To know where fashion is headed, one must know where it has been. Designers, editors, and art directors have mined the past for decades to figure out which direction fashion will take. If you’ve noticed a resurgence of Baroque, Victorian, or Edwardian styles on the runways as of late (think Gucci or Erdem), these lavish looks have everything to do with borrowing from history.
In a recent interview, renowned Dutch trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort provided a reason for the return of historical styles, arguing that political and economic uncertainties prompt a desire for excess. “Theatrical clothes are going to be important,” she promised.
If you want to try your hand at anticipating upcoming trends, these five Instagram accounts will point you in the right direction. Fashion history junkies will also get a kick out of exploring the amazing stories provided by fashion curators like Timothy Long and thoroughly explicated accounts like that of The Courtauld Institute of Art, which dedicates a lot of time to documenting the pieces that it posts.
Historical Garments is an amazing resource for true vintage hounds because its hundreds of posts are painstakingly indexed by year, fabric, and style – that means if you’re looking for examples of British wartime dresses from 1941, powdered wig styles from the 18th century, or mob styles from the 1920s, you can find it all under one well-maintained account.
Dress 1875. Paris. Silk, velvet, pearls, tulle. Inventory number 19401. #museumofappliedarts #historicalgarments #1875 #1870s #historicalfashion #historicalcostuming #stylehistory #sewing #costumehistory #historicalsewing #fashionstatement #fashionhistory #fashiongram #moda #historiadelamoda #vintage #fallfashion #periodclothing #Hungary #Paris #Budapest #victorian #19thcenturyfashion #victorianfashion
Where Historical Garments is broad in scope, The Corseted Beauty is far more narrow, specifically encompassing Rococo/Georgian, Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian period gowns. The account also concentrates on a gorgeous mix of art renderings that capture the styles and feminine spirit of the 18th century and earlier.
Timothy Long has one of the most enviable jobs on the planet – that of fashion historian and museum curator. His encyclopaedic knowledge of fashions of the past inform the diverse styles represented on his Instagram account. Occasionally, he uncovers magical surprises during his research, like handwritten notes from 1810 stitched inside a garment that he was studying. For rare finds and unique vintage stories, his account is a must-follow.
I was looking at this c1810 dress this week and found this incredible note, hand-stitched onto the interior. Written by the granddaughter of the original wearer, the note also describes the accessories that were worn with the dress! What a treasure @museumoflondon! 😍 #regency #history #handwritten #hiddennotes #concealed #silk #fashion #fashionhistory #accessories #grandmother #granddaughter #family #heritage #familyhistory #london #preservation #legacy #storytelling #fashioncuration
Art Garments deconstructs the sartorial details of period dress by zooming in on historical paintings from the Victorian and Edwardian eras in order to reveal their lavish details. From close-ups of bishop sleeves to lavishly embellished necklines, this account is a microcosmic look at clothing, shoes, and accessories as they used to be worn in centuries past.
The Courtauld Institute of Art is behind this cool Instagram account, which showcases styles from both modern and historical eras, and includes information about photographers, models, designers, and other sources that have influenced and altered the course of fashion history.
Standing absolutely still, a model presents a #priscillaofboston #weddingdress to the camera. Designed in 1968, it betrays the childlike sweetness that was still haunting fashion with its short sleeves, A line drop from the shoulders and embroidered and appliqué flowers. The veil falls to the ground providing a gauzy halo around her figure. #1960sfashion #vintagefashion #dresshistory #fashionhistory #fashionstudies #nationalmuseumofamericanhistory #nmah @amhistorymuseum @smithsonian