Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crinolines in Contemporary Fashion

Elsa Shiaparelli's 1950 dress

In spite of its impracticality, the crinoline has occasionally resurfaced in contemporary fashion. In the post-war period, when traditional female roles were emphasized and female curves were celebrated, Elsa Schiaparelli, Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Fath, Yves Saint Laurent and others created gowns mirroring the influence of the bell-shaped skirts of the Second Empire.

More recently, designers have used the crinoline for inspiration. Vivienne Westwood designed a whole collection called the mini-Crini collection in 1987. John Galliano created a gown in black silk with a skirt nine feet wide in 1998 and Alexander McQueen created this spun-sugar-like shell reinforced by plastic in his 2000 collection for Givenchy.

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy Haute Couture, Spring-summer 2000

And check out this confection from the latest collection of Giles Deacon.

A crinoline is a beautiful object in and of itself and creates a striking sculptural effect. And those that chose to wear them, whether for bridal wear or a fancy dress ball, can swish about in their full skirts celebrating the timeless element of seduction created by a garment with a heightened sense of femininity.