Vivien of Holloway Pencil Skirts are the most authentic to the 1950s you can find. They're dangerously curvy, hugging you at the waist and sculpting your hips creating an enviable wiggle. They're perfect for the chilly weather and translate easily from a daring daytime look to elegant evening attire.
A great Pencil Skirt is a must-have for any glamourous gal and has been replicated for decades. But, as you well know, Vivien of Holloway is more interested in delving into the history of a garment. Want to know a little more about this slinky, sophisticated wardrobe staple?
Believe it or not, what could be considered the first ever pencil skirt was a complete accident! In 1908 aviatic duo, Wilbur and Orville Wright, invited a certain Mrs Berg to be their guest as the World's first female aeroplane passenger. As Mrs Berg settled into the aircraft she was horrified at the sight of chains and propellors churning away dangerously close to her billowing skirts - imagine doing this in a Halterneck Circle Dress!
In a stroke of unintentional fashion genius, the brothers tied a rope around Mrs Berg's skirt, above her ankles in order to keep her sitting pretty in safety. The event was a press sensation and Mrs Berg's skirt even caught the attention of designers in Paris who scrambled to recreate this accidental invention. Dubbed the "Hobble Skirt" or jokingly "Speed Limit Skirt", much-like the pencil skirt it was tight at the knees and created a seductive wiggle in the wearer.
The Hobble Skirt was short lived however as WW1 paved the way for practicality. Women were wearing trousers and hemlines were creeping upwards due to fabric shortages. Life was too fast-paced for a hobble!
Shortly after the war, women finally won the right to vote in the UK (1918) and America (1920) and the younger generation began to question the values of their elders. Enter dropped waistlines and flapper dresses. The Roaring 20s was a fabulous time for fashion but it wasn't so great for our figure-hugging pencil skirt.
The first pencil skirt, as we know it today, didn't arrive until 1940. Christian Dior took inspiration from the controversial silhouette of the Hobble Skirt and shortened it, updated it and fine-tuned a more tailored, close-fitting shape. Dior's 'New Look' is infamous in the fashion world and the pencil skirt, usually part of a suit ensemble at this time, was embraced by women in search of a curvy alternative to war-time fashions.
It wasn't long until celebrities of the day championed the classic shape and made it an aspirational style. Among these celebrities are starlets who Vivien of Holloway still takes inspiration from: Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, the list goes on.
|Channel Marilyn's outfit by pairing your Pencil Skirt with a Raglan Blouse.|
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Happy wiggling, ladies! x