1 Women's Dress as an Expression of Social Development in Bohemia in the Years Eva Uchalová
2 Copyright 1999 Eva Uchalová This research report was downloaded from the Research Support Scheme Electronic Library at The report was published by the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute. The digitization of the report was supported by the publisher. OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAM Open Society Institute Higher Education Support Program Nádor u. 11 H-1051 Budapest Hungary This research report was made possible with a grant from the Research Support Scheme of the Open Society Support Foundation. Research Support Scheme Bartolomějská Praha 1 Czech Republic The digitization and conversion of this report to PDF was completed by Virtus. Virtus Libínská Praha 5 Czech Republic The information published in this work is the sole responsibility of the author and should not be construed as representing the views of the Open Society Institute. The Open Society Institute takes no responsibility for the accuracy and correctness of this work. Any comments related to the contents of this work should be directed to the author. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the author.
3 Contents Summary of the research work...1 Fashion and the position of women in society...7 A Czech fashion and political ideas...19 Health reform and modern hygiene application in the Czech fashion...22 Móda a estetické ideály doby...30 Cesty módních informací...34 Změny v siluetě a formující součásti oděvů v letech Organizace módní produkce...44 Stylová interpretace vývoje české módy...47 Publications...53 Modní zpráva z Prahy na podzim roku Illustrations...56 České art deco Illustrations...67 Pražská dáma na přelomu století...76 From the waltz to the tango...85 Illustrations...95 Pro salon a promenádu Illustrations
5 1 Summary of the research work Summary of the research work A. An abstract of the work The character of Czech fashion was formed by the social environment - not particularly wealthy, modest, influenced by the Protestant tradition - and by efforts for women s emancipation. This resulted in the rejection of unnecessary quirky elements in fashion as early as the 1870s. As far as the style was concerned, Czech fashion followed Viennese, German, French, from 1890s also English examples and it took inspiration from contemporary aesthetic principles. National political ambitions appeared through inspiration drawn from folk costumes. Feminist efforts and sports prepared the acceptance of reformist and practical dress, in which Czech authors took an active part. These tendencies peaked around 1929, when the design of a complete civilised women s apparel, based on trouser costumes, came into existence. The peak periods in the development of Czech fashion were the 1920s and the 1930s when a number of top-quality fashion houses were established and fashion as well as social magazines with original fashion designs, photographs, and journalism were published. They produced a specific Czech fashion, referring to the French inspirations but preferring an English style, which was artistically perfect, practical, luxurious, and democratic. After 1948 the fashion styles were created under central control of the communist regime. B. A detailed summary Description of the main research findings for the entire period of the project The period between 1850 and 1950, in which we follow the development of garments in the social context, brought a revolutionary development of feminine individuality. The position of woman in society and her entire personality were principally changed. This period was remarkable primarily for the development of female education - starting with the establishment of the Municipal High School for Girls in 1863 a whole network of high schools was created to educate girls for their future independent existence - industrial, pedagogical, or business schools. At the same time various associations and clubs were founded, such as Vesna in Brno or Olomouc Pöttingeum, a combination of a high school for girls and a finishing school. Very significant for this process was the foundation of the Women s Production Club in 1871 (Karolina Světlá) and the opening of Minerva, Gymnasium for Girls, in 1890, which facilitated the access of girls to Universities. The first woman Doctor of Philosophy graduated from Prague Charles University in 1901, the first woman physician in The American Club of Czech Ladies, founded in 1865 by Vojtěch Náprstek, was a significant contribution to the formulation of emancipation efforts of Czech women. In various forms (library, lectures, trips, teaching foreign languages, visiting libraries, museums, and factories and workshops) it was focused primarily on educational activity, the support of clubs and on charity aimed at children, working women and in wartime the injured. The club was appreciated by contemporaries for its immense impact on the upbringing, education and growing self-assurance of the female part of Czech society. The efforts to allow an independent existence for women increased. After 1869 the first profession in which middle class women could apply their education was teaching, followed by post office services, banking, insurance and business. In the first decade of the 20 th century political requirements were formulated - efforts to provide voting rights to women. They resulted in the election of A. Viková-Kunětická to the Czech Parliament in The feminist movement was supported by a number of women s magazines. In the area of Civil Law women s organizations strove to acquire equal rights for women in marriage and parenthood. The introduction of birth control resulted in smaller families. At the same
