THE HISTORY OF... THE MAXI SKIRT: Down to the ground
Sunday 18 October 1998
Up until the beginning of this century, women have had little other option than to wear skirts and dresses, and throughout history their skirts have almost always been "maxi" in varying shapes and sizes.
In the 16th century it was fashionable to wear constricting bodices with tight sleeves and wide skirts, and by the 17th century women were wearing similar bodices over a long skirt with three underskirts.
Crinolines - cage frames made out of steel hoops - were fashionable underskirts in the 1850s and, by the 1890s, Edwardian ladies were wearing a bustle under their skirts to increase the fullness around their hips and bottoms.
At the turn of the 20th century Paul Poiret revolutionised women's dress by designing clothes that were more "natural" against the female form, a change from the exaggerated proportions of the previous centuries.
He introduced the "hobble skirt", one that was so long and fitted that the wearer could only take small steps when walking. This evolved into the "trotteur" or walking skirt, a straight, off-the-ground skirt that allowed ease of movement and rapidly became a classic. Poiret's new, straighter silhouette was paving the way for women finally to move into trousers in the Thirties and Forties.
Skirts started getting shorter in the Twenties and hemlines danced between ankle and knee until the early Sixties. It wasn't until the late Sixties that hemlines hit the floor again. Hippies favoured long, flowing skirts in ethnic prints and by January 1970 the Paris collections were emphasising a longer shape. Yves Saint Laurent in particular was showing skirts that fell to the floor. Another popular length was the midi, that was half way between the ubiquitous mini and the maxi.
The Eighties focused on power dressing, using trouser suits and shoulder pads, and maxi skirts didn't make a noticeable appearance again until autumn 1996 in the shape of Bohemian maxi skirts and coats from designers such as Richard Tyler, reworking the Portobello look.
This season, the maxi is everywhere, predominantly in cashmere and wool, providing an alternative to slouch trousers.
Life & Style blogs
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?
http://www.nyxcosmetics.co.uk/" width="88" height="52" />Black Friday: The best beauty deals
Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Coke milk? Coca-Cola to launch premium milk brand called Fairlife
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...