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The early decades of the twentieth century saw a growing emancipation in the lives of women; they were more independent, athletic, and mobile.  Fashion reflected these changes in society and by 1907 many Parisian couturiers were presenting silhouettes that were very modern; tunic-like silhouettes, exotic inspirations, and (most importantly) corset-free. The ideal woman of these years was stauesque, thin, and youthful.  Here are three figures who personified the ideal and were, of course, dressed to the nines.

1. Isadora Duncan

American Isadora Duncan was an iconic artist whom many consider to the mother of modern dance. She shunned the rigidity of formal ballet, and instead chose to explore the drama of the human body through emotional expressions.  Duncan always performed barefoot in loose classical-style tunics wearing no undergarments. Her nude body was clearly visible through her modern draperies; she shocked and mesmerized audiences on both sides of the Atlantic . Duncan was a fashion plate offstage, and was particularly fond of Mario Fortuny's pleated Delphos dresses.  Her love of fashion ultimately contributed to her death- she was strangled by her silk skarf while driving her convertible.  The skarf was caught in the wheels of her car and she died in 1927.

2. The Gibson Girl

Although she was only a drawing, The Gibson Girl was featured in advertisements of all kinds at the turn of the century.  Charles Dana Gibson's feminine ideals were tall and thin, with a carefree and youthful attitude.  Often sketched in the company of men, she not only is at ease in their company, but appears as their equal.  The Gibson Girl was also a fashion icon; she was often dressed in menswear inspired ensembles, and although she was corseted she was always pictured outdoors and athletic.

3. Dolores

Dolores began her career as a house model for the house of Lucile (run by the magnificent Lady Duff Gordon).  Her haughty demeanour, long physique, and glamorous good looks made her a star; Lady Duff Gordon once said she was the best model she had ever seen.  During the teens, Lucile Ltd. began costuming the Ziegfeld Follies in New York and Dolores was soon gracing the stage of these spectacular revues.  She enchanted audiences at the Follies with her slinky walk, and eventually retired from the stage to marry a millionaire.

“Amazing, how a single person can shape a style. Thank you for introducing me to these women!”
Posted over 6 years ago
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