Fashion Reverie’s Fashion History Quiz

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Do you know who designed the little black dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? Who made the bikini popular 13 years or more after it was first designed? And, who was the first African American model to appear on the cover of American Vogue?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions and you work in the fashion industry, you should!! If you are not a fashion industry professional and don’t know the answers to these questions don’t go on “Jeopardy” if they have a fashion category.

In this season of change, growth, and evolution as we project into the future, it is important to look back at the past and reflect on what helped shaped the industry that we love so much. As the adage goes, without a knowledge of the past, you are doomed to repeat it.

That said, Fashion Reverie has curated some fashion history questions that reflect our incredible roots and illuminates the many vicissitudes of this industry. And for Gen Z consumers, remember, “knowledge is power.” Enjoy!!

Image courtesy of forbes,com

  1. Who created New York Fashion Week?
  2. Who invented high heels?
  3. Was pink clothing always associated with the feminine?
  4. What is the world’s oldest couture fashion house?
  5. In the 1940’s shoulder pads in women’s suits became a huge fad. What started this fad? 
  6. Which luxury fashion house was the first to develop a “designer fragrance”?
  7. Who created the now iconic “wrap dress”?
  8. How was clothing originally modeled and what famous fashion figure changed the modeling landscape? (hint: he is the creator of haute couture!)
  9. Who is the first American couturier?
  10. Who started the red-carpet question, “who are you wearing”?
  11. Who invented ruching?
  12. What is the French court of Louis XIV’s influence on fashion of today?
  13. Who designed Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white halter dress from “The Seven-Year Itch”?
  14. How did legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon change haircare? 
  15. What was “the Battle of Versailles” about, who were the players and why was it important for American fashion?

Answers:

Image courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

  1. New York Fashion Week was created the first American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert in 1944. It was originally called Press Week. 
  2. High heels were invented in the 15th century by Persian soldiers to secure their heels in stirrups.
  3.  Color associations in fashion change all the time. Blue clothing used to be associated with the feminine and was considered more delicate while pink clothing used to be associated with the masculine in its strong hue. It wasn’t until the 1940s that this association was flipped.
  4. In 1889, Jeanne Lanvin opened a millinery company, and expanded to a children’s “junior haute couture” company in 1908, and further expanded include a young ladies and women’s department in 1909 when she joined the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture.
  5. During the 1940s with tens of thousands of men fighting overseas, clothing manufacturers had a big dilemma. The men who would wear the suits they made weren’t there to buy them. Also, they couldn’t get shipments of fabric from Europe. Solution? Recut men’s suits for women. Designers shoved shoulder pads to fit women’s smaller frames. 
  6. Credit must be given to Paul Poiret, whose exotic designs were inspired by the mysteries of the Far East and who achieved recognition and applause for his art deco costumes for theater and ballet. Fascinated by the imaginative and ephemeral, he adored fragrance and became a perfume entrepreneur in the early 1900s. He established his own laboratory and facilities for blowing glass and packaging his “small wonders.” His company, Parfumes Rosine, was named for one of his daughters. 
  7. The wrap dress which initially was a form of a housecoat was worn by many women during the Great Depression. They were called “Hooverettes.” Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s and American designer Claire McCardell made a form of a wrap dress that was longer in length and wrapped around the entire body. However, in the 1970s, Diane von Furstenberg made the shorter length wrap dress that we are more familiar with.
  8. Models used to be a variety of different shapes and sizes depending on a brand’s typical client. Charles Worth, for example, was the first to use models over dolls for clothing and held the notion that women should be able to see themselves in a model which, in turn, sold more clothes. This is really interesting because today many consider plus-sized models to be a radical shift, which it is for our present time, but in terms of history, representation in terms of sizing was not unusual.
  9. Main Rousseau Bocher. He moved from Chicago to Paris in 1917 and worked as a fashion illustrator and editor before opening his own couture house in 1930. Main Bocher became Mainbocher (rhymes with “rain” and “rocker” for Americans, though the French pronounced it Mahn-bo-SHAY).
  10. Joan Rivers. In 1994 at the red carpet of the Golden Globes, Joan Rivers popularized this question by asking celebrities who they were wearing.
  11. Parisian couturier Madame Grès is credited with popularizing this design technique which takes pleated or folded fabric and gathers the fabric and/or pleats together, giving the effect of a waterfall or a layered effect. There is no exact evidence of who invented the technique; however, ruching techniques can be found in many cultures going back hundreds of years.
  12. The French court ruled by Louis XIV had a major influence on how we view fashion today. Known as “The Sun King,” he always dressed in elaborate costumes and allowed for France to become known as a fashion capital. Louis XIV and his finance advisor, Jean Baptise Colbert, started the concept of the fashion calendar, noting that textiles were to be released twice a year accompanied by certain seasonal accessories.
  13. Marilyn Monroe’s pleated ivory dress from “The Seven-Year Itch was designed by William Travila, professionally known as Travilla. He won an Oscar in 1949 for designing costumes for “The Adventures of Don Juan,” starring Errol Flynn. He also designed costumes for “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.”
  14. In the early 1960’s, Vidal Sassoon created what he called “wash and wear” cuts that didn’t require a large amount of styling or a trip to a salon, saving women hours getting ready. The popularity of pixie cuts skyrocketed after Mia Farrow had Vidal cut her hair for “Rosemary’s Baby.” As short hair cuts for women became huge in the early 1970’s, Vidal created androgynous geometric haircuts that could be worn by either men or women.
  15. The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show was a historic fashion show held on November 28, 1973, in the Palace of Versailles to raise money for its restoration. Created by Eleanor Lambert and Versailles curator Gerald Van der Kemp, the show pitted French designers Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Marc Bohan, and Hubert de Givenchy against American designers Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein.

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