Dear Libran Dress Historian,
What an interesting field!
Have wondered about the relationship between Uranus and the style of generations eg 1930’s Uranus in Virgo = Vionnet’s bias cut and the most stylish designs of all time and 1920’s Uranus in Leo = Glamorous sparkling beadwork and Chanel, diamonds as a girls best friend?
Also dressing for your North Node? How to tap into your future?
Year of the Phoenix
Dear Year of the Phoenix,
What massive questions! I’m going to save the North Node question for another post (coming soon) and tap into the generational one. Uranus controls our generational response to change and evolution. Not being a practicing astrologer, I’ve sought Mystic’s help with this one and she says that Uranus is a lot more powerful when it aspects an inner planet and it can’t be looked at in isolation.
Coco Chanel, often known as the supreme Leo (Sun and Venus) who re-invented womenswear in the 1920s actually has other major players in her birth chart. Chanel famously said that fashion is ‘(a) caterpillar by day, (a) butterfly by night’ because ‘there is nothing more comfortable than a caterpillar and nothing more made for love than a butterfly. We need dresses that crawl and dresses that fly’.
When they think of the 1920s, people generally prefer to remember the glitzy evening butterfly dresses inspired by Chanel’s 8th house Leo Venus and Sun and Lilith in Libra Midheaven, but forget about the humble caterpillar mode. This was so important because it brought about the chic monochrome daywear and supple sportswear that allowed women freedom of movement and gave them the appearance of dignity in their daily pursuits.
Chanel was a keen equestrienne (no surprise given her Saggo Ascendent) and disdained restrictive frou-frou clothes that wouldn’t let her keep up with the boys. Chanel’s Uranus Mercury conjunction in Virgo is also uncannily apt because she sought to make radical changes by focusing on practicality and fine details. It’s therefore no surprise that she blossomed during the First World War, when her small, simple monochrome hats didn’t get in the way of war work and enabled women to appear soberly chic in the face of mass death. Despite her Leo Sun and Venus Chanel abhorred big hats and hair and was one of the first to sport the 20s bob.
Madeleine Vionnet, known mainly for her slinky goddess gowns cut on the bias (cross) in the late 1920s and 30s was a triple Crab (Sun, Moon and Mars) with Neptune and Pluto in Taurus. She disdained obvious artifice and promoted timeless, classical femininity above androgyny and passing fads. It occurred to her that the cross-cutting technique used to make undergarments cling could be applied to outerwear for a sensuous effect that showcased the female body’s harmonious proportions. Though she was shy, Vionnet also had a heady Venus Uranus conjunction in Leo, and revolutionised eveningwear through dresses that evoked the wearer’s nude form beneath the fabric.
She was the mistress of sheer layers and liquid satins that evoked a second skin. Unsurprisingly, in the 1930s her ideas were adapted to make Hollywood screen stars smoulder. Vionnet, who was also paranoid about people copying her designs and used her Mercury Retro in Gemini ingenuity to devise ever more intricate cuts to ensure her brand’s exclusivity.
Hope you enjoyed the astro-history lesson,
Libra Dress Historian xx
Katerina Pantelides is a dress historian and writer living in London. A Libra with Neptune rising, she is interested in the relationship between fashion, beauty and the occult.
If you have any astrological fashion dilemmas that you would like to be answered on the blog by our Libra Dress Historian, please send them to [email protected]
Image: Venetia Scott – W Magazine