Dresses and Gowns Find Themselves - 1922
Spring and Summer Silhouettes Defined by the Month's Fashion Exhibits
February—the month of fashion festivals! A month marking the crystallization of the trend into observable facts as to lines, colors, fabrics, details.
Leading tendencies resolve themselves into three final silhouettes—the long blouse above a straight line lower section, the long blouse above a draped lower section and the long waist effect introduced as the newer feature of the straight-line, one-piece dress.
These are the most approved of the feature silhouettes offered at the various Fashion Fetes, including the gorgeous pageant offered on the great day when the New York women took over the Biltmore Hotel for Charity.
The changes are interesting, offering a wide choice for both good and challenging figures and present possibilities of grace of line and an interest far beyond those of recent seasons.
Where exhibitors have featured the short skirt in morning or afternoon dress, it has failed to arouse spirited championship for two reasons—first, in that it plainly offers less scope for effective handling of design in the proportions of the figure it necessitates; secondly, it is an old story and thirdly, we have the knickers.
Each designer who has become interested in the low blouse line has found his proportionate demand for skirt length or a grotesque result for his labors. So it would seem that the squabble is about at an end, with the result easily predicted from the beginning.
It is now possible for those who see grace plus smartness in the long skirt to enjoy it within the mode and for those who, for two particularly good reasons, insist upon short ones to be happy so be-skirted.
After close study of the Commodore and Astor Shows, week after week of the Plaza Fashion Interludes by Hickson and the exotic show at the Biltmore, the adjustment of every woman to her own skirt length seems to have been accomplished and a serious matter very neatly disposed of.
The great variety of new textures in both silk and wool have significantly aided in the creation of highly effective and interesting day frocks. These may submit a lower section of wool and an upper half of crepe or silk; the recent mode of a plain and plaid edition of the same fabric or the completed dress with cape or paletot in one texture.
Each of them has achieved a niche of independent worth in recent seasons and are made additionally interesting this year by the vogue of the cape which by its flash of lining promotes vigorous decorative details upon the frock.
Trimmings incline to narrow vertical inset lines of plain color upon figured, checked or plaid contrasts; of braiding in infinite variety; of tiny lines of buttons, discs or rings in metal, bone, leather or passementerie; of inlays of self-fabric or strong contrasts; of applique patterned in bold or discreet patterns. Paisley, if anything, is on the increase and presents many delightful variations.
The sleeve question, like that of the skirt, is one left open to the decision of individual taste as perhaps never before in the history of dress. The wide square model is deftly treated to new variations at the wrist by the narrow set on cuff; it is still rounded down at the back in a huge bell; it is opened on its inner seam, narrowing into a close upper section; it may be long, tight and pointed to the fingertip; it may slip away to nothing but a cap; it may vanish altogether.
The one flashing suggestion of fresh interest is yielded by the Japonesque for both afternoon and evening gowns.
The introduction of length is, to a large degree, achieved by three methods—first, by the draped line from shoulder to hip, on the oblique, both back and front or below the smooth medieval bodice and drawn to one side by way of the chou or sash ends.
A second treatment in favor is that of the smooth bodice with irregular fulled panels of chiffon, net, crepe, lace or beaded detail, a handling which usually leaves the short under slip fully visible in front and back.
The third method promotes the deeply pointed, scalloped or square tab edge in a long and short variation. This effect is usually given a sash drapery which may vary as to position—either side, front or side back, equally effective.
Long Skirts: Hemlines remain largely uneven; squared, curved or pointed tabs; square, oblique, curved and pointed trains.
A surprising interest in paneled sections; in overlapping of narrow irregular sections; in the form which offers the jabot from shoulder to hem; turned under at the hem in narrow, wide and medium effects.
Increasing interest in clinging draperies, for both afternoon and evening, in square cut sidelines or involved and tapering to the ankle.
Dark cloths slashed over light slips.
Deeply gathered yokes of straight line models.
Short Skirts: Front godets; side godets; paneled, pleated inserts; yoke pleats unpressed below; overlapping curved panels; handkerchief points for dancing frocks massed in graduated effects.
The straight gathered skirt. Bouffant variations.
Sleeves: Increasing interest in the Japonesque line for both day and evening. Paneled sleeves. Medieval sleeves. Umbrella flounces. Elbow and shoulder caps. Deeply pouffed effects. Balloon sleeves. Long smooth lines. Mousquetaires. No sleeves.
Necklines: Victorian, bateau, square, oval, the upstanding peasant collar and the V décolletage.
Braids increase in usage; ribbons offered in myriad forms; beaded effects more skillfully achieved and approved in popular to highest priced productions; fine lines of color with parallels of lame cleverly contrived; all shades of red lend vivacious charm to both sports and formal daywear.
Evening dress finds lame, silk, wool and thread laces increasingly important; floral rosettes or in corsage form more in favor than garlands; the side sash draped or conventional much used, also deeply fringing effects.
“Dresses and Gowns Find Themselves: Spring and Summer Silhouettes Defined by the Month's Fashion Exhibits,” in The American Cloak and Suit Review: Devoted to the Women’s and Children’s Ready-to-Wear Trades, New York: John M. O’Connor & Co., Vol. XXIII, No. 3, March 1922, p. 128.
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