TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
Belle Époque （美好年代）被後人稱為最繁榮快樂的幸福時光，也是所謂的「黃金時代」，在這個時代下的女人，穿戴著蓬軟的袖子、流蘇、羽飾，還有張顯著社會經濟地位的皮草，在風靡一時的 Art Deco 藝術風格中揮霍著流金歲月與紙醉金迷的浮華人生。打扮著類似於高級訂製服之父 Charles Frederick Worth 的全盛時期風格，以極致的 S 體型為時尚範本，為了是將女人身形達到挺直與纖細的束腹因此朔為潮流。即便是1920年代 Coco Chanel 擺脫了當時Corset (束腰) 的流行，主張起黑色造型，但事實上並沒有對當時的社會風氣帶來太大的改變，直到二戰的爆發，為擺脫女性柔軟嬌氣的形象，要負擔起社會經濟與工業製作的女人們在工作中加入了墊肩的設計，筆直沒有曲線的身形也讓女性更加舒適便利性。這波鼓勵讓女性形象變得更加中性化，也被認為是推動女權運動的開端。
戰爭的結束似乎造成了一股極致反撲，Christian Dior 於時發布了經典「New Look」系列，此系列強調著8字型的束腰輪廓，凸顯著女性曲線，完全推翻了戰爭時期平坦腰線的形象，甚至這樣的形象被當時正在解放女性身體與放鬆版型的 Coco Chanel 批為「女權意識的倒退」。這樣的改變讓現今的我們目睹了社會在經過一段極致後展現的反轉面貌，戰爭之下卑微的安全需求蕩然無存，美的形式已不存在，一切歸為原點的務實化引發戰後對於美的宣洩反轉，而這些改變都是淺移默化的，也如同即繁主義之下帶來的極簡主義，甚至是藝術史當中18世紀的浪漫主義藝術形式緊接著寫實主義，寫實主義接著抽象性現代主義，再任何形式下帶來的巔峰伴隨著顛覆的聲音落幕，審美隨著社會認知而改變，社會的進步也之於著極端的想法意識，去激發、去碰撞、去推翻。
直到1960，女性意識又逐漸提升，曾被迪奧先生認定的設計天才 Yves Saint Laurent 帶來了嶄新的時尚新風貌，也就是 Le Smoking 吸菸裝的誕生。Smoking 一詞為上流社會男士在晚餐後會把燕尾服換裝成無尾西裝，在吸菸室中談論時事、藝術文學等相關話題。Le Smoking 除了為女性帶來氣勢感的墊肩設計外，西裝褲裝也成為了時尚歷史中不可抹滅的經典。即便當時社會風氣女人仍穿著裙裝，還造成 Le Smoking 被譴責與評論驚世駭俗的設計，但大膽打破常規的意識下不只間接證明了女性於社會受到的不公平規範，同時也為女性建構出強而有力的女性形象。Saint Laurent 創辦人之一的 Pierre Bergé 曾經說過：「如果香奈兒讓女性自由，那麼聖羅蘭 Yves Saint Laurent 則是賦予她們力量。」
在 Le Smoking 吸菸裝的啟發下，女性思潮開始逐漸龐大，像是在說著，如果男人可以為什麼我不行？我穿我喜歡，並不是為了取悅男性。種種思維隱含著女性主義的高漲，在風格設計的想法中聽見不同的聲音。Dior 現任創意總監 Maria Grazia Chiuri 就是以行動提升時尚界的女權意識，即便他的女權口號直白且張揚，像是直言不諱地將秀場與服裝上印有 “We Should All Be Feminists” 等標語口號，但這樣的策略也真實的與時代接軌，女權的標籤也同樣為品牌到來了商業業績，畢竟說到底時尚行業的本質還是一門生意。除此之外 Maria Grazia Chiuri 的作法也訴說著女性主義成為了一種主流，並不屬於小社會的話題，而是清楚、大膽地要上檯面。
說到時裝的演進，女性穿著西裝已然成為了一種常態，精緻正裝與正式的品牌服裝也漸漸的被街頭潮流給取代，90年代與千禧世代的嘻哈文化讓時尚不僅只是上流社會的代表而是一般大眾也可觸及的一部分，說到此不得不提到現任 Vogue 主編 Anna Wintour 在1988 年為模特穿上一件一萬多塊美金的 Christian Lacroix 上衣配上數十塊美金的 GUESS 牛仔褲登上雜誌封面，此作法受到當時時尚圈的大反彈，畢竟在那個年代封面必須得「高級」，而 Anna Wintour 的時尚遠景說明著，隨性潮流必定會成為趨勢。最後在時裝的百年演進中，看到的不只是更迭，更是在混沌的大環境中尋找自我，無性別時尚同是如此演進而來，畢竟在我們高呼著女權的同時，男人也在摸索著「做自己」。現今沒有一種時尚是對與錯，時尚相互包容著各種群體，換句話說，時尚文化依然走在時代最前端，用有形的服飾與看似膚淺的皮囊表象訴說著當今社會的走向，如果你想了解未來大時代，那就讀讀時尚吧！
Our editor has always liked the saying, fashion is life. This saying not only explains the evolution of style and fashion, but also captures the changes of time and the turmoil of society. It may sound very broad, and yet the truth is, it is rather specific. Fashion is about the clothing, the bags, the beauty and even the symbol that defines one’s social class. It is as if we are trying to find a set of truth underneath the superficial appearances. Perhaps fashion can’t change the past, let alone the present, but it can touch upon different ideas to create more sparks. So let us reflect on the moments in history, in which the feminine spirit had successfully broken conventions.
