Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Guide to French Fashion from 1871 - 1914 (La Belle Epoque)

A resource guide featuring everything from the material culture, to the social implications of the fashion of this brief but beautiful era.

Society & Fashion


A Scene from Belle Epoque Life (Edwardian, 2012).

Society & Fashion

This is a resource guide on the social effects that were intertwined with the fashion of the Belle Epoque. This gives a researcher insight on the larger cultural implications that occurred during the era of Belle Epoque, aided and abetted by the fashion of the time.


1.) Gundle, S. (1999). Mapping the origins of glamour: Giovanni Boldini, Paris and the Belle Époque. Journal of European Studies, 29(3), 269-295.

This article outlines the origins of the word “glamour” and how the Belle Epoque became the turning point in fashion – that the bourgeoise and not the aristocracy defined it.


2.) Mesch, R. (2013). Having it all in the Belle Epoque: How French womens magazines invented the modern woman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

This book explores a larger social implication – as the gowns of the Belle Epoque era became looser and less restrictive, so was a woman able to have a career and be a mother – as shown in the exquisitely styled fashion magazines of France showed. This began the era where women were both expert mothers and amazing career women.


3.) Steele, V. (2017). Paris fashion: A cultural history. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Chapters 10 (La Mode Retrouvée) and 11 (Into the 20th Century) cover Callot Soeurs and others of the Belle Epoque era.


4.) Stewart, M. L. (2005). Copying and Copyrighting Haute Couture: Democratizing Fashion,1900-1930s. French Historical Studies, 28(1), 103-130.

The evolution of Haute Couture as it progressed from the 1880’s until 1915 – it’s competition and conception, who wore it, etc.

(La Belle Epoque, 2009).