6 2 Summary of the research work time, opinions on sex started to change - its role in the development of personality was stressed mainly by the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud. W.W.I brought a significant shift in the position of women. Women replaced men in a number of professions and proved both their intellectual and organizational abilities in all areas of activity. During the 1st Czechoslovak Republic, the emancipation of women progressed. Their equal rights were guaranteed by the Constitution; in the first years of the Republic women acquired the right to vote and the right to be voted, all high schools, universities and colleges were open for them, post high-school studies and specialized courses were organized for them. Women achieved varied employment, acquired high scientific degrees and positions in state administration. The requirement of celibacy for women in the state services was abolished, and it became easier to get divorced. The feeling of patriotic pride, connected with the creation of the new state and the end of the 300 years of bondage in the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy was very important for the ethical profile of women, together with a moral example in the wives of both presidents in the 1 st Republic, Charlotte Masaryková and Hana Benešová. Organized sport, which started to develop in the 1890 s and between the world wars it became a part of the lifestyle of the young generation, further contributed to a change in women s personality. Even in motor sports, which became widespread, women were trying to achieve extraordinary results, often for publicity reasons. Women started to participate in championships and practice sports so far reserved for men, such as piloting airplanes, motorbike racing, etc. In line with emancipation and sport the ideal of feminine beauty changed in favor of a young sportswoman, slim and suntanned, with a short haircut. The relationship between men and women changed, they drew closer from both social and sexual point of view. W.W.II and the situation following the Communist coup in 1948 put Czech women on the borderline of emancipation. The war summoned childless women to hard labor, the ration system was applied to food and consumer goods. After 1948 even mothers were forced to find employment for financial reasons. Emancipation began turning against women. The revolutionary development of the feminine personality was reflected in feminine garments, the creation of which is affected by a number of factors. The first of them, the esthetic principle, determines the basic visual form of a garment of a given epoch, which is further affected by other influences such as the function of the garment, the tendency to use practical and purposeful garments, prevalent political ideas in the region, etc. The basic esthetic principle of the 2 nd half of the 19 th century is historicism in its quickly changing stylistic modifications. Fashion, inspired by the garments of the 2 nd Rococo, was replaced by dresses richly padded with underskirts and a bustle, reminiscent of the Renaissance style and later, of Baroque style. The similarity is manifested in the silhouette, the material used and decorative details. The relation was pointed out even in the fashion magazines where there are references to the styles of Valois, Louis XIII., Louis XIV., Louis XV. Henry VIII and Charles X. Around 1890, once again, the Classicism of Marie Antoinette and the Empire style of Marie-Louise were revived. The 1890 s are characteristic for the Biedermeier style with a typical slim waist, wide-hemmed bell shaped sleeves and wide conical skirt. The historicist attitude was also manifested in the further development of fashion, including verbal proclamations, e.g. in the period of the Neo-Classicist stage of Art Nouveau fashion after 1907, or in the short episode of the Biedermeier revival during W.W.I. Along with this official fashion trend, the Reform movement started to gain ground in the 2 nd half of the 19 th century. Attention was focused on health problems, caused by fashionable but harmful clothes. The reform originated in the U.S.A. where Amelia Bloomer promoted reform clothes with skirts and trousers, and from there it spread to England and further on, to Europe. One Czech magazine (Erinnerungen 1852) covered these designs quite derisively, but as early as 1867 another Czech magazine - Zlaté dno (Golden Bottom) - published designs of sport clothes for ladies with men s style knickerbockers, without any skirt. The reform in the Czech magazines continued in the 1890 s when new, less tight forms of ladies and girls underwear were designed and a series of
7 3 Summary of the research work articles by the Czech physicians, Jaroslav Květ and Duchoslav Panýrek, was published on the harmfulness of contemporary fashionable clothes. At the same time an early stage of a reform dress was used as clothes for home or tea-gown, which was worn without a corset and had a sewnin light bodice. Around 1900 new reform clothes which were of shirt-type, not cut through, started to appear in the fashion magazines. They were not only healthier, but they were also viewed from an artistic point of view. The Künstlerkleid, clothes promoted and designed by contemporary artists in Germany and Vienna, were also created in line with the reform requirements. In Bohemia, the reform garments were not unanimously accepted, as fashion reviews expressed themselves very critically about them; nevertheless, there are three pieces of reform clothes in the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts. The clothes of Künstlerkleid type were only produced in Prague in connection with the peasant-look exhibition in spring 1915 (the designer Anna Boudová- Suchardová). Similar garments had been appearing since the beginning of the century in the pictures of Czech Art Nouveau painters as one part of their artistic style, an expression of the symbolist ideas of the artists. The reform garments were not widespread, until their principles became a general fashion, but those garments which were practical were quickly accepted, primarily ladies suits which came to the Continent from England, together with tailor-made clothes. Pictures of suits appeared in the fashion magazines in Prague around 1890, and they are captured in the photographs made at horse-races in Chuchle in It was a practical ensemble consisting of skirt, jacket and blouse, designed for traveling, but also often worn to work. In this basic form, only a little modified according to the governing fashion, it was maintained for the whole period being described and it became a symbol of the emancipation of women. Still, in 1931 the suit was elected as the most favorite type of clothes in a survey by the magazine Eva. The ensemble of a skirt and a blouse was another new type of clothes - it was very democratic, because it was fashionable but not very costly. Sports clothes, also appearing in the magazine in the 1890 s as a simplified type of common fashionable clothes, were also of practical character. Contemporaries were aware of their importance, which is apparent from the review in Bazar magazine (translated from the German issue) which considers sports clothes to be an early development of modern clothes. One of the novelties was a divided skirt which also appeared in the photographs of Czech women bike-riders, and a sweater, which, however, isn