The period of the victorious era starting from 1830 to 1901, marked the expedition of a powerful, opulent, and voguish woman- Queen Victoria.
Known for transforming the future of Britain, Queen Victoria was a woman in power in a society where women were no less than a piece of show and grace. She did not just have a major role to play in the country’s politics but her ethereal fashion left momentous footprints on the world of fashion and continues to inspire numerous designers even today. It sculpted most of the styles, that are blissfully worn by the modern woman.
Victorian Era fashion, prominent because of its intricate detailing and accentuating a woman’s body, was dominated by the use of luxurious fabrics, whalebone corsets, hats and bonnets and layers of petticoats. The era witnessed a plethora of changes in the style but the ideology of representing the wealth through garments remained constant.
However, the elements changed with the changing decades. From petticoats to crinoline to bustles, the women of that time had undergone every kind of hardship to portray an image of a woman with an ideal body. Be it deriving the perfect waistline using a metal corset, carrying crinoline made from horsehair to get that perfect skirt shape or tying rectangular bustles on the hips, making it hard to even sit, the 19th-century woman has done it all. Albeit magnificent, the garments of the sumptuous era lagged practicality and comfort.
The hands of the clock influenced the neckline of the elegant gowns. The day was the time where women adorned high necked dresses with lace detailing, whereas, evenings allowed women to expose their neck and shoulders.
Apart from the ponderous gowns, the era was famous for its extravagant use of accessories. Ornamented hats, exquisite jewelry, and colorful parasols, collectively gave the woman of the Victorian Era her poise.
The year 1901 marked the end of the popular Era but gave a new start to the fashion world. As the famous saying goes “history repeats itself”, the dominant styles of the era work as an inspiration for many designers even today.
From haute couture to streetwear, one can feel and see the hint of the queen’s style prominently. From international designers to Indians almost everybody has at least once in their career curated their designs based on the styles from the historical era, giving them a contemporary twist.
In a century where comfort is class and several athleisure styles dominate the market, Victorian-style always managed to make their way through, arousing a want in many. The 2017 fall/winter collection, experienced the trend of the Victorian Era heavily on the runway. Where Balenciaga chose to borrow a silk blouse with ruffled trims and paired it up with a pencil skirt, Dior on the other hand, played with tulle and lace sleeves to design a long velvet dress. The Italian brand Valentino opted for high necked, and ruffle trims from the era, whereas, Giambattista Valli curated a high neck white-colored dress selecting the famous corset, and slim sleeves and lace and leaving aside the long hemlines.
The following year, Nick Zimmerman drew inspiration from the remote era and designed silhouettes resembling it. Elie Saab went to the “dark romance” of the Victorian era for inspiration for the brooding fall-winter offerings in the Paris Fashion Week 2018. He chose to experiment with the covered-up style of the era giving it a floral exploration.
When talking about gowns and skirts, having a huge piece of cake in haute couture how can one forget the celebrated Indian designers? Fashion designers like Anju Modi and Falguni Shane Peacock have made their mark around the world and recently expressed their love for the Era in many ways from fabrics to make-up. The popular Bollywood actress “Kangana Ranaut” was recently seen walking on the runway in the Victorian era inspired collection by Anju Modi at Anju Modi India Couture 2018.
What can be more mesmerizing than watching a Nawabi Royal adorn an attire inspired by the queen itself? Sara Ali Khan walked the ramp for the famous Falguni Shane Peacock in The India Couture Week 2019, who chose to ornament her with a beautiful ivory blouse and skirt, that shined all through her walk. The silhouettes of this extravagant dress were derived from the Victorian bustles.
Throwing light on the streetwear styles inspired by the Victorian era, one can easily spot a shirt with a strapless bustier or laced up corsets or a white dress with mutton sleeves in every nook and corner of the market. The buttoned boots also derive their origin from the famous era. The luxurious fabrics like velvet, satin, etc that gain their fame from that time and are enormously used by the fashion industry today.
The charm bracelets proudly sold by famous brands like Pandora were once gifted by the queen to her beloved ones on every new year with great affection. Adding on that, the white wedding gown– the identity of today’s British bride gained its popularity from the queen itself. In times where colorful gowns reflected the grace of brides, queen Victoria chose to adorn a beautiful white wedding gown that symbolized purity and eventually transformed into a tradition.
The world of fashion has continuously seen a cycle of trends from the history. Everything that we wear today, has had its origin from the past and the legacy continues.