Bikini in yellow
“On vacation, you can wear all the colorful and casual clothing that you like, but you must always be elegant.” - Christian Dior
Elegant, yet cheerful and light-hearted.
Fifties fashion could be summed up like this. After the war, men and women are left with the scars of sacrifice, deprivation and extreme poverty and long for beauty, luxury and wealth. With advertisement and cinema, “objects” become essential to gain a wealthy status symbol. People are inspired to buy more and place more importance on quality and design in every aspect of life, from their car and house furniture, to – of course - their clothes.
Women are blooming again. They are both perfect angels of the hearth and symbols of elegance and grace. This makes them the main drivers of economic growth. The Fifties mood pursue an ideal of a flawless woman in every moment of the day, from the morning tea to the cleaning routine of the afternoon, and even while placing the roast into the oven. The classic Fifties silhouette doesn't hide nor cover the woman's shape, but shows it up, usually by matching a tight bodice with a full skirt or a pencil skirt. Inspiration for this trend comes from the pin-ups, audacious pictures of women that, during the Fourties and the war, soldiers used to “pin up” on the walls to keep their spirits up. The pin-up trend encourages a light-hearted, carefree femininity: in the Fifties, this translates into paying close attention to having a graceful demeanour where no detail or material is left to chance.
Women who methodically look after their appearance are obsessed with choosing excellent fabrics for their clothes, like silk, crêpe, organza, brocades, velvets and lace made in Europe. In particular, for her freetime the American lady loves choosing to buy clothes made of a new, comfortable fabric, polyester, launched on the market in 1955. Prints are colourful and fun, depicting food (Givenchy), animals and travel icons (like palms or the Tour Eiffel) and are a suitable conversation starter – so much they are actually defined “conversational prints”. With the increase of social occasions, lifestyle shapes fashion. In this period, the very first suits for attending formal occasions, in wool for winter and linen for summer, see the light; the first twin-sets are perfect for running errands in the afternoon; the legendary, tight blue jeans brighten up any informal event; sinuous “cocktail dresses” are essential for the aperitif.
Enjoying freetime is a pampering luxury: thus customers are more and more interested in beachwear and underwear. These must be perfect in every single detail as well. At the beach, naked legs are not an excuse to be trivial – femininity and elegance should go hand in hand. Bikinis and swimsuits wrap the woman's body nicely covering certain parts while highlighting the others. Bras are structured, preformed, with wires or full cups, and boost deep necklines. Gottex is the brand of choice for beachwear lovers: its colourful, fun swimwear takes inspiration from Israel's golden beaches, where the brand was founded. Swimwear is flexible on the stomach and is made of technical fabrics with cups that can be adapted to every woman's needs, and they are even seen on celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor. To complete the beach look in a smart and chic way, a lady can just bring with her a simple summer bag in a rough material such as straw and raffia.
Unlike beachwear, underwear is not exposed on social occasions. Yet again, it must be flawless, since it is essential for having a good night sleep and showing off self-care - which was out of question during the war. Lingerie includes structured bras and bodices that keep your breasts up, your waist narrow and your hips in place. Sleepwear is equally accurate, with cream, pastel or white nightgown with lace, or cozy pyjamas made of fine cotton with striped or floral prints. Soft robes add the final touch.
Though the obsessive research for perfection doesn't belong to our times anymore – and maybe it's better like this – clothes from the Fifties are uniquely charming, elegant and wearable. Throwing on an afternoon dress with a full skirt or a balconette swimsuit designed and created in the Fifties makes you sophisticated and smart right away. The cocktail dress in particular doesn't make you go unnoticed today among all the same industrial clothes. Just stand out and find, even in the most boring repetitive routines, the luxury of lightness.