Fashions of the Future as Imagined in 1893

It’s always fun to look back at how visionaries from the past pictured the 21st century -and how wrong they were. Those future predictions were staples in the heady 1940s, '50s, and '60s, when technology was making great strides, and they seem downright quaint today. But let’s go back even further, to 1893.

Illustrations from a delightful piece called the “Future Dictates of Fashion” by W. Cade Gall and published in the January 1893 issue of The Strand magazine. On the premise that a book from a hundred years in the future (published in 1993) called The Past Dictates of Fashion has been inexplicably found in a library, the article proceeds to divulge this book’s contents – namely, a look back at the last century of fashion, which, of course, for the reader in 1893, would be looking forward across the next hundred years into the future. In this imagined future, fashion has become a much respected science (studied in University from the 1950s onwards) and is seen to be “governed by immutable laws”.

The “fashions” look like a Renaissance costume ball of some sort, celebrating form over function to a ridiculous degree. Of course, the aim was humorous, but we can imagine it’s funnier now than it was when it was published. See “fashions” from the 1900s through 1993 at The Public Domain Review. -via Nag on the Lake


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