Constructing the Past


Beginning in the 1870s, a far reaching call for reform spread across the Viennese middle class, infiltrating every field of interest from politics, to literature, eventually culminating in the 1890s in an extensive redefinition of the visual arts. From this nationwide sense of dissatisfaction toward the traditional flowed a new understanding of what was to be considered socially acceptable in the realm of art and architecture. This article attempts to not only identify the significant influence that revolutionary Viennese artists (including members of the Secession movement: Klimt, Hoffmann, and Moser, the Wiener Werkstätte, and architect Adolf Loos) had on early twentieth century fashion, but also to emphasize the distinction between mere clothing and the Viennese’s apt manipulation of fashion as art.