Alexander McQueen's 19th-Century Throwback

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? That caged crinoline that was a hit for Sarah Burton's spring/summer 2013 bee-themed collection for Alexander McQueen was a hit with women in the mid 19th century too. Only they wore theirs under their dress, of course.
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New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? That caged crinoline that was a hit for Sarah Burton's spring/summer 2013 bee-themed collection for Alexander McQueen was a hit with women in the mid 19th century too. Only they wore theirs under their dress, of course.

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week.

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At first glance, the cage crinoline appears constricting and oppressive to its wearer. However, the understructure was widely adopted and met with praise in the middle of the 19th century. Previously, women achieved a great expanse in their skirts by layering petticoat upon petticoat, ultimately weighing down the wearer. The cage crinoline, however, was light, flexible and engineered to allow a greater freedom of movement for the wearer. The crinoline could be mass-produced, allowing for a greater number of women to achieve the fashionable silhouette of the period. For Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2013 bee-themed collection, Sarah Burton appropriated the cage crinoline on top of, rather than underneath, the skirt. The collection featured hyper-feminized silhouettes reminiscent of the 19th century and explored ideas of protection, veiling and constraint.

Cage Crinoline, c. 1870. Housed at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cage Crinoline, c. 1870. Housed at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alexander McQueen SS 2013

Alexander McQueen SS 2013

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