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The Gilded Age of Fashion: 1890-1914 — French Fashion


Journal des Demoiselles. (no.5168)
May 1, 1898.
Paul Deferneville.

Artist Paul Deferneville captured the dress and bonnet styles of the late 1890s in this colour illustration.

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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.

Continue to next section: Pochoir Fashion Plates  > >

fashion plate from magazine

Journal des Dames et des Modes. (plate 15)
August 10, 1912.
George Barbier.

This beach dress made of raw silk could be accessorized with a red suede hat.

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fashion plate from magazine

Gazette du Bon Ton: Art, Modes & Frivolités. (plate 14)
February 1914.
Bernard Boutet de Monvel.

This afternoon dress was designed by the House of Worth, the first of the great Paris fashion houses, owned by Charles Frederick Worth and carried on by his sons after his death in 1895.

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