t documented as being worn in the 19 th century. Another development step of the divided skirt took place in 1911 when they were designed as a fashionable lounge suit first in Paris, then in Vienna and Prague. The reaction, however, was nowhere very friendly - it created everywhere a sensation and was rejected. It became generally accepted only in the 1930 s when it was used for bike-riding. The tendency to wear practical clothes was manifested during W.W.I when both underwear and outwear were simplified and skirts were shorter, stopping above the ankles. Practical clothes became fashionable in the 1920 s when new types of practical clothes appeared, such as knit or sewn cardigans, pull-overs, trench-coats, jumper dresses and pleated skirts, reaching just below the knees, and for sport, knickerbockers and overalls. These types of clothes, as is apparent from their names, were often of English origin. Avant-garde clothes appearing simultaneously at various places in Europe in the 1920 s s were also of a reform character. The efforts to interconnect imagination with technical progress in clothes were simultaneously manifested by the Russian supremacists and productivists, Italian futurists, German Bauhaus and the English group Omega. All of them offered an alternative to the dictate of Parisian fashion and liberation from its modifications determined by seasons, time of day and purpose of the clothes. On the contrary, clothes were to be unique for both men and women and it was to be designed mostly for work and technical progress, which was to demonstrate by its form, e.g. by enhancing the cut of the clothes with conspicuous stitching. The avant-garde designs were mostly in the form of overalls and by their essence they did not create bigger clothing conceptions.
8 4 Summary of the research work The Czech version of avant-garde clothes for women was presented at the exhibition named Civilized Woman - Zivilisierte Frau in Brno in 1929/1930, and published in the brochure of the same name. The motif of the protest is slightly shifted from the technical to the ethical point of view and the emancipation of women - the main reason for this, it was stated, was the fact that it was below the dignity of modern, educated and independent women to wear decorative clothes. The designer, Božena Horneková, created her clothes on the basis of men s suits, but she also respects the tradition of ladies suits with a skirt. Unlike the avant-garde she created a very consistent, entire range of ladies clothes including underwear and fashionable accessories.. The clothes were appropriate for various types of women, for different times of the day, different purposes and social environments for which they were designed, but together with avant-garde clothes they renounced fashionable modifications and inclined to uniformity. The designer permitted variability in material and cut, and only establishes a basic model. (See Reform chapter.) The project implemented a functionalist conception of women s clothes, which among other things was prepared in the Czech environment by the articles of Adolf Loos, published in magazines in the 1920 s. It was only proved in practice that her approach was realistic, but it took almost 50 years of development of women s clothes. The suit with trousers was generally accepted only in the 1970 s. The connection with a political situation is one of the most important aspects of fashion. It is apparent in the course of the entire period being described, but in a time of heightened national consciousness clothes became one of the symbols of Czech nationality (Czech in a national, not territorial, sense). This is not a specifically Czech matter - this is true of fashion in its general sense and it can be continuously seen in all European history. The events of 1848, which were a highpoint of efforts for Czech national and political consciousness, were the first such wave. The creation of a national costume became a concern for the entire nation. The form of dress was especially sought after at an ideological level - it was based on Czech urban dress from the time before the Czech Kingdom lost its independence in the 17 th century. Traditional costumes of other Slavic nations were another source of inspiration, but the real form of this national women s dress consisted of a contemporary fashionable cut complemented with adornments in the traditional Czech colors of red and white, such as coccades, ribbons, and bands. White and red colors were later complemented with light blue. Brandenbourg fastenings, a special type of braided embroidery, were considered to be typically Slavic features, but in fact, they are of Oriental origin. They were accepted not only by Slavonic nations in Central Europe, but also by Hungarians. They were often used in men s national costumes called čamara as well as in women s short Slavic jackets called čamárka (small čamara) and other types of women s clothes. The wearing of these national costumes was stressed after the defeat of the Revolution. The efforts to express patriotic ambitions by clothes appeared again in full intensity at the time of political liberalization at the beginning of the 1860 s. The first women s magazine written in Czech, Lada, published in , created Czech fashion on the basis of Czech folk costumes. The inspiration here concerned mainly the composition of clothes consisting of a Slavic blouse, full skirt, bodice, sometimes bolero, and a short coat or long raincoat. All top parts of the garments were provided with or adorned by Brandenbourg fastening, which was considered to be the most important item of patriotic clothes. However, at that time this kind of fashion was similar all over Europe, although it is known under different names. Quite often, these names are connected with nationalist movements, e.g. the Garibaldi shirt, or Zouave jacket. It is apparent from contemporary photographs that clothes of the type similar to the designs from Lada were really worn. In the following decades the interest in national patriotic clothes was not weakened. In the 1880 s the magazine Our costume continued to publish designs of clothes based on national costumes. In 1886 there even appeared designs of a Slavonic uniform by the young Alfons Mucha, but the designs did not meet with much enthusiasm. Interest culminated in the Ethnographic exhibition in 1895, which became a manifestation of the Czech nation, its national identity and ambitions, but not in such a measure that it could influence the governing line of fashion in a more significant manner.
