And we have made it to May! Since the weather is slowly getting warmer in my part of the world, I thought skirts would be an appropriate topic for this month. So without further adieu, A is for….
How to say it: ey-lahyn skurt
- fitted at the waistband and smooth over the hips
- flares towards the hem so that the silhouette resembles the letter A
- can be short or long
- waistband can sit anywhere from the natural waist to the hips
- traditionally does not have pleats or gathers, but can have darts for shaping at the waistline
…of the style: The introduction of the A-Line silhouette is largely attributed to designers Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. And while they did introduce the term into the fashion vernacular, the fact is, it is a pretty basic silhouette and women were wearing skirts of the same shape a long time before Dior released his ‘A-Line Collection’ in 1955; the modern A-Line shape has been seen as far back as the Edwardian Era.
Having said that, Dior is certainly responsible for popularising the A-line silhouette in 20th century fashion with his 1955 collection, while Yves Saint Laurent (who and took over at Dior after Christian Dior died) launched the A-Line as we know it today with his 1958 Trapeze Collection.
The silhouettes that Dior and Laurent created for their Dior collections were quite exaggerated versions of the A-Line and were not immediately popular, however by the 1960s less extreme versions began appearing in mainstream fashion and the style gained favour among the masses. The fitted-at-the-waist-and-flared-at-the-hem skirts were very popular throughout the 1960s (the simple lines worked well with the Futuristic and Geometric trends of this decade) and 70s (popular in a mid-length style, worn with a turtleneck and knee-high boots).
The A-line skirt’s popularity began to wane towards the end of the 70s and by the 1980s the style was almost completely rejected, as it was seen as old-fashioned and frumpy. The 1990s saw a revival of all things retro, which brought the A-Line skirt back into vogue. During this time the definition of ‘A-line’ widened to include any style that flared towards the hem, rather than just the original styles introduced by Dior and YSL in the 50s.
In the 21st century, the A-Line skirt has been recognised as the truly flattering style that it is and has become a fashion staple to women around the world. The styling of these skirts is incredibly varied and has strayed somewhat from the original Dior blueprint (although the original Dior and YSL designs had a comeback in the early 2000s), however the overall shape of the A-Line skirt never changes and this is what makes it such an iconic style.
…of the name: The silhouette of the skirt resembles the shape of the letter ‘A’. Hence the name.
- the smooth A-Line silhouette was popular during the war years in the 1940s, thanks to fabric rationing that banned ruffles, gathers, pockets and belt loops, and restricted the hem sweep to 78″.
21st Century A-Line Skirt
The A-Line skirt is a classic style, that is so flattering to everyone it will never go out of fashion. While the style doesn’t traditionally have features like pleats and gathers, 21st century designers have ignored this edict and modern A-Lines are often awash with embellishments, giving the classic silhouette an updated look for the new millennium.
Jason Wu, Stella McCartney
McQ Alexander McQueen, M Missoni