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Belle Époque (1898-1914)

The turn of the century brought no radical changes in fashion until the years just before the First World War. Women's clothes continued to become less voluminous, progressing from the modernist sinuous silhouette, achieved with corsets and flounces, to a more linear outline with no bulky underskirts, and which followed the natural lines of the body more closely.

The number of fashion houses grew. Copies of famous dressmaker designs were bought by the middle-class women from shops which made and sold them. Magazines reported on the latest fashion fads, which now changed at dizzing speed.

Participation in sports, new hygiene habits and a taste for travell all contributed to the appearance of a wider variety of outfits and the use of more comfortable clothes. However, most of society remained faithful to the habits of the previous century.