Orientalism in 1920s Fashion

Orientalism was a big trend in 1920s Western fashion, taking design for textiles, silhouette, even makeup, from Japan, China, Russia, India, and the Middle East.

I noticed that Miss Fisher wears a lot of Asian-influenced clothing. Her entire look, with the flowing trousers and long robe-like coats, is very Asian, as well as the fabrics used, too. It fits in nicely with her “woman of the world” character, and also ties in with Australian interest and proximity to Asia.

I have an Asian-inspired jacket that’s been lurking in a closet for many….many years. It’s straight out of the 1990s, is a very boxy cut, with huge sleeves and shoulder pads (ugh!). It’s not a traditional cut, but a modern jacket made in Asian-inspired fabric. It’s pretty unflattering, so I’m hoping to retrocycle it into something for my Miss Fisher wardrobe.

To the Pinterests!

Here are a few of Miss Fisher’s robe-coat-things, for reference:

My absolutely favorite thing she wears, and very much with Asian influence, but perhaps a little Russian too?
The trim on this looks like it’s from an Indian Sari
Heavily embroidered coat with a Mandarin collar and frogs. Stunning textile
A VERY similar short version of the coat above

Now, some original items that Miss Fisher would totally wear:

1920s Chinese silk coat with embroidery, lined in fur – Doyle’s New York

“Mandarin” coat – Paul Poiret – 1923 – KCI
Art Deco Kimono Jacket – 1st Dibs
1920s Silk, Velvet, and Gold Asian inspired Cocoon Coat – click through for more views, especially the back – 1st dibs
House of Worth coat – WOW! – Timeless Vixen Vintage

There are loads of fascinating Asian-inspired garments at Vintage Textile too.

Looking at these examples now, they’re just so opulent. My humble little thrifted jacket, which isn’t even silk, has a looooong way to go….


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