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A hundred years of fashion - part 1

Marilyn Monroe, image via Wikimedia CommonsFashion is ever-changing, and generally we've reached a point where people aren't judged for the clothes they wear, and instead we celebrate unique and individual fashion choices.

That being said, it has been a long journey to this point, and this week we wanted to celebrate some of the biggest fashion moments of the last 100 years, just to show how far fashion has come. Our list (which we’ll separate into two parts) includes the empowering, and the quirky, but never the dull. We may not realise how much we owe to what has come before us.

Marlene Dietrich as Mademoiselle Amy Jolly (1930)

After World War 1, women’s fashion in general became a lot more androgynous, mainly due to women filling in typically male roles while men were off fighting in the war; as such, the early 20th century saw leaps and bounds for women’s rights movements.

One of the earliest examples of women proving they could do anything as well as men was in the 1930 film Morocco, in which Marlene Dietrich, playing the role of Amy Jolly, donned a three-piece suite, black polished shoes, a top hat and a cigarette in hand. She perfectly wore an outfit that, up until that point, had been considered completely male – proving that clothing knows no gender boundaries.

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955)

When you hear the name Marilyn Monroe, chances are the first thing you think of is her standing over a subway grate, trying to keep her white dress from blowing over her head.

This iconic moment comes from the Billy Wilder film The Seven Year Itch, and it’s endured so well because of how fun and flirty it is, something a lot of people think of when they think of Marilyn Monroe, and the dress plays a huge role in how people mentally visualise the image; it’s as famous as the pose.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany'sAudrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

One of the most iconic fashion moments of all time has to be Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, especially with her oversized cigarette holder and her hair in a chignon. It is especially well known for popularising the Little Black Dress, the item of clothing designed by Givenchy that Audrey Hepburn wears at the beginning of the movie.

It’s true that little black dresses were popular before 1961, especially as it was designed by Coco Chanel and published in an issue of Vogue, but it would be difficult to find many who would disagree that Audrey Hepburn made it seem possible that the level of elegance she displayed in the film was attainable by anyone.

Ursula Andress in Dr No (1967)

It is unbelievable to think that the bikini was first showcased in a Paris fashion show in 1946, afterwards it spent a couple of decades as a relatively taboo item of clothing, that is, of course, until the iconic beach scene in Dr No.

The scene sees Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder dressed in a white two-piece bikini with an army belt and clutching a large knife emerging from the sea (a scene that has now become a trope in James Bond films). This was such an important moment because it came at the beginning of the birth of sexual revolution in the 1960s; women were taking more control over their own bodies and their outfits they were wearing, and the scene led to bikini and two-piece sales skyrocketing!

Princess Diana’s wedding dress (1981)

If you remember the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Charles, Prince of Wales, there are probably three words going through your head: 25-foot train. Often considered one of the most closely guarded secrets of all time, Princess Diana’s wedding dress is now one of the most iconic wedding dresses ever.

The dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and set the trend for wedding dresses that came after including large puffed sleeves and full skirts. It’s strange to think that they would have gone with a back-up dress if the one worn had been revealed before the wedding!

There we have the first half of our biggest fashion moments, in part 2 we will look at the 90s and the dawn of the 21st century to see how wacky clothing became more acceptable. If you have a favourite fashion moment we haven’t mentioned, let us known in the comments, or on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Alternatively, you could browse out gorgeous handbags and purses and create your own fashion moment!

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