9 5 Summary of the research work A wave of patriotic emotion, in connection with the outbreak of W.W.I, provoked the culmination of efforts aimed at the creation of patriotic clothes, the so-called peasant look ( svéráz ). It was a dress based on simple cuts of traditional folk costume with decorations derived from traditional folk art. The creation of peasant look was supported by isolation from France and aversion to German fashion. The dresses of the peasant look type were also a matter of prestige for the Czech designers - they were considered to be reformist and artistic, a Czech analogy to the Künstlerkleid. This movement culminated between 1917 and 1918 when Czech women turned their attention toward original national folk costumes or their copies. They wore them on special occasions, including the foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state in In 1936, when the Czech nation felt threatened by political developments, there was another wave of the so-called peasant look. The Sochor company, in cooperation with the Melantrich Art Studio, responded to the patriotic mood of Czech women by creating a series of cotton fabrics for summer dresses with cuts inspired by folk ornamentation in the national colors red, white and blue. They were called šohajka or, for the foreign market, Slovanka. The cuts of the dresses made of these fabrics were similar to German dirndls, which at that time were a very popular international fashion, but in Bohemia they were considered to be an expression of patriotic thinking. Paradoxically, all of Europe accepted as fashionable the German national costume while rejecting the German ideology of Fascism. Peasant look type of clothes as an expression of a patriotic way of thinking were once again used during W.W.II. In Brno in 1940 the Czech Fashion Association was founded to seek stylish contemporary clothes with elements of the national costume. The Communist putsch in 1948 essentially changed the entire image of women. Women were engaged in the building of Socialism, in the working process and political functions. The female shockworker became the ideal. This fact influenced the new fashion style as much as the gap resulting from the complete rejection of Western culture, including fashion which was considered to be a bourgeois relic. Czech fashion was formed under political supervision and it was focused on the production of working clothes and simple, practical clothes for working women. Again, the peasant look was a substitute for Western fashion. Czech fashion was supposed to find its sources of inspiration in the tradition of folk dress. It would be a simplification to see the connection with politics only in the efforts to create a national costume, which was apparent, e.g., in the period after 1918 when the national ambitions to be equal to West-European nations were manifested by the efforts to achieve elegance which was to demonstrate the overcoming of provincialism. During the whole period being described clothes were mostly tailor made. The most luxurious among fashion houses were the Prague companies Rosenbaum and Podolská, organized after French examples, where the style was determined by the owners (fulfilling the function of couturier) who employed designers (stylists), cutters, sales-clerks - vandeuses, tailors, dressmakers and also models. These and other companies were permanently in direct contact with Paris where they used to go for seasonal and mid-seasonal fashion shows. Each salon had its own circle of clients - Podolská sewed for the Czech upper class from the whole country, Rosenbaum primarily for clients belonging to a German, Jewish and also Czech upper class clientele. Rosenbaum, moreover, had clients from all Central Europe. Besides these top companies there was a number of other fashion houses both in Prague and outside Prague, the names of which are documented in the directories and on several dresses produced there which have been preserved. Another form of clothes production was a small series production of ready-made clothes in the companies which, besides tailor-made clothes, also produced a small series of ready-made clothes for stock. This method of production was quite a favorite since the last decades of the 19 th century and was used during the entire period being described. The last method was a large production of ready-made clothes, which in the course of the period being described kept developing and being perfected, mainly in the areas around Prostějov and Brno, and also in Prague. The history and competence of the Czech fashion houses is covered in the enclosed material from several types of
