celebrating
100
years of fashion

Vintage  Fashion  and  Art

 showcasing

100

Years of Fashion

 

1930s Dresses (click on image to learn about the dress)

Great innovations in fashion were seen during the Depression despite the economic hardships of the time. The abbreviated, linear forms of the 1920s quickly gave way to sinuous shapes and longer hemlines. Waistlines returned to the natural position, while remaining relaxed in fit. Designers experimented with new cuts and new materials. For evening, the bias cut gown was favored (as created by Madeleine Vionnet) in silk velvet or silk satin. Synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon were in common use for everyday garments.

After 1935, zippers were employed as a more efficient alternative to labor-intensive hook-and-eye closures. Indeed, in the hands of prestigious houses such as Schiaparelli they became design elements. Costume jewelry, popularized by Chanel’s signature faux pearl strands, became an accessory staple. By 1938, small shoulder pads had become fashionable, heralding the shoulder emphasis of the 1940s. This, in spite of the Depression, was another grand era for Haute Couture. Lanvin, Molyneux, Mainbocher, Patou and Maggy Rouff all had active fashion houses as did Vionnet, Chanel and Schiaparelli.

The movies influenced how women dressed and what they thought about fashion.

It was not uncommon for designers such as Gilbert Adrian and Irene to make their names in Hollywood’s film industry. Women clamoured to look like their screen idols. This desire prompted many Hollywood couturiers to produce clothing for the mass market via department stores or their own collections. The Hollywood phenomenon also spread to Europe. Exemplified by the white satin bias cut dresses as worn by Jean Harlow, the Hollywood look featured dramatic lines that played best to camera. The full length garden party dress with picture hat, the striking wool suit with portrait fur collar, the grand negligee – these were all part of the Hollywood in the 1930s look as well.

Written by The Vintage Fashion Guild

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1930s Womans evening dress in three parts (overdress, skirt, and belt), Valentina 

from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

1930 Madeleine Vionnet 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1930 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s inspired dress but probably made in the 1970s, Cream and Tan with Beading, Excellent Condition and stylish! This is my favorite dress and I'm so sad that it wasn't made in the 1930s, but it definitely has that look and feel. It is correctly dated in the 1970s though as there is a union label that comes from the early 1970s. $49.99 Vintage Fashion and Art

1930s Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Paul Poiret Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 to 31 Jeanne Lanvin Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Chanel Evening dress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

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1930 Coco Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

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1930 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 to 31 Madeleine Vionnet Lbl Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 to 31 Madeleine Vionnet Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Lucien Lelong Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932-34 Jean Patou 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1932-34 Boue Soeurs Court presentation dress

 Metropolitan Museum of Art

1933 Jessie Franklin Turner Evening dress 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1933 to 37 House of Lanvin Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1934 House of Chanel Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Henri Bendel 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1935 Madame Gres Evening  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Madame Gres Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Madame Gres, Alix Barton Designer Evening dress  Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 Madame Gres, Alix Barton designer label  

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1936 Madeleine Vionnet  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Elizabeth Hawes Label Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1936 Elizabeth Hawes Coat and Dress, "Pandora" 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1936 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 Jean Patou Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Jean Patou Label 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 to 38 Madeleine Vionnet Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Madeleine Vionnet 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1938 Madeleine Vionnet Label Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1938 Hattie Carnegie, Designer Jeanne Paquin Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Valentina Evening dress  Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Robert Piquet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Robert Piguet Label Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Elsa Schiaparelli Dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930s Nettie Rosenstein Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Nettie Rosenstein Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Bergdorf Goodman Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Maggy Rouff Evening dress  Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Nettie Rosenstein Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Callot Soeurs Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1931 Court presentation gown in two parts (dress), Jeanne Lanvin from Museum of Fine Art, Boston

1931 Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Elizabeth Hawes 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1932 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 

1933 Evening dress | Poiret, Paul © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1934 Vionnet, Madeleine 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1934 Travis Banton Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 Elizabeth Hawes - Emperial Crown (jacket); Tonight or Never (dress)  see below without jacket

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 to 35 Madeleine Vionnet Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

