Functional Fashion of Art Nouveau

Functional Fashion of Art Nouveau

We have gotten comments that our coat design resembles the key lines from the Art Nouveau period (1890-1910) clothing. I have always been fond of the Edwardian clothing design, and therefore see this certainly as a compliment.

Art Nouveau building in Riga

And it might as well be, since Riga, Latvia is one of the capitals of Jūgendstils (our Latvian name of the period comes from German "youth style"), and we see buildings of this stlyle every day. Even more, the designer of RainSisters Zanda is a professional architect - so, well aware of the different historic styles.


The period was formed to represent the new waves of progression in society during that time, especially as a response to the Industrial Revolution. Liberation of women was one of the key achievements of Art Nouveau - both in everyday life, as well as specifically in fashion. Clothing was one of the key ways how the Edwardian women could feel a lot more comforatble - a new softer female silhouette was introduced. Softer fabrics were now used for tea dresses and evening gowns, and a new fashionable silhouette with the element of comfort was born.

Edwardian fashion

This revolutionary style removed the tight corsets and bell-type huge skirt with several layers of underskirt and metalic furniture that were the central to the previous Victorian period (1837-1901) and before. The new style of Edwardian period or Art Nouveau (1890-1910) introduced a lot of other features in clothing (such as zippers) that allowed women to dress up by themselves (instead of requiring assistance to tighten the corsets and button the dresses that closed on the back).

Art Nouveau fashion silhouettes

With clothing, Art Nouveau design aims to represent the classical lines with slim and tall lady look which is supplemented by dynamic and flowing curves (often referred to as “sudden and violent, as if generated by the crack of a whip”). It is the easieast to recognize the design of the period by the signature leaning forward S-bend silhouette. It was created by the looser corsets to emphasize the femininity of women - pronounced waist line, bust put to front, and a curvy back.

Art Nouveau fabric pattern

Also, Art Nouveau (although being very detailed and aesthetic style) has the “functional art” thinking, and the philosophy of this period was to apply artistic designs to everyday objects - to make sure everyone is surrounded by beautiful things. They believed the function of an object should dictate its form, and not the other way around. When the function and comfort is there, then the details and artistic finishes such as the flovers, birds and heads (that might be the first to notice by us) come in. Still, the style is very symetrical. The fashion patterns, similarly as the architecture decorations, feature a lot of natural design elements - flowers, blossoms, leaves, and stems.


How can you see Art Nouveau characteristics and key elements in our coat styles?

Firstly, it is the same phylosophy - feminine garment should be also functional and comfortable. Art Nouveau was revolutionary to remove the previously worn corsets and liberate women - allowing them to dress up themselves and go for a walk alone. We embed functional features to lady-like outerwear so that it allows women to walk comfortably, with free hands in any weather (when an umbrella is not an option - hands full with kids, the wind is too strong, or simply an umbrella doesn't fit in your handbag).

Second, the silhouette is similar. Most of our coat styles make women visually appear taller and slimmer, being the key targets of Edwardian fashion. The coats with fitted top and full skirt volume fit very much to the Art Nouveau silhouette (apart from the knee-length skirt instead of full length that was common in 1900s) with pronounced waist line and feminine curvy lines.

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