Tucked away in an atmospheric street in the Old Town district of Prague, the Prague Fashion Museum and Vintage Shop is unique. The Museum showcases seven decades of fashion. Here you will find dresses, shoes, handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, gloves and many more items that were in fashion from the 1920's to 1980's.
Prague Fashion Museum — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
It should be noted that the Shop sells vintage clothing, but vintage is not the same as secondhand or previously owned. Rather, vintage garments are older than 25 years and show style and craftsmanship.
Each item on display reflects the former fashion of the day, and is closely tied to historical and political events. Vintage reflects history; it's fashion that will never go out of style.
The 1920's were the beginning of modern fashion. Corsets were out, while flowing lines were in. Women became part of the working force. Women got the vote. Women drove cars. All this begged for a new style in clothing.
The 1930's brought make-up, zippers and paper patterns, which made it possible for ordinary women to make the clothes they had seen in movies. People started going on holidays, and leisure and beach wear became popular.
The 1940's were characterized by tight waists - often referred to as hourglass shape - full skirts, pleats and soft lines and curves. Christian Dior launched the New Look, rejected at first but embraced by many when they grew used to the long skirts.
In the 1950's, couturiers were doing well, but ready-to-wear was more profitable than haute couture. Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren were trendsetters. Teenagers developed their own style and started to wear jeans, once working clothes and now a symbol of rebellion. Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior were the fashion designers of matching outfits, swirling skirts and pillbox-shaped hats.
The 1960's brought fun fashion of Mary Quant: mini skirts, hot pants and multi-colored tights. Baby dolls, trouser suits and shift dresses were found in any girl’s wardrobe.
In the 1970's, unisex was the word. Hot pants were still in fashion, as were midi and maxi dresses, all made of highly patterned fabrics with the main colors being brown, orange and beige.
The 1980's fashion houses became world brands that sold anything from scents to underwear and sunglasses to silverware, simply to make a profit. The motto was "Dress for success." Labels were important, not quality. Characteristic of this decade were stone-washed jeans, padded shoulders, oversized sweatshirts, leggings and fluorescent colors.
Prague Vintage Store — Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone
Besides an overview of fashion from the 1920's to the 1980's, the Prague Fashion Museum and Vintage Shop offers a small number of vintage fashion pieces and accessories. All items are in perfect condition, and come accompanied by washing instructions and information about which period they date from.
The vintage garments on display here are between 25 and 80 years old. Anything older is considered an antique, while anything younger is simply retro.
The Prague Fashion Museum in Stupartska Street 3 is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m and is closed every first Monday of the month. Admission is free.