Fashion

Increasing industrialisation in the nineteenth century encouraged a radical redistribution of wealth and power in Europe, resulting in a shift in class structures and gender roles. Fashion, once the preserve of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie, began to find new outlets and reflect changing lifestyles.

As society industrialised, women gradually gained greater independence and urban society adopted new mechanised forms of transport. Clothing had to be adapted to suit these changed conditions. Full swirling skirts were hardly practical for city life. Andwhile bicycles, for instance, were initially viewed as an eccentric indulgence of more affluent classes, even so they necessitated a change in clothing.

ColApImg_EXHI012881
Wilhelm GAUSE
Germany 1853–1916
Vienna Municipal Ball 1904
watercolour and oil on cardboard
62.0 x 88.0 cm
Wien Museum, Vienna
Commissioned by the City of Vienna, 1904

Women’s garments were slowest to change (as were the conditions of their lives). The exaggerated silhouette of tiny waists and bustles endured until the early twentieth century, especially for evening gowns. These garments restricted the body (relying on corsets to create unnaturally slender waistlines) restraining movement and breathing.

Againstthis background, clothing designed by Viennese fashion designer Emily Flöge in collaboration with artist Gustav Klimt, and by the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) was considered radically new and elegantly unorthodox.

ColApImg_EXHI012896
Wilhelm Otto List
Austrian 1864-1918
Young Lady in White 1904
100.0 x 120.0 cm
Wien Museum Karlplatz, Vienna (HMV 117234)
© Wien Museum, Vienna

Their loose, flowing garments were known as Reformkleider, the German term for artistic dress adapted from the British Arts and Crafts movement, and often featured colourful fabrics in striking graphic prints designed by the Wiener Werkstätte.

