The Gilded Age of Fashion: 1890-1914 — French Fashion
In the late 1890s and up to early pre-war 1914, Paris was the centre of the fashion universe for Western Europe and North America. The predominant silhouette in the 1890s and the early part of the twentieth century was the “S-curve”. A newly designed corset pushed the bosom forward and the shoulders and posterior backwards. The skirt was full around the posterior, tapered in around the knee and then flared out like the petals of a flower.
By 1910, the silhouette was leaner and the skirts narrower. Fashion designers cast away the constricting corset and voluminous petticoats were replaced by crêpe de Chine slips.
French fashion magazines like Journal des Dames et des Modes and Gazette du Bon Ton were launched in 1912 and 1914 and circulated to an elite clientele to promote the designs of the top Paris fashion houses. The fashion plates in each issue were coloured by hand.