From the 19th to the 20th century, women’s lives changed dramatically—and so too did the clothing they wore. In part one of this two-part series, we will meet the innovators and innovations responsible for the revolutionary changes sweeping through women’s fashion during the years 1850 and 1929.
*This class is already in session. If you join now, you will be sent access to the recording of the previous class*
Registration is now open for part one of this two-part series taught by Cassidy Zachary. It includes four live, one-hour online courses covering the 1850s to the 1920s.
The class will meet at 9am PST/12pm EST, the 2nd Sunday of every month, from January 14th to April 14th, 2024. A free recommended reading/resource list will accompany each class. A free recording of each class session will be made available for one week after the live class. International attendees are welcome!
The cost is $100 for all four classes. Classes cannot be taken individually.
Part II of this course, covering the years 1930s-1960s, will debut Summer 2024, for an additional fee.
Charles Frederick Worth might be the founding father of the Parisian haute couture, but his American contemporaries, Elizabeth Keckly and Amelia Bloomer, both born in 1818, made equally seismic impacts on women’s dress throughout the 19th century. Elizabeth was an enslaved dressmaker who bought her and her son’s freedom and went on to become the premiere fashion designer of the American elite during the Civil War era, simultaneously laying the foundation for generations of Black fashion designers who followed. To this day, women’s rights advocate and dress reformer Amelia Bloomer’s name remains synonymous with the bifurcated garment she wore at a time when it was illegal for women to wear pants. This class will bring the lives and lasting impact of Elizabeth, Amelia and Charles into focus against the backdrop of the radical transformation of women’s fashion from crinolines to bustles to bicycle garments.
Gabrielle Chanel is often credited with modernizing women’s fashion in the 1920s,but in truth, fashion was modernized in the era just before and during World War I, a time when visionary designers redefined the shape of fashion and women redefined themselves. In this class, we will look at the dramatic changes taking place in women’s fashion at the dawn of the 20th century when designers started offering their clients designs without its 400 plus year foundation: the corset. Some of these designers were men, but many more were women, including Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin and Jeanne Paquin.
While fashion designers of the pre-WW1 era suggested a revolution in women’s fashion, it was the women who went to work during the war in the millions who secured it. With many women entering jobs once exclusively the domain of men, they needed clothing that adapted to their new work as pilots, ambulance drivers, and munitions workers. It was these women who really pushed the clothes they wore into modernity, demanding comfortable, utilitarian clothing for their active lifestyles. In this class, we examine the lives of many of these brave women from nurses and seamstresses to pilots and munition workers through the lens of the clothes they wore.
Women's continued fight for autonomy and equality in the wake of WW1 was reflected in clothing that challenged and defied restrictive societal gender codes—it also revealed more skin than had ever been seen in the history of fashion! From Parisian ateliers to the dance floors of the Harlem Renaissance to the jail cells of New York City, we meet the women who dared to bare while simultaneously defining one of the most iconic eras in fashion history.
Cassidy Zachary is a fashion historian, published author and professional podcaster. She is co-founder, creator and host of the podcast Dressed: The History of Fashion. She is also the founder of the popular blog turned Instagram account @The_Art_of_Dress where every week she shares her passion for fashion history with over 300,000 followers around the globe. In addition to co-authoring the book Fashion and the Art of Pochoir, she has contributed to numerous publications on fashion history and has lectured on the topic throughout the United States. Her work is cited in Vogue, The New York Times, and WWD among many publications. She is currently pursuing her PhD in History at the University of New Mexico where she is studying the relationship between fashion, race, and identity in the American Southwest.