Though history may shift, the shift dress remains a constant source of inspiration

- - Draping

Over the course of fashion history, we have seen certain silhouettes re-imagined over and over again. When you think of decades past, visions of Poiret’s corsetless high-waisted hobble skirt may come to mind as translated by Yohji Yamamoto. Chanel’s once rebellious, and now iconic, pantsuit has been a source of inspiration for countless designers.  And Vionnet’s celebration of the female form through the use of the bias cut has shown up in the designs of the many present day designers who feature garments which highlight the natural curves of a woman’s body.

Audrey Hepburn’s famous silhouette created by Givenchy has been the subject of modern campaigns, advertisements and exhibits that have stood the test of time and weathered the changing of trends. The nipped waist of Dior’s New Look conjures an instant reference for most. But arguably, one of the most recognizable silhouettes throughout history is the shift dress of the 1960’s popularized by Mary Quant and Yves Saint Laurent.

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The shift dress – in all its simple glory – is a silhouette staple for many designers and provides a perfect palette for various prints and fabrics, lengths and textiles. Though Saint Laurent will always be remembered for his Mondrain shift dresses, designers have put their own twist on this iconic silhouette throughout the decades and continue to do so to this day. Take a look at  Vivienne Tam’s Resort 2016 collection or Giambattista Valli’s Resort 2016 offering (both featured in the header of this blog) as evidence that this silhouette popularized in the 60’s is just as relevant today.

In our most recent video launch, we will show you how to drape a shift dress. You will learn the skills necessary to recreate this iconic silhouette properly so that you, too, can make your stamp on history. Watch how to drape a Shift Dress above. And for additional essential fashion history, watch the second half of 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries Part 2 below.

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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.