It's not all about Paris, Milan and New York. London has influenced international fashion trends since the 19th century and developed its own peculiarities and trends all throughout the 20th and continues to play a very important role in innovation and with new young designers.
It all started with the Royals, as it usually did back in the day. First all the ladies of the crown wanted to have as svelte a figure as Elizabeth's I, hence why most women of means adopted the rigorous corset. And how not to mention Queen Victoria, a monarch that affected culture in such ways that many of our traditions are still touched but her spirit to this day. Perhaps the most curious one would be wearing black as a sign of mourning. Today no one argues that generally you shall wear black to a funeral to pay your respects, however, this wasn't always like that, it was a habit integrated during the Victorian era, part of the Victorian book of conduct. Mourning was a huge event, full of steps and days of preparation, those were strange days. But here we are, 2016, and mostly every country in the West still wears black. Funny how these things work sometimes.
British Vogue has recently turned 100. Of course, it doesn't look a day older than 18! It has aged so well, adapting itself to each era with such elegance and easiness that it almost seems unfair. It's achieved something many only dream of: it's become timeless.
How did a magazine achieve such levels of praise, you might wonder.
The key to immortality. Capture a moment in time, over and over again and always do it right.
Sounds easy enough, right?
When the first issue was released in the early 1910s no one was sure what was going to happen, they had a very well polished big sister in the New World to look up to. Fortunately they soon dropped the goal of imitating what was working in New York and made the magazine a British jewel for the British jewels.
Vogue hasn't only documented fashion trends and the evolution of beauty standards, it has also captured society, culture and different generation's rebellions, big or small.
Starting with the 20s, when women where gaining a voice and starting to taste freedom and their later struggles to keep a country up during the 30s and 40s. But always in great style, adapting it to the circumstances of the time. From fringe short short short dresses and feather hats to flowery dresses and wide trousers meant for working men. Vogue was there when the white masculine shirt became a staple for women while they worked to build back a country hand in hand with their brothers, fathers and husbands. Also when flowy dresses and lipsticks were a symbol of relief and blessed monotony.
Vogue was there for the ultimate 60s and 70s revolution, when standards of beauty radically changed and new fabrics were discovered and used. When teenage fashion became one of the most profitable industries in the world. It saw the battle between mods and rockers, the birth of the glam craze versus Westwood's and McLaren's version of punk. Many of their covers in the 80s showed the futuristic dreams of a generation fuelled by decadence and electronic music with a touch of nostalgia reminiscent of their issues from the 20s. Almost like a premonition. But the paper gained godlike status in the 90s, working as a mediator between the gods, the famous supermodels and us mere mortals. It made almost every girl in Britain want to be Kate Moss.
After such a run, it seemed impossible to come up with something new. Everything had been done. Politics, fashion, photographers, super models... the next natural step was celebrities, Vogue opened the doors that had been for fashion only to a broader spectrum of influencers, trying to give voice to those whom people want to hear from.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what the next 100 years are going to be like.
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