London Fashion Designers 1900-1950

At the beginning of the twentieth century, fashion was always made-to-measure. It was dictated by high society fashion designers, often connected to the royal court and the aristocracy.


Although Paris dressmakers still set the pace in 1900, their counterparts in London were beginning to challenge French supremacy. 'Lucile' or Lady Duff-Gordon, was the first British woman to achieve an international reputation as a fashion designer. She created clothes that were softly coloured and intensely decorative. She is credited with being the first designer to have a parade of mannequins: the modern catwalk.


Fashion in the Edwardian era was often uncomfortable and complicated to wear, restricting the active lifestyle that women were increasingly demanding.

Thomas Burberry's clothes for women were ahead of their times. His sports clothes allowed women greater ease of movement, while motoring, walking or playing golf.

During the war Burberry designed trench coats for the troops, after the war these became popular fashion items in their own right.

The First World War

Shortly before the First World War straighter clothes were being worn by the most fashionable women, these allowed the female figure its natural shape, almost for the first time.

Many more women had a greater disposable income, as they filled the higher paid jobs left by the men fighting on the Front. Being in fashion was now within reach of many more Londoners. Munitions workers for example could now afford fur coats made out of seal or musquash.

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