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Backless Dresses: Then And Now

Before the 20th century, fashion encompassed lackluster designs, based on the purpose of body coverage for busty, full-figured women. Restricting S-shaped figures were the core of every ensemble. Corsets were typical molds, forcing torsos outward to incorporate pigeon style posture. These garbs were made as lengthy wedding themed dresses complete with trains.  The breakout of World War I put a financial strain on wives of deployed soldiers, obligating them to search for ways to replace lost income. This led to increased trade employment for women.  Strict dress code policies requiring women to dress down, along with lack of supplies resulted in women outfitting themselves in pants and other less feminine attire. Even as these simple styles were growing in popularity, designers were busy innovating new trends that would explode onto the fashion scene in the near future.

A Vogue Revolution

Throughout the war, molds were breaking on developments of comfortable apparel conjoint to bolder designs for women. This was essential to the careers of designers, who would have to conform to the strained supply of natural materials such as wool, or fall flat in the industry. The start of this transformation was in 1912. A French designer by the name of Madeleine Vionnet adopted bias cutting to create the concept of body defining attire that complemented a slimmer physique. This “v” cut design along with the growing tan trends of the 1930’s, sparked an innovation of evening gowns and other attire that has held the mark for red carpet glamour for over a century.

The Little Black Dress

Gabrielle Chanel’s theoretical realization of merging class with comfort led her to invent a dress that would become legendary. The little black dress entered the scene in the late 1930’s and delegated the path of Chanel’s undying success. Gabrielle’s science along with Vionnet’s cutting edge ideas were brought together in the fresh backless versions of the outfit often represented as the signature get-up of many stars and characters of that era.

Modernization and Expansion

The plunging back garments of today carry the same fashionable taste as the trends that were cultivated during the last century. They deliver a chic style that adds confidence to your aura, blends with any look or occasion, while incorporating comfort. The present day fashion gurus have taken this conventional idea and reconstructed it, creating a look to spotlight all natures of the industry mainstream. A wide variety of formal and casual backless dresses are available to show contemporary charm, while keeping the vintage essence of beauty:

  • backless-dress1Prom wear – provides a star appeal to a fairy tale motif.
  • The maxi dress –  long flowing, perfect for the work day or a day of boating with friends.
  • Cocktail – the formal party dress.
  • Wedding – the epitome of refinement for bridal bliss, available for bridesmaids as well.
  • The Little Black Dress– (of course) the casual every day, anything dress, but in this style, a party dress too.

There are numerous varieties of these dresses including different sleeve lengths or the spaghetti string look. The halter neck is continually popular as well, meaning a top strap fastens at the back of the neck. Dresses are not the only garments adding sex appeal to the closets of today. The backless impression has converged with the classic top and set the tone for a new sun-worshiping creed. From halter to long sleeve, this new look has become more popular than ever for work and even the nightlife. They can be worn with jeans, leggings, or your favorite skirt. Jumpsuits also add spice to work apparel and club wear, with flowing designs that are celebrity favorites and endorsed by apparel trade artists everywhere.

Support for Today’s Apparel

The gowns of the 1930’s were typically worn minus the bra, due to the tackiness they would bring to the outfit. The straps would have shown across the back of a woman wearing halter style attire. This allowed comfort in early apparel, which is the basis that revolves around low back outfits now. Accommodating its timeless style, trend innovators have created modified forms or under garments that deliver solutions for support issues. Corset-style body suits provide support while creating a flawless silhouette, which is the quiet concern of all who sport the look. Backless brassieres have also made and impression of convenience that adjusts to any bust. Now, women are free to show her beauty with the shape-friendly benefits these articles bring.

backless-dress2Successors of the original fashionistas have added a futuristic spin to a historical and much loved vogue throughout the past hundred years. Chanel and Vionnet continue to grace the catwalk with brilliant versions of the backless style while passing down the ingenious traditions of these fundamental icons. The backless dress is a timeless trend that has adapted to the ever-changing fashion world. 

About Nina Wessels

began her career studying fashion design at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Upon graduating she had the opportunity to work in design for several influential designers. Nina finds inspiration in shapes, architecture and color.

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