The Ultimate Rebuttal
Known as the most glorious period of time, Belle Époque is also known as the Golden Age. Women living in this era often wore clothes with puffy sleeves, fringes, feathers and fur coats that marked the wearer’s social status. It was the perfect manifestation of the golden, drunkening years of the popular Art Deco style. The women of Belle Époque were dressed in a way that resembled the style of Charles Frederick Worth, the father of Haute Couture, who was known for setting the S body shape as the fashion model with the use of corsets that highlights the beautiful shape of the female body. Back in 1920, even though Coco Chanel strayed away from the trend of corsets and focused more on the color black, it didn’t bring much change to the social atmosphere of society. In fact, real change didn’t happen until the start of World World II. In order to get rid of the soft, delicate image of females, women who were responsible for the economy and industrial design were given clothes with extra shoulder pads. These straight, non-curved structures also added comfort and convenience. This change encouraged a more gender neutral image for women and was considered as the beginning of the feminist movement.
When the war was over, a new trend appeared. Launched the iconic “New Look” in 1947, Christian Dior offered a collection that featured round shoulders, a cinched waist and very full skirt—a style that celebrated the curves of the female body. A complete rebuttal towards the flat waistline look during the war, this new outlook was attacked by Coco Chanel for dragging women back to the 19th century ideals where women were objectified by men. This change allows us to see how fashion trends are often reversible. Like the birth of minimalism after the rise of extravagance, or the trend of 18th century romanticism followed by realism and abstract modernism, all these changes showcase the rise and fall of each trend and how they are all connected as one. The progress of society also relies upon the extremity of ideas that continues to inspire, clash and change one another.
Until 1960, feminism was still going through a slow rise. Verified by Monsieur Dior as a genius of design, Yves Saint Laurent redefined the meaning of fashion with the launch of Le Smoking. Smoking was an activity where upper class men would change from tailcoats to tuxedos after dinner and share their opinions on topics like current affairs, art and literature in the smoking room.
Le Smoking not only incorporated the empowering shoulder pads, but also marked the dress suit attire as one of the all-time classics. With skirts and dresses being the only acceptable female attire, Le Smoking was considered as a condemnation for its shocking design. However, it also proved the unfair treatment women were facing due to social norms and established this empowering, independent image of femininity. Just like the co-founder of Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé, once said, “If Chanel liberated women, then Saint Laurent gave them power.”
(Photo source: Internet)
With the start of the Le Smoking tuxedo suit, womanism thoughts began to grow, as if they were asking, if men can wear this, why can’t we ? We should be able to wear what we like and not what men want to see. All these thoughts implied the rise of feminism, while different voices were being voiced by the styles and designs. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current creative director of Dior, is the perfect example of someone who is taking action to support feminist awareness in the fashion industry. Even though her slogans are always direct and publicizing—like bluntly printing “We Should All Be Feminists” on clothes and runway displays—her strategy aligns with the reality of our time. The label of feminism also created positive commercial performance for the brand, which proves that the essence of the current fashion industry is also a business. Nonetheless, Chiuri’s approach showcases that feminism has become a major trend that is not a topic for small discussions, but an issue that needs to be voiced clearly and boldly.
The Era of Fashion
Speaking of the evolution of ready-to-wear, women wearing blazers had already become a norm. Delicate formal wear is slowly being replaced by street fashion. ’90s fashion and Gen Z’s hip hop culture had transformed fashion into something that is not merely a symbol of the upper class, but also an entity that is approachable even for the general public.
Remember when the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, styled her first covergirl with a Christian Lacroix top and a pair of GUESS jeans back in 1988? As soon as the issue was released, it received major backlash from the fashion industry because “luxury” was the major trend. Wintour’s choice was ahead of her time and it only predicted how streetstyle will eventually become the new trend. And lastly, in the hundred year history of ready-to-wear, not only do we see changes, but also the need to find our true self in this tumultuous world. In the same way, genderless fashion is also rising because while we are chanting the slogans of feminism, men are also going through self-exploration. There really is no right or wrong when it comes to fashion; it accepts all kinds of people. In other words, the culture of fashion is the forefront of our era as the tangible clothing tells the trends of today’s society. So if you wish to understand the future era, try “reading” fashion!
(Photo source: Internet)