The Belle Epoque is the name often given to the period that fell between the end of the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 and the start of World War One in 1914. In Britain, this covered the late Victorian years as well as the Edwardian period.
What is the Belle Epoque known for?
During the horrors of WWI, this forty-odd year period was looked back on fondly as a time of peace and prosperity. It was an era of great technological advancements such as the automobile, the telephone and cinema. This time period is also well known for it’s services to art and design. Art Nouveau flourished during this time, as did post-impressionism.
What was the fashion of the period?
The Belle Epoque was a time of opulence and extravagance in fashion, for both ladies and gentlemen. Men wore beautiful tailoring, often with bat wing collars and luxurious ties. Both frock coats and three piece suits were the norm. Accessories were a very key part of the look, and gentlemen often wore top hats and carried canes.
What style lessons can we learn from the Belle Epoque?
There are two style rules from the Belle Epoque that we think are still very valid today. The first is that luxurious fabrics can turn even the simplest tailoring cut into something extremely special.
The second is that dress codes are worth keeping tabs on. Our society has certainly come a long way from the Victorian and Edwardian eras where gentlemen were expected to wear different styles of suit for different times of day! Having said that, we believe that dressing appropriately for the occasion will still get you far in life.
Interested in more posts about the history of tailoring? Take a look at our brief history of ties.