Luxury in the 20th century: transformation

The 20th century transformed the world. Revolutions and wars changed the world map and the values of society. People started to perceive themselves in a new way. Women increasingly started working. It was the century of new opportunities.

The 20th century was also transformational for the luxury industry. It gave birth to incredibly influential designers: Chanel and Lanvin in 1909, Prada in 1913, Balenciaga in 1918, Gucci in 1921, Fendi in 1925, and Salvatore Ferragamo in 1927.

Each designer specialized in one particular sector. Guccio Gucci reached fame with his high-quality leather goods for travel, Salvatore Ferragamo became “The Shoemaker of the Stars” making shoes for the celebrities of Hollywood and Coco Chanel revolutionized fashion for women with her iconic black dress.

Fashion history

The change in society in Europe made fashion more accessible to a wider audience. The gap between Haute Couture and cheap clothes needed to be filled. This triggered the idea of “pret-a-porter” (ready to wear). Furthermore actresses and celebrities replaced aristocrats as fashion icons. In this wave more brands were created: Celine in 1945, Dior in 1946, Givenchy in 1952, Valentino in 1959 and Saint Laurent in 1962.

During the 70s and 80s Milan became the new fashion capital. Ready to wear collections were booming and diversification became a trend. Brands began to globalize its operations and target new markets. Conglomerate acquisition strategies have left few independent luxury brands on the market.

And then Internet was created. In the past, luxury brands relied heavily on enhancing the customer experience only at the store. Now the challenge is to create the consistency in combining the experience in the store with the online presence of a brand.

So what is next? Which are the upcoming trends in the industry? We would love to see your comments


Photo from the book "Fashion Angels Project Runway History of Fashion "20th Century Workbook" 

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