Trendculture : Pruning

October 2022


Highly fashionable and hot topic focused on a specific part of the body that our Fashion Expert, Thomas Zylberman, calls the waist!

Belted, corseted, knotted, underlined, dramatized, the waist is a long love story with fashion! From the 40s to today, we explain everything.


One day came Christian Dior. At the turn of the 40s and 50s, the new look bomb is dropped: the narrow waist and highlighted are given the honor. We will see, thereafter, that the house will regularly reinterpret the codes of the new look as by John Galliano in 2010. It is also one of his latest creations for the Dior label.

Christian Dior / John Galliano for Dior


Do you know Claire McCardell? She is a central figure in American sportswear in the 1950s. She followed the lines of the new look coming from Paris but simplified them and made them more comfortable to adapt to this new post-war American consumer. As you can see on her creation of this bloomer dress, she emphasized her creations by a wide removable belt and not by a girdle, it was the beginning of freedom!

Claire McCardell / Bloomer dress by Claire McCardell


Now, let's make a big jump in the 70's since the 60's have rather shunned the waist, the must to the trapeze dresses of Cardin, Courrèges, etc.. So we are in 1968, with the mythical saharienne of Saint Laurent worn by Veruchka, belted by a large metal ring structure worn low. A phenomenon quite significant in the 70s where the waist will descend on the hips. If we talk about the 70s and Saint Laurent, it is inevitable to talk about the mythical collection of 1976, inspired by Ballets Russes, where the waist is belted like a gypsy with large cords of silky passementrie. Now, hold on, we go directly into the 80s!

Yves Saint Laurent Saharienne worn by Veruschka / 1976 Opera-Russian Ballet Collection by Yves Saint Laurent


The 80's are really THE decade of the maxi belt. For example, Donna Karan's black dress created in 1987, with this large and very visual buckle.

Another reference, Vivienne Westwood who has always been inspired by the imaginary British costume, often with a historical look. She knows the size! One of her first creations in 1981 for her store World's End that she opened with her husband, Malcolm McLaren, the leader of the Sex Pistols. And more recent, in 2014, a very Westwood reinterpretation of British codes with mini tartan kilt.

Donna Karan / Vivienne Westwood / Westwood reinterpretation


Who says Vivienne, says Jean-Paul of course! Jean-Paul Gaultier has always loved punks and corsets. It is always on the side of London that he found his first inspiration at the beginning and which inspired him throughout his career. The outstanding image of 90 is obviously Madonna and her belted corset created by Gaultier for her Blond Ambition tour. Jean-Paul Gaultier was also frequently interested in boxing: it was a source of inspiration especially during his collaboration with the choreographer Régine Chopinot.

Jean-Paul Gaultier / Jean-Paul Gaultier x Régine Chopinot

And in show-off mode, we obviously have Gianni Versace who shone with a thousand lights from the 80s to the 90s. In his ultra glamorous and hyper-sexed fashion, the very flashy metallic gold belts have always played a leading role in his silhouettes. It was also a way to highlight the emblem of the house: the famous medusa head (Gianni Versace was one of the first logomaniacs, which will be the subject of a future trendculture session).

GIanni Versace

One of the most fervent adapters of the drama-waistline has been Alexander McQueen. From the mid 90's until his death in 2010, his very theatrical fashion has always dramatized the size as for example with his first collection for Givenchy in 97 under Hitchcock influence. Look closely at the image below from 2002: McQuenn had already imagined the harness to be worn with an everyday outfit. It is exactly the figure of style that we find today in all fashion editorials ... That's being a visionary!

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy


Today, what about it? The house of Balmain has made a specialty of large, very visual belts, it has almost become a signature of the house. In her latest collection, the designer Isabelle Marant worked on belts inspired by obi or the assembly of trouser sizes rather structured like corselets.

Balmain / Isabel Marant

The house Acne Studios has imagined a large belt whose particularity is not to buckle. Alexander Wang has worked a whole story around the male shorty diverted and reworked by feminizing the silhouette by this story of lacing around the waist. And then Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga never ceases to reinterpret the 80's with large belts in soft red leather quite typical of the 80's in a remastered version.

Acne Studios / Alexander Wang / Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga

Now it's your turn to play!

Thomas Zylberman
Fashion Expert

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