This era saw the beginnings of modern fashion as we know it. Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 brought in a new era that was quickly tested by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This was also the era of the Woman’s Suffrage movement leading to the beginning of the 20th-century era of Women’s liberation. These ideals were seen in the changing clothing styles of the time, as such this period in time was a real transition period between the buttoned-up and corseted Victorian styles and the free-flowing Jazz Age styles of the 1920s.
La Belle Epoque was a period lasting from the 1870s to 1914. It was a period of great peace and as a result, the arts flourished. La Belle Epoque was centered around Paris and in this portrait, French-Italian artist Frederic Soulacroix celebrates the elegant styles of the later part of the period.
Alphonse Mucha was one of the leading figures of the Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau was a style of art that focused on reproducing dynamic natural forms. Alphonse Mucha designed many commercial posters and his female models are often dressed in naturalistic simplistic styles. Although this portrait doesn’t accurately portray the styles of the time, it still showcases the elegant and flowing simplicity of the fashions.
Philip Alexius de Laszlo was a Hungarian painter who became a well-known portrait artist of royal and aristocratic subjects. In this portrait of Mrs. George Owen Sandys, she is depicted in a typical evening dress from the time. In the 1910s the female silhouette became softer and fluid reflecting an interest in oriental designs.
This portrait shows the typical styles of the 1900s. With the decline of the bustle following the Victorian period, puffed sleeves became fashionable. Corsets still remained and they were in the stylish S-shape which pushed the bust forward.
Edmund Charles Tarbell was an impressionist painter, in this portrait of Mrs. Lawrence she is depicted wearing an evening gown from the early 1910s. It perfectly demonstrates how the fashions of this time were far more flowing than those of the previous era.
Frieda Countess Logothetti wears a gorgeous red dress from the early 1910s. The loose v-neck style was a key aspect of the styles of the time. The skirt is covered with a rose design and the two parts are connected by a rosette that lies in the middle of the waist.
This portrait of Euthymia Nosova demonstrates the influence oriental styles had on this period of fashion. She was a Russian woman who wears a dress by noted Russian Fashion designer Nadezhda Lamanova. Notably, it was actually the Ballet Russes that popularised this fashion after their production of Scheherazade, also known as The Arabian Nights.
Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark was an American born heiress who married into the Greek Royal Family. In this portrait painted in 1914, she wears an evening dress with a string of pearls and a diadem.
In this portrait, the Countess de la Maitrie wears a typical Equestrian outfit for the period. The outfit is a three-piece suit and is an example of how many women were wearing quite masculine clothes in this era.
Lilla Cabot Perry was a female Impressionist artist in this artwork the subject is a young lady wearing a pastel-colored evening dress. The dress has a long train and is adorned with decorative elements.
Mrs. Ernest Guinness wears a dark emerald green evening dress with a v neck and a train. The top part is covered in sheer fabric and she wears a matching feather in her hair.