Common Threads: Dress, Identity and Art in the Twentieth Century
March 31-June 15, 2001
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art


As the second decade began, the long-standing social hierarchy began to unravel. This was the turning point decade during which the suffrage movement culminated in the passage of the voting rights amendment in 1919. Following World War I there was a disconnect with the values of past. In art, the emergence of futurism and the continuance of cubism and other experiments with abstraction reflected the turbulence of the decade.

Dress also reflected these dramatic changes in society and art. It is surely no coincidence that the decade when women achieved the vote is also the decade in which fashion no longer required the restrictions of the corset. Thus we see the beginning of a search for the new vocabulary in dress that in this period would involve adventurous experiments in cut, embellishment, and materials.

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