Business of Fashion

August 6, 1958

Report Outline
Transition Period in Women's Fashions
Fashion in an Era of Mass Production
Factors Influencing Trends in Fashion

Transition Period in Women's Fashions

The women's clothing industry is committed to a huge gamble on wide acceptance this fall and winter of style changes which radically alter the contour of the fashionable woman. The outcome is in doubt and will remain so until buying at retail gets into full swing. Whatever the immediate reaction to the new modes, there is every indication that fashion is taking one of its decisive turns—this one to end up in giving women a new silhouette. The wide diversity of cut in the garments now being offered is characteristic of periods in which women have tired of the old look and want a new one. At the beginning of such periods, the makers of modish clothes are not able to tell just what variation of a new basic design will prove most popular.

Despite the mixed reception of the chemise when it was brought over from Paris a year ago, American women have seemed to welcome a new looseness of cut, and to be glad to get away from the form-hugging garments of preceding seasons. Not for a generation have the new styles had such fullness of fabric above the hips; not for years has normal placement of the waistline been in such disfavor.

Old operators in the fashion business are not surprised that the exaggerations of the first chemise and trapeze models have been toned down in current fall collections. What still remains after the modifications, however, is a new shape, or rather a number of new shapes. This is the way fashion usually moves: first the startling, attention-getting innovation, then the numerous variations, finally the settling down to something less extreme but still easily distinguished from the prior mode.

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