape (This often helped them in r eceiving marriage proposals). Strapless brassieres were used more often, as dre sses were now preferred strapless. Designs and styles of this time were made to remind women that they were women. Clothes were extremely feminine and elegant. Women enjoyed the luxury of fashion , after years of deprivation. Clothes designed during the ‘50s, even for the commo

ners, were glamorous and fashionable. Skirts, sweaters and full circle skirts were the order of the day back in the ‘50s . Marilyn Monroe was a great influence on the women and James Dean for the men. There were cocktail dresses with corolla bosoms, shocking pink colours, and des igns by the American, Charles James. Fashion design by Dior included double apro n day dresses, hugely bloused tops in the style of an artist s smock, very tight skirts, and Peter Pan collars.(And now, 6 decades later, these fashion trends h ave returned!). Other fashionable styles included pinafore dresses with polo nec k jumpers, and for secretaries, crisp white blouses and some sensible but elegan t shoes. Leotards with long circular skirts and stoles, corduroy smocks and knickerbocker suits were appreciated by everyone during this decade. People in the art community preferred baggy clothes such as raincoats and over-s ized sweaters, or chic suits, pressed or wrinkled. The fashion forward women of this time, wore luxuriously feminine, low necked ev ening dresses, or boned strapless dresses in taffetas, lace, nets, tulle, chiffo n, satin and sometimes nylon. The 1960’s This decade belonged to the youth of that time. Hippies and Mods revolted agains t several fashion houses. Fashion had been internationalized by everyone. People shopped in London and Paris, as easily as they did in New York and Rome. The richer sections of society began to accept other forms of fashion couture, n ot just Parisian. Even now, the French are most reckoned with fashion couture de signs and styles, but back in the ‘60s, they did not hold the right to haute coutu re fashion. At the start of this decade, fashion trends were mostly the ones carried on from the ‘50s. They were more suited for older people. But eventually, the fashion bec ame more bold and colourful. Fashion design clothes were now sold in little shop s called boutiques and the world of fashion had turned a new leaf! During this time, the skirts became shorter and eventually, by 1965, the mini sk irt had been introduced. This is how the quintessential girls and feminine look of the ‘60s evolved. Fashion design clothes were slim line and tubular dresses tha t gave way to flared skirts and then the tentative beginnings of the A-line skir t starts to emerge. Dresses and skirts of all lengths, mini or maxi, had been gr eatly accepted by the world, and they remained in fashion till the mid ‘70s. With skirts and dresses getting shorter, stocking went out of fashion and instea d tights became popular. The fashion statement of the ‘60s was neat, uncluttered a nd long legged. But by the end of this decade, hems began to fall again due to t he hippie movement. Along with this, bolder colours and psychedelic patterns wer e introduced for both men and women! Designers such as Mary Quant, boutiques such as Biba and Miss Mouse, and celebri ties like Twiggy played major roles in promoting the new, more colourful and bol d fashion trends that resonated through the world. In the 1996 April edition of Time Magazine, London was named the heart of the wo rld of fashion. Being fashionable became related to the rapidly changing social, economic and aesthetic surroundings of that time. And the central role it playe d out, not just on Carnaby Street which holds a vast of history of fashion desig n, but the sixties pop culture as well.