The magazine “Illustrated Reality” publishes in the pages of number 204 of December 25, 1930, an extensive fashion article about how women should dress to be “on trend”. The tone of the article isInquiry quite sharp, and on careful reading one can see a rather severe criticism of women, who preferred luxury and opulence, instead of simplicity and emphasizing natural beauty.
“It would seem to be a belief rooted in the spirit of many coquettes that simplicity can do no good housekeeping in any case with elegance in the art of dressing. Women with a rather large budget are especially convinced of this wrong idea, who are attracted, in a big fashion house, by everything that is more expensive, more luxurious and ready-made and calculated by skilled premieres (seamstresses no).
If all these coquettes who want to be chicly dressed would only put a little effort into it, they would discover that nothing enhances the figure more, does not bring out the harmonious gait, the grace of the movements, like simplicity”, wrote the author of the article which, the more likely to protect himself from future criticism, he signed only with the first name, “Laura”.
“Simplicity has begun to rule”
The author supported her ideas by appealing to history, to Greek, Roman and French, which dictated fashion everywhere throughout countless centuries.
“On the other hand, the simple line, adored by the great Greek and Roman beauties, then by the seductive ‘merveilleuse’ of the French Empire, where fashion was dictated everywhere, proved the truth of these statements. Going beyond the era of loaded ornaments, the fashion of today’s century draws its inspiration from the same source and in the truly aristocratic salons, where simplicity began to rule”.
A new watchword in fashion: simplicity
In 1930 it was not easy to be a woman who appreciates good taste though, education was required. The prerogative of simplicity and good taste was reserved only for women who did not want to raise discreet smiles, the others, the “one-day millionaire artists”, had to shine. But the true elegance of the day was defined by simplicity.
“Of course, it is only about the world where the woman wants to dictate good taste and distinguished coquetry, and not about the world of those who want to shock, amaze, often raising discreet smiles, with antics of the most intense pomp.
In this world of artists, overnight millionaires, to appear, to shine, is a vital condition and here the cascades of feathers, bracelets up to the elbow, frills up to the waist, necklaces up to the waist, are imposed by themselves. So, let’s summarize: today’s fashion of true elegance has launched a watchword, simplicity, and with it the beautiful woman, with a harmonious body, sets out in a sure-to-win battle”.
The clothes that were supposed to transform the woman into a princess for a day
But what did simplicity and elegance mean in the mid-interwar period? How could a woman highlight her beauty? What clothes to go for? What fabrics should they be made of? What were the colors of simplicity and elegance? What shoes were they supposed to wear? The author of the article answers succinctly and firmly to all these questions.
“Skirts tight on the body, down to the knees, finished with invisible staples, finished with frills ‘en forme’ that give the woman the appearance of a flower corolla, simple fabrics, like satin-crepe, or crepe de chine, georgette veil, small capes that turn a woman into a princess for a day, low necklines, low all the way in the back… Crepe de chine shoes, in the shade of the toilet, here is evening fashion. The simple fabric is beautifully cut, gracefully draped by a skilled hand, and the elegance stands out. As for afternoon dresses, visits, tea, what ragged toilet can beat the symphony of black and white, the pattern of which we give here?
Accompanied by the small round ball sleeve, which is the latest expression of fashion, any walk-in toilet takes on a new touch of elegance. Made of two skins of fur, as well as its coat or lining, the modern sleeve unites the useful with the pleasant, which is not so often found in the decrees of fantasy and fashion”.
In the interwar period, although having comfortable cuts, the clothes represented a standard of wealth, the wealthy being quite concerned with being fashionable, including the new clothes from abroad.