From styles to trends, National Museum of Costume in Portugal

In a completely different spirit – a white, neutral space – is the exhibition showing XX Century Costume up to the present day.

Costume of the 20th century

The Republic implanted in Portugal on October 5, 1910 puts an end to the monarchy and transforms the social dynamics of Portuguese life. Many formalisms and social constraints have disappeared and the arts, as well as fashion, have been the scene of several changes. Sports and outdoor activities promoted a new lifestyle, and ladies preferred men’s cut-out suits, such as the tailleur. Of English origin, the tailleur formed by skirt and jacket adapted well to the walks and was especially appreciated by the young people who increasingly integrated the labor market.

Portuguese women quickly joined a new slim silhouette proposed in Paris by Paul Poiret. Inspired by the costume of the Napoleonic period, this couturier proposed the use of dresses to replace the two-piece womens suits used up. Her dresses showed straight lines and high waist, which allowed the woman to free herself from the corset. In Paris, the Ballets Russes de Diaghilev inspired fashion, bringing orientalizing influences for clothing through new forms, bright colors and luxurious fabrics.

The masculine costume kept the forms of the end of the last century. On solemn occasions, the coat and coat was worn, in everyday life the frock coat began to be replaced by the short coat with a vest and trousers.

Women’s clothing has given this decade the definitive step to functionality, following the Art Deco style, characterized by a decorative and elegant geometry. The straight-line dresses with a slack waist showed her legs from her knees. The dresses for dancing were short with round or square necklines, usually with a skirt in it and sometimes covered with beads, sequins and beads. The stockings and shoes became pieces of relief, filling with colors. The colors were vivid, although black was also chosen.

In the men’s costume of the 1920s, the use of coats of tweed, spined or chess-tiled coats of sober tones, accompanied by wide trousers with pleats and folds at the lower end, in plain or fancy fabric were generalized in the cities. The tuxedo has definitely become the preferred male costume for semi-informal events such as public or private dinners, dances and parties. Black in color with silk satin lapels, it was accompanied by a tie of the same tone.

In the 1930 ‘s, women’s dress returned to more curvaceous lines, the length of the skirt came down and the waist returned to its natural position. The evening dresses were long, with bare backs. The most appreciated fabrics were crepes and satins. The movie actresses, with their glamor, inspired women and became role models. Madeleine Vionnet created the cut in bias, a technique that gave the pieces a much appreciated elasticity and fluidity, molding the female bodies in a sensual way.

The Second World War (1939-1945) caused enormous material constraints. The rationing imposed tight and short dress pieces. The women wore tailleurs with a tight waistline, a straight-line skirt, plucked shoulders, and wide pockets that gave their silhouette a masculine, almost military-inspired stance.

1947 to 1950
With the end of World War II, Christian Dior responded to women’s longings by creating a feminine and luxurious silhouette. The style proposed by the French couturier was called New-Look, as it emerged as a reaction to the functional fashion of the 1940s. Presented in Paris in 1947, he intended to restore to women the sensual aspect. This new image was characterized by the use of straight or broad skirts, very round and arched, narrow and delicate waist, small shoulders and round, and body corseted with well defined chest.

At the same time as the New Look appearance was in place, a restless, middle-class generation emerged, rejecting the materialism in force. In the United States the t-shirts were transformed into outer parts, especially after Marlon Brando have appeared with a t-shirt White in the movie ” On the Waterfront ” in 1954. The jeans, known as jeans, began to be adopted by young people as an expression of their rebellion.

1960 to 1970
The Sixties represented a new change in costume. Youth became a model to follow, conveying an attitude of nonconformity and contestation to the politics and mentality in force. The fashion moves left the street and began to influence the Haute Couture. Clothing manufacturers saw young potential customers and started to create parts especially for them. At the base of the feminine fashion of this decade the miniskirt, presented by André Courrèges, in 1965, and popularized by Mary Quant.

