1910… A decade of social change, war, technological advancement and major disasters that continue to fascinate and haunt the modern world… Laying the foundation for the roaring 20’s
Where to start when looking at the style of 1910? We often, regrettably, dismiss this era as being bland, uninteresting and just generally devoid of any real excitement. Therefore we tend to try and race past this era in an effort to get to the 1920’s because that’s where the action is happening!
What people often forget, don’t realise or have blocked out is that this era made getting dirty, being real and the overall grittier side of life look effortless and almost ‘pretty’. As a very quick example – think of the TV show ‘Downton Abbey’, just so elegant, soft, pretty and gentile and yet Season one is set against a backdrop of the sinking of the Titanic and the prelude to the first world war while the Second season sees these gloriously gentle creatures wading headlong into coping with the fall out of that war. So I often like to think that the 1920’s owes it’s ‘hurdy gurdy’ madness and ‘daring do’ attitude to the ground work laid by amazing women and style icons in their own right of the previous decade! Welcome to 1910!
A decade of social change I hear you ask? The suffrage movement was going strong and due to this women were granted the right to vote in most States by 1908 in Australia. Throughout this movement women were offered the opportunity to demonstrated that they had a brain and a voice and were not afraid to use either!
World War I, thanks to the Black Hand and the assassination of The Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 the world was plunged into war. With most men leaving to fight a the ‘front’ women were thrust into roles not traditionally open to them. In factories, running farms, and of course, working as nurses. The latter in particular gave rise to women needing to shorten their hemlines to a far more practical length, oh yes… above their ankles and giving up on overdone hairdos. Women didn’t have the need, interest in or time for frippery, this was time to roll up ones sleeves and get work done!
To the other extreme though we had amazing designers pushing style boundaries such as Paquin, Poiret, Erte, Fortuny along with wonderfully exciting personalities like Irene Castle and for the technology buffs out there, trust me there were a load of amazing advancements that allowed us to have and enjoy the finer things in life like the radio; Bakelite; escalators; teabags; Cellophane; instant coffee; disposable razor blades; the Zipper!
Next post in the 1910 series – Personalities and scandals. In the meantime why not have a look at my 1910 Pinterest board: