Wednesday, 29 October 2014

History of Fashion - Revival

Revival era


The Revival era is named after the revival of classical styles, particularly in architecture. It is also known as the Victorian era, which was named after Queen Victoria who took to the throne at the age of 18. Queen Victoria had a huge influence in the fashion of the time as she had certain ideologies of how a woman should look like and act. This meant small waists and big skirts, to demonstrate big hips for fertility, were popular around this time. She ruled England and Ireland until her death in 1901.

In most of the Revival era women wore dresses. They wore cage crinolines underneath these dresses to give them the desired shape. Pantaloons, which are like the modern pant, were worn under the skirts for modesty. This was because the cage crinoline would sometime rise and show the ladies legs. Dresses also had trains.

In the 1850s/1860s the crinolines got wider to showcase women’s fertility with wide hips. Sleeves also got wider to balance out these huge skirts.
Woman wearing bloomers

From the mid 1860s the crinoline started to shift to the back of the dress. In 1870s the crinoline disappeared and the bustle came into fashion. This too went out of fashion towards the late 1870s as the bulk moved lower on the skirt.

Later on in the 1880s/1890 the rational dress movement occurred which allowed more comfortable and practical clothing to be worn by women. This was due to the more active lives women were living including playing sports and riding bikes. Woman riding bikes wore baggy type of pants called bloomers.

Men's clothing in the Revival era.
Men’s clothing however did not change much throughout this era. They still wore the cut away coat in the evening, the frock coat in the daytime and the mourning coat. Though they did have some new style features such as: developing the cravats into ties, wearing double-breasted ‘reefer’ jackets, bright coloured blazers, dinner jacket, smoking jacket and sportswear.

The smoking jacket was a short easy-fitting coat, which was highly decorated with silk cord or braid frogging.

A great event to occur in this era, which had an influence in the fashion industry, was the Great Exhibition. The Great Exhibition was the first international fair to showcase new technology from around the globe. This allowed for countries to get together and see what everyone else was offering, which advanced the fashion industry by creating new technologies.

Modern outfit inspired by this era:
Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012

This outfit is from the Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012 collection. This collection was identified by many as being inspired by the Victorian/Revival era as all the looks seem to reflect the era very obviously.

I picked this outfit because I believe it mirrors the main style features from the Revival era. I think the sleeves as well as the small waist and wide skirt are some of the biggest style features from the Revival era and they are shown well in this design.

The sleeves showcase exactly what sleeves would have looked like back then, big and bulky, but are kept modern by having the neckline of the shirt low and off the shoulders. This gives the outfit a more youthful look too and doesn't drown the model in fabric.

The skirt is gathered at the waist with a wide belt, which I believe symbolises the corsets that would have been worn by Victorian women. It also gives shape to the outfit so the model isn't lost in all the fabric.

The skirt has enough volume to suggest that it is inspired by the Revivals wide skirts but is also kept flowy and free without crinolines, which gives it a modern look. This is because it creates the shape naturally instead of looking stiff. The skirt is also made modern by the use of length, as back in those days they would never show their legs as women had to cover up

Overall, this dress screams Victorian/Revival era but is kept modern with the amount of skin shown such as legs and shoulders. 


Blanks, T. (2012, January 17). Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2012. In Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

Men's Portrait Gallery 1880 (n.d.). In Gentleman's Emporium. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

All Kinds of Overcoats Past and Present (2007, February 1). In Ask Andy About Clothes. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

History of 1890'S (n.d.). In Truly Victorian. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

Thomas, P. W. (n.d.). Rational Dress Reform Fashion History - Mrs Bloomer. In Fashion Era. Retrieved October 29, 2014, from

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