Now to start the alphabet properly. Each month I will concentrate on a particular area of fashion, with a new term everyday working my way from A – Z. I will try to keep the terms relevant to today’s fashion landscape but may have to jump back in time to fill up some of the harder letters.
Since it is winter where I am, January will be all about coats. Starting with A is for A-Line…
AKA: A-line is A-line, there isn’t really anything else you can call it
How to say it: as it looks
- narrow at the shoulders
- begins to flare from under the arms or the waist to the hem, creating a shape similar to the letter A
- traditionally fingertip length, but can be any length
- relatively plain styling, with little to no adornment
- can be single or double-breasted with any kind of collar
…of the style: Although the A-line silhouette has popped in and out of women’s’ fashion for centuries, the ‘A-line’ that we know and love was created by Christian Dior for his Spring 1955 collection. In the collection, Dior create an overall shape with his garments that resembled a capital A, the signature ensemble being presented a fingertip length, flared jacket that was worn over a dress with a very full skirt. At the time it was said to be “the most wanted silhouette in Paris”. Yves Saint Laurent (Dior’s successor) took the silhouette further in his Spring 1958 Trapeze Line, which featured dresses flaring dramatically from a fitted shoulder.
A less dramatic version of the A-Line/Trapeze silhouette became popular through to the 1970s but nearly vanished in the 80s as it was deemed ‘dowdy’. In the 90s the A-line returned but the term was much more loosely used for any garment that was wider at the hem than at the bust or waist. The true Dior/Laurent A-Line style made a come back in the early 2000s and has been recognised for the flattering and feminine look that it is.
…of the name: Introduced by Christian Dior to describe the silhouette created in his Spring 1955 collection which resembled the shape of a capital A.
21st Century A-Line Coats
21st century A-Line coats come in all colours, fabrics and styles, but all of them should have the narrow shoulders and flared shape that was made popular by Dior and Saint Laurent.
Top row – Marc Jacobs, Red Valentino
Bottom row – Moschino, ASOS