The Museum of Historical Costume

Belle époque – Women’s Fashion 1871-1914 at the Regional Museum in Piła

The exhibition presents changes that occurred in the women’s fashion between the second half of the 19th century and the outbreak of the First World War. Belle époque is a time of prosperous bourgeoisie, a period of prosperity, progress and relative peace. During this era of “content richness”, women’s fashion underwent several significant transformations, from lordly positivism to Art Nouveau naturalness. Trendy toilets from the 1870s and 1880s were supported on a bustle. This half-round frame that supported the draperies at the back of the skirt was supposed to be a new form, more natural and progressive. The bustle replaced the criticized crinoline, nevertheless, with time, it also became the subject of disapproval. Another attempt to reform the women’s outfit was made in the 1890s, which was to become closer to the body and more natural, at the same time referring to historical styles, sometimes distant by several hundred years. The famous S silhouette was known as sans ventre (French: without a belly) from the first years of the 20th century. Fashionable women were reminiscent of insects and flowers, however, the new sophisticated fashion underwent deformation during the industrial production and was quickly abandoned. In consequence the classical forms returned. In the second decade of the 20th century, references to antique fashion at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as at the beginning of the 19th century gained the name of the Second Empire style, which ended with the outbreak of the Great War in 1914.

The exhibition will present the original women’s dresses from 1870-1914. All the most important designs will be shown, ranging from the dresses on a bustle to the column dresses of the Second Empire style.

All the dresses we present were made in one copy only, and are unique monuments of a bygone era. The exhibits will include wedding and evening gowns, as well as elegant daytime dresses. There will be a dress with two interchangeable bodices, as well as an exceptionally beautiful and extremely rare dress of pink moiré, abundantly embroidered with beads.

Most of the dresses have been made of luxurious silk fabrics, decorated with rich haberdashery, thanks to which it perfectly shows the outstanding atmosphere and uniqueness of this beautiful epoch. The exhibition will be complemented by numerous original women’s magazines with colorful prints and patterns.

The costumes presented at the exhibition come from the private collection of Anna Moryto. The collection has been gathered over the past decade or so and includes dozens of interesting and unique exhibits. The collection includes women’s outfits ranging from daytime dresses to rich evening and wedding toilets. At the Piła exhibition, we will also present a dress that has not appeared on any event before.

In addition, the collection includes rare tailoring and embroidery tools from the 19th century, numerous women’s magazines, footwear and small accessories.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on 27 September 2018 at 5 p.m at the Regional Museum in Piła

Address: ul. Browarna 7, Piła, Poland

The exhibition will end on 10 December 2018

We are happy to invite you to visit our exhibition.