Vintage Fashion Film Archive
Glamour Daze have spent two years assembling rare footage from archive newsreels and promotional films sourced from the public domain to provide entertaining vintage women’s fashion on film. Fashion eras include Edwardian, the 1920’s flapper era, the golden age of art deco fashion in the 1930’s, the glamor years of the 1940’s, the golden age of Haute Couture in the 1950’s and beyond.
These films are provided under the guidelines of US laws on fair use and are a wonderful educational resource for vintage fashion and beauty enthusiasts. They are not available for any commercial purpose unless otherwise stated.
1910s Women’s Fashion on Film
Paris and London lead the way with names like Paul Poiret, who, inspired by the Ballet Russes, introduced oriental vogues into evening wear. Fashion houses were found on every street corner with names like Jacques Doucet , Jeanne Paquin, Poiret and the up and coming Coco Chanel.
Paquin was the first real female designer of note. Her modern designs were a set apart from the more traditional male designers.
She held shows to expose her foreign fashion houses in London, Madrid and even Buenos Aires ! The European fashion show fad soon caught on the US, with New York department stores like Wanamaker’s leading the way
The rare fashion shows found on film from the 1920s are a delight to watch. Fashion houses would announce annually, their new dress line by way of an open day at either their premises or in a well known hotel, and the invitation list was often a virtual who’s who of fashion heads, society names, journalists, and film stars. The London shows were often very upper middle class in their presentation. In the USA, fashion retailers throughout the country were by now holding annual fashion shows and often of a certain foreign theme like the ‘ latest Paris designs’.
Unlike their Parisian and London counterparts, these were marketed toward ordinary women.
1930’s Women’s Fashion on Film
Arguably the most glamorous of decades, the exposure to new fashion designs in dress, swimwear and millinery was now available to everyone through Hollywood movies and an endless stream of newsreels. Automobile manufacturers such as Chevrolet produced commercial films for the movie theater public and there was always a fashion section. Home movie archives are also a great resource for finding fashion from the 1930s on film.
The war years throws up some charming archive film of 1940s dress, hairstyle and notably makeup fashions!
The war brought many changes to women’s fashion and it was considered of national importance to educate women on for example – novel ways of tying up their hair when working in the munitions factory, or how to save money by rationing your makeup to last longer. Even with a world war raging, the USA and to a lesser extent Britain had fully embraced the consumer ethic, and fashion commercialism was well and truly underway with numerous fashion films committed to film. While many of these are only to be found in the large archive libraries such as Getty, we still managed to assemble some sparkling footage from otherwise non fashion related material from public domain sources such as the Prelinger Archive.
The 1950’s brought in an era of optimistic conservatism which is reflected by some of our 1950s fashion on film. Women are back in the kitchen again, often seen happily working in large Dior style dresses. That said, color was now used profusely and again it is possible to assemble archive clips of women’s fashion, hairstyles, makeup styles etc from many otherwise unrelated subject matter available from the Internet Archive.
The 1960’s began with the Paris haute-couture still in dominance. The conservatism and glamour evident in the 1950’s is still evident in some of the films shown here. Included are films from the Harold Baim Collection. As the decade progressed, young people turned to London and the retro casual styles that filled the retail stores in Carnaby Street.
© 15/08/2011 Stevie McGlinchey