20th Century Chic: 100 Years of Women's Fashion

Preview by Jessica Campbell | 08 Apr 2013

Walking through the doors of Liverpool’s Sudley House is like stepping into a time machine. It's an appropriate setting for the 20th Century Chic: 100 Years of Women’s Fashion exhibition, on display from early this spring until Easter 2014.

The collection includes 12 outfits, each chosen to represent important time periods throughout the 20th Century. The outfits reflect not only the changing styles, colours and materials of the period but also the power, symbolism and role of women during ten decades.

Our time travel begins in the early 1900s with an elaborate Belle Epoque evening dress from around 1907. With its tight-laced corset demonstrating the restrictions of women at the time, the richly embellished garment makes a strong statement. The exhibition then accelerates through fashion and history, pinpointing iconic styles and new manufacturing processes while echoing themes of feminism, politics, social change and even the impact of two world wars.

As time progresses, women’s freedom from social restriction improves, with shorter hemlines and daring colours breaking social boundaries. This is particularly evident in the silk lamé evening dress from around 1925.

We stop at the dawn of the 21st Century with an exciting outfit created in 1998 by Italian design house, Moschino. This final outfit subtly suggests how fashion will respond to a modern age of women, now with more power and choice.

20th Century Chic cleverly combines iconic pieces by a diverse range of designers – from the established to the student – and comes highly recommended.

Sudley House, Liverpool, 10am-5pm, Free

End date to be confirmed