1935 Jeanne Lanvin 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1935 Sports dress, Jean Patou from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

1935 Elizabeth Hawes Evening 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 Elizabeth Hawes  

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 to 36 House of Worth Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 to 36 House of Worth Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Elizabeth Hawes Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1936 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Madeleine Vionnet Label Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1936 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 Womans coronation robes in seven parts (dress), House of Worth 

from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

1937 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Madame Gres Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Cristobal Balenciaga  Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 House of Worth Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 House of Ricci, Nina Ricci Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 to 39 House of Lanvin Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 to 39 Bertha Stern Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 

1938 Evening, Jeanne Lanvin Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Roselle Davis Dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Elizabeth Hawes 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938-39 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930s Nettie Rosenstein Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

late 30s House of Patou, Jean Patou Designer Cocktail dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1930s Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1939 Elizabeth Hawes 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Claire McCardell Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1939 Balenciaga Label  Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930-39 Jacket and dress | Molyneux, Edward 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1930 to 32 House of Chanel Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Chanel Label 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Fortuny Label 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Madeleine Vionnet Evening  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932-35 Elsa Schiaparelli Dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1933 Norman Hartnell 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1933 Madeleine Vionnet 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1932-34 Madeleine Vionnet 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1934 Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 See left for description.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 to 35 Madeleine Vionnet

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1934 to 35 Madeleine Vionnet Lbl

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Jeanne Lanvin 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1935 Bergdorf Goodman Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930s Elizabeth Hawes Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Elizabeth Hawes Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 to 36 House of Worth Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Evening dress | Busvine 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1936 Madeleine Vionnet Cocktail Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Hattie Carnegie Label Metropolitan Museum of Art

1936 to 37 Madeleine Vionnet Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Paul Poiret Cocktail dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 House of Chanel Evening

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 to 38 House of Chanel Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 to 38 Chanel Label 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 to 39 Mainbocher Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Madeleine Vionnet Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Madame Gres, Alix Barton 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Elsa Schiaparelli, Evening ensemble (dress and veil) - The Tears Dress; The Circus Collection 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1938 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Madame Gres Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 to 39 Madeleine Vionnet 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Mainbocher Cocktail dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1938-40 Charles James

Metropolitan Museum of Art

late 1930s Valentina label Metropolitan Museum of Art

late 30s Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Lucien Lelong Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930 Callot Soeurs Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930-31 Jeanne Lanvin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930 to 31 Jeanne Lanvin Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1932 Evening dress | Chanel 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1932 Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1930s Fortuny Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1933 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

1933 to 35 Elsa Schiaparelli Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1933 to 37 Madeleine Vionnet Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY.

1934 Wedding dress | James, Charles 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1934 Elizabeth Hawes Wedding Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1934 House of Chanel Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1934 to 36 Maggie Rouff Cocktail Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 Coq de Roche, Madeleine Vionnet 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1935 Elizabeth Hawes Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 Valentina Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1935 Schiaparelli Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 Charles James Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1935 to 40 Madame Gres, Alix Barton Designer Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY.

1935 to 1940 Valentina Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1936 to 37 Norman Norell for Hattie Carnegie  

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Chanel Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 Jessie Franklin Turner Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937-38 Evening dress and cape | Coco Chanel 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1937 to 38 Madeleine Vionnet

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 to 38 Madeleine Vionnet label 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937-40 Charles James Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY

1937 Mainbocher Label Metropolitan Museum of Art,NY.

1937 to 39 Madame Gres Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 to 39 Madame Gres Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1937 to 1939 Bertha Stern Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 House of Chanel Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 Mark Mooring for Bergdorf Goodman Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 to 39 Madeleine Vionnet

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Lucien Lelong Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1938-39 Elsa Schiaparelli Metropolitan Museum of Art

1938 to 39 Cristobal Balenciaga Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 Edward Molyneux 

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1939 Elsa Schiaparelli Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art

1939 House of Paquin Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 House of Paquin Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 Mainbocher Evening dress Metropolitan Musem of Art, NY

1939 House of Chanel Evening Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939 to 40 Edward Molyneux 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

1939-40 Edward Molyneux Label Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

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