With a silhouette that flares gradually from the hips to the hemline – however low it may fall — the A-line skirt is a modest fashion choice that flatters almost every figure. With such obvious advantages, you might think that the A-line has been around forever. But while maxi-length flared skirts were standard Edwardian era and made a comeback in the midi- and knee-length skirts of the 1930s and 40s, you may be interested to know that the A-line owes its name to the famous French fashion designer Christian Dior, who made it the centerpiece of his Spring Collection in 1955.
Dior’s A-line was a very specific: a flaring skirt topped by a smooth waistline and leading up to narrow shoulders. Dior was famous for dressing his models in chic little jackets, and his signature A-line outfit followed along these lines, with a small-shouldered jacket which flared slightly at the hip, and covered an even-more-widely flaring skirt.
In 1958 Yves Saint Laurent introduced a variation on the Dior A-line look, which he called his “Trapeze” line. Maintaining Dior’s wide shoulder-to-hemline flare, this collection skimmed past the waist without defining it, creating dresses that – looked at with a modern eye – seem like a comical meeting point between high fashion and maternity wear!
Yves Saint Laurent’s dramatic “Trapese” dresses did not have much impact on the popular market, but soon, less extreme A-line skirts and dresses were everywhere – and on everyone.
A-line skirts are still a popular choice for modern women looking for modest, yet fashionable wardrobe staples – no matter what their body type. With a waist defined by darts or seams, the A-line skirt falls gently over the hips, making it flattering for large-hipped women whose contours are balanced out by the wide hemline. Women who have top-heavy figures like how A-line designs de-emphasize their upper body, suggesting more of an hourglass shape. Finally, slim, small-hipped women also benefit from the A-line look, which adds a touch of curvaceous definition, without giving up on modesty.