2016 Sunset Report

OLG & DCRT Strategic Plan
2020-21 through 2024-25


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Introduction Belle Epoque Jazz Age Hollywood Goes
To War
Modern Century Anything Goes Power And Opulence

The period from 1895 to 1919 marked a transitional era in style and manners. Although Louisiana women still clung to established modes of dress, they also followed trends that reflected women's changing roles. At the turn of the twentieth century, women favored evening gowns with full, "leg-of-mutton" sleeves and flared skirts. By 1919 they had already moved toward shorter hemlines. In the process, they discarded rigid, steel-boned corsets, bobbed their hair and embraced the more relaxed style of the New Woman.

Evening dress
The John Shillito Co., Cincinnati
ca. 1896
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These changes in part followed the prescriptions of dress reformers who sought less cumbersome forms of dress. In 1896 New Orleans activist Florence Huberwald, head of the local dress-reform movement, ventured out onto Canal Street in an ankle-length skirt and shirtwaist blouse. The Daily Picayune found it "reformed enough, in comparison with the voluminous and back-breaking skirts...with which women afflict themselves at present" and welcomed it as "a modest, conservative dress that might be worn anywhere without attracting undue attention." Proponents of dress reform differed in their specific recommendations, but most agreed on abandoning tight corsets, bustles and trailing skirts.

Ball Gown
Unknown maker
ca. 1899-1900

Tailcoat and trousers
Revol, New Orleans
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Fashion Plate
The Delineator
January 1905
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Even as dress became simpler, society events in New Orleans, especially Carnival balls, reflected opulence. Carnival queens wore satin and silk gowns embellished with beads and heirloom lace, along with ermine-trimmed mantles. In the late 1890s, the ideal silhouette for a woman was an "S" curve. A corset was worn to push the chest forward, nip in the waist and accentuate the posterior. Emphasis of this shape was achieved through gored construction of the bodice, ornamentation of the front and a train in the back. In 1911, Paul Poiret introduced a revolutionary change with his tunic and hobble skirt. The new ideal favored youthful figures with flat hips and chests. The look was feminine nonetheless. Bodices consisted of layers of luxurious soft fabrics and lace, and beaded trim was used frequently. An open robe style with flowing sleeves was very popular. Many Louisiana dressmakers, such as Mme Olympe Boisse of New Orleans, traveled to France to examine and purchase the latest fashions for their clients. Publications such as Godey's Ladies Book, Harper's Bazaar and The Delineator, as well as patterns developed by Mme Demorest's Emporium of Fashion in New York, also made contemporary fashion immediately accessible.

Evening Gown
House of Worth
ca. 1912
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Evening Gown
Raudnitz & Co., Paris
ca. 1915
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