Exhibition highlights

ColApImg_EXHI013493
Egon SCHIELE
Austria 1890–1918
Self-portrait with hands on chest 1910
charcoal, watercolour and gouache
44.8 x 31.2 cm
Kunsthaus Zug, Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI012197
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Fritza Riedler 1906
oil on canvas
152.0 x 134.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI013492
Egon SCHIELE
Austria-Hungary 1890–1918
Portrait of the painter Hans Massmann 1909
oil and metallic paint on canvas
120.0 x 110.0 cm
Kunsthaus Zug
Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI013309
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1868-1918
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1903-32
Flower basket (Model no. S 781) 1906
silver
21.3 x 7.2 x 4.3 cm
Asenbaum Collection
ColApImg_EXHI014746
Josef HOFFMANN (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1870–1956
WÜRBEL & CZOKALLY (CARL WÜRBEL), Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1892–1913
VINZENZ MAYER’S SÖHNE, Vienna (retailer)
Austria-Hungary 1810–1922
Sports trophy 1902
silver, gilt, malachite
26.0 x 7.1 cm diameter
Private collection
© Josef Hoffmann Estate
ColApImg_EXHI012867
George MINNE
Belgium 1866-1941
Kneeling youth 1898
plaster
79.5 x 19.4 x 44.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Women’s Association to commemorate their 50th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the NGV and with the assistance of the proceeds of the National Gallery of Victoria Annual Dinners, 2011 (2011.10)
Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014728
Egon SCHIELE
Self-portrait with peacock waistcoat, standing 1911
gouache, watercolour and crayon
51.5 x 34.5 cm
Private collection
ColApImg_EXHI014224
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
Austria-Hungary/Czechoslovakia/England 1886-1980
Conte Verona (1910)
oil on canvas
70.6 x 58.7 cm
Private collection, New York
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI012902
Otto WAGNER (designer)
Austria 1841–1918
Alexander ALBERT (manufacturer)
Austria active c.1904
Chair for Dr Karl Lueger 1904
Rosewood (Dalbergia sp.), mother-of-pearl, leather
98.5 x 63 x 59.5 cm
Wien Museum, Vienna
Estate of Karl Lueger, 1910
Enver Hirsch
ColApImg_EXHI014616
Unknown
Gustav Mahler conducts his Symphony No. 1 in D major
Cartoon from Wiener Illustrated Front Page of 25 November 1900
Photo: Imagno
IMAGNO/Austrian Archives
ColApImg_EXHI012199
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Johanna Staude 1917–18
oil on canvas
70.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI012200
Koloman MOSER
Austria 1868–1918
Self-portrait c.1916–17
oil painting on canvas on cardboard
74.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI012201
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
The painter Carl Moll 1861-1945 1913
oil on canvas
128.0 x 95.5 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014409
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI014461
Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI013996
Dagobert PECHE (designer)
Austria 1887–1923
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria 1903–1932
Jewel box (S 4880) 1920
silver-gilt
38.4 x 19.7 x 12.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Purchase, Anonymous gift, 1978
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York
ColApImg_EXHI013493 Egon SCHIELE
Austria 1890–1918
Self-portrait with hands on chest 1910
charcoal, watercolour and gouache
44.8 x 31.2 cm
Kunsthaus Zug, Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI012197 Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Fritza Riedler 1906
oil on canvas
152.0 x 134.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
ColApImg_EXHI013492 Egon SCHIELE
Austria-Hungary 1890–1918
Portrait of the painter Hans Massmann 1909
oil and metallic paint on canvas
120.0 x 110.0 cm
Kunsthaus Zug
Stiftung Sammlung Kamm
ColApImg_EXHI013309 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1868-1918
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1903-32
Flower basket (Model no. S 781) 1906
silver
21.3 x 7.2 x 4.3 cm
Asenbaum Collection
ColApImg_EXHI014746 Josef HOFFMANN (designer)
Austria-Hungary 1870–1956
WÜRBEL & CZOKALLY (CARL WÜRBEL), Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria-Hungary 1892–1913
VINZENZ MAYER’S SÖHNE, Vienna (retailer)
Austria-Hungary 1810–1922
Sports trophy 1902
silver, gilt, malachite
26.0 x 7.1 cm diameter
Private collection
© Josef Hoffmann Estate
ColApImg_EXHI012867 George MINNE
Belgium 1866-1941
Kneeling youth 1898
plaster
79.5 x 19.4 x 44.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Women’s Association to commemorate their 50th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the NGV and with the assistance of the proceeds of the National Gallery of Victoria Annual Dinners, 2011 (2011.10)
Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014728 Egon SCHIELE
Self-portrait with peacock waistcoat, standing 1911
gouache, watercolour and crayon
51.5 x 34.5 cm
Private collection
ColApImg_EXHI014224 Oskar KOKOSCHKA
Austria-Hungary/Czechoslovakia/England 1886-1980
Conte Verona (1910)
oil on canvas
70.6 x 58.7 cm
Private collection, New York
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI012902 Otto WAGNER (designer)
Austria 1841–1918
Alexander ALBERT (manufacturer)
Austria active c.1904
Chair for Dr Karl Lueger 1904
Rosewood (Dalbergia sp.), mother-of-pearl, leather
98.5 x 63 x 59.5 cm
Wien Museum, Vienna
Estate of Karl Lueger, 1910
Enver Hirsch
ColApImg_EXHI014616 Unknown
Gustav Mahler conducts his Symphony No. 1 in D major
Cartoon from Wiener Illustrated Front Page of 25 November 1900
Photo: Imagno
IMAGNO/Austrian Archives
Gustav KLIMT
Austria 1862–1918
Johanna Staude 1917–18
oil on canvas
70.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Koloman MOSER
Austria 1868–1918
Self-portrait c.1916–17
oil painting on canvas on cardboard
74.0 x 50.0 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Oskar KOKOSCHKA
The painter Carl Moll 1861-1945 1913
oil on canvas
128.0 x 95.5 cm
Belvedere, Vienna
Approved: Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
ColApImg_EXHI014409 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI014461 Koloman MOSER (designer)
Austria 1868-1918
Plate from Flächen Schmuck series, published in Die Quelle 1901
26 x 30
National Gallery of Australia Research Library
ColApImg_EXHI013996 Dagobert PECHE (designer)
Austria 1887–1923
WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (manufacturer)
Austria 1903–1932
Jewel box (S 4880) 1920
silver-gilt
38.4 x 19.7 x 12.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Purchase, Anonymous gift, 1978
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource, New York

Reform dress and artistic dress were closely aligned and a vital part of the British Arts and Crafts movement. This movement was the first to embrace women's clothing as an important element in their philosophy and aesthetics, and was seminal in the formation of the Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstätte.

Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his Glasgow School actively promoted this new form of dress, much of it designed by women. Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald, also a successful designer, were featured in a Secession exhibition in 1900 and were inspirational in the formation of the Wiener Werkstätte as too was architect and designer Henry van der Velde, who designed clothes for his wife to harmonise with the interiors of his home.

Timeline

© 2011 National Gallery of Victoria

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