The “teens,” as the 1910s are often referred to, saw sweeping changes in fashion due to the work of French designer Paul Poiret, who was largely inspired by both the exoticism and color of the Far East and the Ballet Russes. “Orientalism” in fashion became all the rage and was seen in kimono-shaped coats, capes, saturated colors, and exotic embellishments.
Popular trends included the “peg-top” silhouette with hip fullness, Paul Poiret’s narrow-at-ankle “hobble skirt”, and Mariano Fortuny’s “Delphos gown” which featured his secret pleating technique. Tunic dresses were also introduced, and featured a short skirt layered over a longer one. Necessitated by the new shapes in fashion, the hourglass S-bend silhouette transitioned into a more column-like, tubular form with a higher waistline.
Brassieres replaced tight corsets and accommodated the soft, unfitted tea gown, a popular choice for afternoon hosting. The wide-brim hat continued to be a fashionable accessory and shoes began to replace boots. The War Years (1914-1918) resulted in simpler styles, with moderation in fabric usage as well as the use of darker hues. As a result, garments of this period often have a more utilitarian and masculine appearance.