Time Tourism – Which Fashion Era Would You Travel To?

The best time and place to be alive was the subject of a thought-provoking discussion on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning. I was listening on my way to work and it got me thinking – which era would I like to travel back to? Instinctively fashion and what people were wearing was central to my thinking… so, which fashion era would I like to travel back to?

The boffin historians on the radio cited Ancient Egypt and the end of the 17th century, after all, fashion wasn’t part of their criteria. They were more concerned with living standards and health. Fair enough. It didn’t take long for me to decide on my fashion era. If I had a time tourist ticket, 1940’s & 1950’s Hollywood would be where I’d turn my time travel dial to.

The 1940’s were a time of immense hardship with the second world war raging in Europe, rationing, austerity and the death of millions of people.  It was in these dark days though that the glitz and glamour of Hollywood gave real people, the ones barely making ends meet, a chance to escape into a fantasy world for a short moment. I have chosen a few images which I think show the sophistication and style of Hollywood’s fashion heyday. These beauties were either fashion trendsetters or simply style icons of their age. Think sequins, feathers, halter neck gowns, shoulders, velvet, satin gloves, jewel detail, pearls, defined waists and stockings.

First up, Marilyn Monroe…. the ultimate 1940’s & 50’s beauty and epitome of Hollywood glamour.

Ginger Rogers below shows how sequins can look timeless.

Ginger Rogers

She may not have been a natural beauty (miao) or a Hollywood actress but Wallis Simpson amassed a collection of clothes and accessories to make any girl weep with excitement. The below is of her with the Duke on their wedding day 3 June 1937 at the Château de Candé in France. I think her dress is just stunning. It looks white in this picture but it was actually blue – she had it dyed to match her eyes.

Marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on  3 June 1937 at the Château de Candé, France.

So now it’s your turn. If you could step into the DeLorean with Doc and Marty, which fashion era would you travel to?(Or not as the case may be….)

For more on Time Tourism read The Economist’s quarterly, Intelligent Life.