Aesthetes, Bohemians & Craftsmen: Artistic Dress, 1880s–1920s

Aesthetes, Bohemians & Craftsmen: Artistic Dress, 1880s–1920s exhibition photo

Exhibition Dates
May 20July 2, 2008

The world of Artistic dress was short-lived and inhabited only by a daring few. Originating in mid-19th century England, Artistic dress was sparked by influential artists who subverted societal norms. Rejecting the tightly-trussed clothing of the Victorian era, Artistic dressers sought liberated and individually expressive modes of dressing. Abandoning contemporary fashions, Aesthetes adopted the loose, un-corseted styles of ancient Greece and medieval Europe. In the United States, Bohemian artists championed loose-fitting smocks and the aesthetics of Far Eastern art. Craftsmen looked to the past, creating handmade garments and accessories inspired by historic examples. These groups were unified in their rejection of the inexpensive and widely available products of the Industrial Revolution. Competing with efficiency and scale of the Industrial Revolution proved difficult for artisans and an increased cost of materials and labor ended the utopian ideal of Artistic dress shortly after World War I.