At the end of this decade appeared in San Francisco, California, the hippie movement that was before a movement of mentalities and spread through pop music. Their clothing was inspired by the international ethnic dresses: the boys wore robes of raw cotton and jeans, they had long hair and beards; the girls wore long robes, wore their hair loose with flowers, and their faces without makeup.

1980 to 2000
Ready-to-wear brands began to gain importance with the emergence of designers who, along with Haute Couture, helped to balance the massification of the fashion industry. The relative stability and prosperity of the 1980s favored, once again, the revival of traditional values and tastes. However, the 1990s were international, giving a fair share to the global village. The television, fashion magazines, the tourism and the internet undid the borders, enabling the dissemination of creations have not only French but Italian, English, Japanese and American.

Ready-to-wear brands have developed at an ever-increasing pace to respond to those who wish to convey a contested appearance. On the other hand, fashion designers emerge and what came to be called “fashion author”, which attributes to create an alternative of quality and style to the massification that the development of the textile and confection industry were operating.


The Lean Silhouette
Women promptly followed the new slender and lean silhouette proposed by Paul Poiret, who dictated fashion in Paris.

Straight Line
Dresses were straight lined and high waisted, enabling women to free themselves from the corset.

The Roaring Twenties
The 1920’s, or the Roaring Twenties, was a decade of prosperity, pursuit of pleasure, nightlife enjoyment and artistic renovation.

Straight Lines
The dresses were cut in straight lines, had low waists and showed the legs above the knees.

Nonconformist Attitude
The 1960’s typified a new change in dress. Youth became the model to take after, conveying a nonconformist attitude and opposing politics and mentalities of the time. Fashion movements came from the streets and influenced Haute Couture.

The Avant-Garde
Paco Rabanne, André Courrèges and Pierre Cardin embodied the avant-garde tendencies of the 1960’s and were associated with the futuristic fashion.

The Maxi-Skirt
Young fashion trends in the seventies included the maxi-skirt, hot pants and long trousers.

Return to Nature
Defiance to the establishment with a non-violent, utopian ideology defending the return to nature.

The Seventies
Yves Saint Laurent was the couturier who represented the height of chic in the seventies and his name became a synonym for elegance.

Ready to Wear
Yves Saint Laurent was the man who set the image of the 1970s, although he had launched in 1966 the trouser suit and the Haute Couture smoking for women. His ready-to-wear creations issued fundamental articles for the modern women clothing.

Ecological Consciousness
In the nineties the ecological consciousness is emphasized and news forms of spirituality emerge, and there are new ideas coming to the fore based on a broad, global humanitarian outlook.

The Minimalist
Fashion developed in two major directions: the minimalist and the spectacular.

Portuguese Fashion
A large number of portuguese fashion designed have emerged and been successful since 1980s.

National Museum of Costume in Portugal
The Museu Nacional do Traje e da Moda is located in Monteiro-Mor Palace, in Lisbon, Portugal. It has a collection of 33.000 items, which includes mainly masculine and feminine costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The museum is located in a vast property acquired by the Portuguese State in 1975. This property – a former farmhouse of eighteenth-century recreation – has an extensive green area now open to the public and known as – Botanical Monteiro-Mor park, and its headquarters are urged in an 18th century building – thePalace Angeja-Palmela.

Its purpose is to establish a strategy for the research, conservation and public exhibition of costumes and textiles. Furthermore, it has a policy of safeguarding and promoting the Monteiro-Mor Botanic Park and supporting this heritage among the community.

The collections of the institution include collections of civilian clothing – women, men and children, national and international – and their accessories, fragments of fabrics and bragal pieces, materials and equipment that testify to the textile, costume and accessory production processes.

The first offerings of pieces date from 1974 in the registries of the National Museum of the Costume, all of them of individuals. The public collection that integrated its collection came from the National Museum of the Cars that, since 1904, collected an important collection of costumes of the Royal House.