The 1910 is one of my favorite years in fashion. Many different trends manifest, the most beautiful designers make their la Grande Entrée. So many styles come in and out of fashion. I’d like to direct your attention to the early 1910s where one of the most provocative- and dangerous- fashion was born: The Hobble Skirt.
It was once noted that since men could no longer restrict women to the corset they created the hobble skirt to confine her movement.
The hobble skirt came into vogue in the years 1910-13 due to the Directoire-revival and Oriental obsession.
The skirts were so narrow that women were forced to take “tiny, delicate geisha-like steps.” Oddly enough even the Suffragettes who fought for the women’s rights wore this new restricting fashion.
"The tighter the better" became dangerous. Since the step was hindered by fabric or the leg-corset (of which I can’t find any extant examples) accidents were reported in newspaper daily. Falls resulted in broken ankles and wrists, fractures and in the case of Mrs. Van Cutzen on August 5, 1910 who fell from her electric car: death.
The accidents were so numerous that travel was hindered by police having to escort hobbled women across the streets, the Pennsylvania Railroad barred the wearing of the style on their trains and women fought for the right to have trams that they could climb up onto without tripping. There was a bill introduced to watch and regulate the width of the skirts and the newspaper continued to report the accidents.
But like most trends by 1913 the fashion world had moved on and abandoned the dangerous hobble skirt.
(Woman’s silk and tulle dress with hobble skirt, trimmed in fur, flowers, and rhinestones. Made by Cummings, St. Louis, Missouri, ca. 1910-1912.)