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Irene Castle

In the world of fashion, where there is no appeal from the decree of the great designers, the modern dance has come boldly to the front and demanded, and won, sensible styles. On looking back a few seasons to the clothing worn by women and girls, you will recall long, cruel, corsets and garters that trusses them like fowls for the roasting. You will remember, too, the right snakiness of the hobble-skirt and the hats that were shaped like peach-baskets. 

Irene Castle (1893-1969), American dancer and fashion designer.

This quote is taken from the book Modern Dance by Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle (The World Syndicate Co. New York, 1914.)

Vernon and Irene Castle were a husband and wife ballroom dance team popular on Broadway and in silent films at the turn of the last century. Irene is said to be the first to have bobbed her hair (circa 1915), starting an international trend.

While British born Vernon joined the Royal Air Force during WWI, Irene continued to work in films. In 1918, he was killed in Texas on a flight training expedition.

Irene went on to develop a career in fashion, designing a line of (sensible) clothing for women.

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Fashions designed by Irene Castle for Corticelli (1920s). On display at the Cornell University Costume & Textile Collection exhibition. Photo from the article The Best Known & Best Dressed Woman in America, by Denise N. Green published in Dress: The Journal of the Costume Society of America, V. 43 #2, 2017. 

 

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