20th Century Fashion Resources
by Lanajean Vecchione


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Fabulous Fifties
Post-war prosperity led to increasing demand for couture designers like Givenchy, Balenciaga, Balmain, and Charles James. Straight slim suits with mid-calf hemlines dominated for day. Evening dresses featured full circle skirts with layers of tulle called crinolines, tight, often strapless bodices, and waistline or breast emphasis. Noted designers included Anne Fogarty, Bonnie Cashin, and Claire McCardell.


Web Sites | Books | Videos


Web Sites about 1950s Fashions and Culture

    Fitted Fifties Finery

      This site is dedicated to tight-fitting Dior looks that became mainstream in the fifties. There are descriptions about Dior books in a section called "book nook," photos of a Dior original for sale, and photos of others the owner can't part with. A must visit for Dior fans.

    Zona: The Girdle Zone

      This stylish site is dedicated to fifties foundation wear. Zona is the Latin word for girdle, and the owner invites you to visit and discuss thoughts and exchange information about this vintage accessory. There are articles, personal memoirs, plenty of images, related links, and trivia.

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Books About 1950s Fashions and Culture

    The 1950'S (Fashion Sourcebooks)


    50s Popular Fashions for Men, Women, Boys and Girls
    by Roseann Ettinger

      A quick reference book that shows what everyday folks wore during the 1950s. In a decade best known for high fashion, it's nice to see that Ettinger has compiled a resource focusing on everything else.

    Fun Fabrics of the 50s
    by Joy Shih

      There's not much text in the book, just page after page of full color textile designs illustrating the molecular inspired prints and other whimsical patterns and colors most likely to appear in clothing and home furnishings. A good quick reference guide.

    Vintage Fashions for Women with Values: The 1950s and 60s
    by Kristina Harris

      While you should always take the "values" part with a grain of salt, the vintage fashion portion ofthis book is heavy on the fifties with some rare sixties paper dresses and lots of text. There's close-up of manufacturer labels, many wonderful hats, and not enough vintage ads and photos. The other photos show great clothes but are modern, use amateur models, and apparently lack the services of a stylist.

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Videos About 1950s Fashion and Culture


      This fun musical starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta captures the essence of the fifties with every style of youth influenced fashions, including pegged pants, poodle skirts, leather jackets, and letter sweaters. Here you¼ll find examples of what both men and women wore in the 1950s across generations. This movie started a trend for fifties vintage wear during the late seventies when it was released.

    Funny Face

      For a more sophisticated look at the fifties, this movie starring Audrey Hepburn had a great influence with clean lines and carefully matched accessories. Featuring the designs of Givenchey, it started a long, mutually supportive relationship between the actress and designer.

    Rebel Without A Cause

      This fifties movie starring icon James Dean embodies the style of motorcycle rising teenage rebels dressed in t-shirts, denim jeans, and leather jackets and boots.

    The Wild One

      In one of his most famous roles, Brando stars as the head of a savage motorcycle gang which terrorizes a small town. He gets his first real chance at a normal and productive life when he falls in love with a young woman who lives there, but a psychotic rival to his position as leader threatens everything.

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