A-line silhouette, A-line dress, A-line skirt, A-line coat – We come across these terms many times as we buy clothes. As a layman, the term is not difficult for me to understand – the name gives the vision of a silhouette that gradually widens from a fitted top to a flared hemline just like a capital letter A.
In a skirt, it starts from the waist and flares to the hem and in a dress, it starts from the neck or from a tight-fitting bodice and then ends in a flaring skirt. It is touted as a silhouette that suits almost all women body shapes.
French fashion designer Christian Dior who is credited for creating many different silhouettes is said to have come up with the name – A-line for this particular silhouette. You can read about this and the other letters in silhouettes here. The silhouette has revived itself in many different ways like the Trapeze dress, A-line coats, A-line midi skirts, A-line shaped mini dresses, throughout the years.
An Aline skirt has a fitted waistband, and a flared skirt without pleats or gathers. The fabric of the skirt skims over the hips shaped by darts and end in a hem that is much wider than the waistline or hipline creating an essentially A shape. The skirt may be worn long or short.
If it is not in trend at the moment, A line skirt can look old fashioned. In a wrong skirt length it can even make you look frumpy.
Interesting reading : 1940s skirts
Fashion history of A-line silhouette
Since the invention of clothes, the shape of Aline silhouette has been known to man, but the introduction of the term A-Line silhouette in the fashion scene is largely attributed to the famous French designers Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
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Christian Dior who designed clothes in this silhouette used boned corsets and bustier type bodices and petticoats and lots of fabric to create a voluminous skirt that flares down from the waist along with even hip padding to give the look of a very curvy figure – he termed it the Aline collection. His signature Aline look was a flared jacket worn with matching dress which has a full, pleated skirt. This was in 1955 and it was his spring collection. It was a time when French designers decided fashion.
Yves Saint Laurent, the assistant designer of Christian Dior, introduced the trapeze dress in 1958, which is classic Aline – Starts from a narrow shoulder to a swinging hemline – no tight bodice or laced up anything. His dress flared out from the shoulder line and ended in a flared hem falling just below the knee.
Sometime in the 1980s this silhouette lost favor and was even considered old fashioned, dowdy and frumpy. But soon the silhouette gained popularity again and today it is seen as a timeless fashion silhouette that makes all women look good. Nowadays any clothing that is wider at the hem than the top (shoulder, bust or waist) is termed as A-line fashion.
Since then so many versions of this silhouette has been seen in fashion runways and retails stores. It is seen as a very feminine silhouette. I feel that, whatever be the fashion of the moment, some form of this flattering style will always be there in the wardrobe of fashion conscious women.
More on A-line: How Christian Dior revolutionized fashion