- Alexandrina Victoria (1819-1901), daughter of the fourth son of King George III, was born in Kensington Palace, London. She became the queen at age eighteen, produced nine children with her husband Prince Albert, was monarch of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837-1901, and was the Empress of India from 1877 to her death in 1901. During her reign of more than sixty-three years, the longest monarchy in British history, Great Britain became a superpower. The Victorian Era, as it came to be known, was at the height of the Industrial Revolution and a time of significant social, technological, and economic change. By 1837, cloth was being mass produced in mills in Northern England and, with the invention of the lock-stitch machine, home sewing flourished as did factory-made product. In 1851, the first World's Fair was held; known as the Great Exhibition of 1851 and organized by Prince Albert, it did much to promote British fashion and the concept of a rational dress.Queen Victoria of England acceded to the throne in 1837. The Victorian Era in fashion is broken down into three periods: Early Victorian (1837-1856), also known as the Crinoline era; Mid-Victorian (1860-1882), called the First Bustle Era; and Late Victorian Period (1883-1901), which covers the Second Bustle Era and the period of Gibson Girls and tailor-made suits. The Victorian Era produced a broad range of styles: Orientalism, Gothic revival, the PreRaphaelites, Artistic Dress, the Scottish Highlands, and Aestheticism. However, reaction to the extravagant excesses of Charles Frederick Worth's designs resulted in a dress reform movement in Britain. TheVictorian period became known for sexual repression and prudery that transcended into fashion. Fussy collars, corsets, tight lacing, bloomers, and a prim-and-proper ladylike look prevailed. Even the showing of an ankle was scandalous. In fact, Harper's Bazaar printed a chart in 1868 dictating the proper length of a little girl's skirt based on her age.
Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle.
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