Monday, February 7, 2011

The Barrel Line

Utility clothes worn by women during World War I, was extremely drab. Wartime fashion gave us a heavy wide skirt in rough material, not a pretty button in sight!

At last in 1919 at the end of the war this skirt made way for 'the barrel line'. Dresses were now tubular with the anatomy of women quite suppressed. No shape and no waist were shown. If you did not have a boyish built, a 'flattener' was needed. The skirts of these dresses ballooned inwards near the ankles to show for the first time some well-turned ankles in femine shoes to cleverly make up for the absence of daring near the neckline!

In my painting, I exaggerated the length of the barrel line, the way it is often done on pattern packets. The soft detail of the belt shows off the dropped waistline which is the most outstanding characteristic of fashion from 1919 to well into the Twenties. The cloth is soft and silky and pastel-coloured.

Acrylic on Stretched Canvas



  1. Wonderful colors and I like the lllllength, Marie!

  2. Ha-ha! Linny,You are so good with elongating forms, maybe I caught it!

  3. It seems as if fashion through the ages has always been about NOT showing a woman's true figure, doesn't it? This is an adorable sketch Marie! You have shown off the soft, silkiness of the material to perfection!

  4. Thank you, Maree! What a clever it easier for designers to design for a shapeless woman, I wonder!

  5. Marie, Did you ever trace this painting? Did it arrive safely at it's destination?

  6. Ah, Debbie, luckily it did! It sat for about two weeks at the wrong PO. It arrived safely and Zelda bought it the moment she opened the parcel. Thank you for caring!