10 6 Summary of the research work enterprise which is the result of archival research, study of contemporary magazines and in depth interview with surviving eyewitnesses. The importance of field research, facilitated by this grant, was apparent - otherwise it would not be possible to compare the situation in Prague and outside Prague. The comparison showed that high quality clothes were by no means produced only in Prague. Clothes of excellent craftsmanship on a high artistic level were also produced in Brno, Olomouc, Zlín, Chrudim, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, Mladá Boleslav and probably in Liberec where of course, because of the post-war confusion connected with the transfer of Germans, not much material was preserved. The development of fashion production was apparently connected with the cultural level of a place and its financial circumstances. In Brno, a traditional center of the textile and clothing industry and an important center of functionalism in the late 1920s and 1930s elegant dresses were sewn according to complicated functionalist cuts. Here, the project of Civilized woman originated. In Olomouc - a rich center of the foodstuff industry where the Primavesi family promoted the influence of Wiener Werkstätte, the local ladies wore the clothes of this association, and the local production of clothes was adapted to this higher standard. In Zlín the influence of Baťa s production philosophy is apparent. It marked the character of the town, its society and even the local fashion which is to a considerable extent focused on high quality tailor-made clothes. The collections of clothes in other towns certify that the development of a fashion line was everywhere followed with great interest and where costs were too high, Czech women were handy enough to re-sew old clothes and combine materials. The fashion line was followed even in the remote areas, in smaller towns and in the countryside. For instance, the museum in Rychnov nad Kněžnou has a collection of clothes from the entire Podorlicko region with high-quality and interesting clothes from the end of the 18 th century to the 1950 s. The study submitted furthermore traces the method of spreading fashion ideas by means of fashion magazines in which fashion drawings and photographs are published. The fashion journalism of the 1920 s and the 1930 s, represented mainly by Milena Jesenská, proves how closely connected are fashion and lifestyle, how they mutually influence each other and become a part of social development. The final part of this study contains a survey of undergarments which helped to create a fashion silhouette, with examples of cuts typical for certain periods which the experts produced according to the clothes from the collections in Museum of Decorative Arts.
11 7 Fashion and the position of women in society Fashion and the position of women in society One of the basic preconditions clothing fashion is the individual, the individual who wears an outfit, who acquires an outfit according to their ideas and possibilities and according to the ideas of the social class to which they belong, according to the character of the society in which they live, and according to the current aesthetic opinion. The period in question brought an extraordinary development in women s individuality and significantly changed the position of women in society as well as women s personality. In 1908 Otto Encyclopaedia clearly stated the aims of women s emancipation: 1/ struggle to gain personal freedom, achieved through the development of women s education, 2/ in the social and ethical field: access to all professions and fields of work, cessation of double moral code, abolition of celibacy in certain professions, abolition of prostitution, 3/ in the political field: right to take part in political life, right to vote, 4/ in the field of a family: right for moral and legal equality, independence, economic and parental power (Otto XXVII, 1908, p. 803) First of all, it is necessary to state that the society in the region of the present Czech Republic was not composed of uniquely one nation until the end of the Second World War. Three nationalities lived within the country: Czechs, Germans, and Jews, and the Jewish population usually declared themselves as either Czech or German. Some parts of this work therefore apply to the entire population living in Bohemia and Moravia, other parts apply only vaguely to the German population, and sometimes I have concentrated solely on the situation within the Czech part of society. This applies to the following part of my work concerning the development of women s emancipatory efforts. The development of the Czech women s movement began in the 1830s when the concept of a woman s role in society began to change. Women began to be considered as educators of future patriotic generations. However, Czech patriots were aware of the fact that women lacked the necessary education to be able to fulfil this role. The first institution, whose aim was to raise welleducated, patriotic, young Czech women, was the Budeč School founded by K. Sl. Amerling and active between 1843 and Girls were educated in singing, music, drawing, geometry, the art of stylisation, hygiene, art, foreign languages, and religion, amongst other subjects. Trips, balls, and discussion evenings were organised for the girls. Later, the Amerling s Budeč changed into the Institution for the education of healthy housewives as the core of family, national, and state life both in a moral and practical sense. Among the subjects taught were literature, women s works, singing, music, and French language. (Ludmila Sochorová, The Ideal of the Czech Lady, a paper at the conference The Czech Saloons of the 19th century, Plzeň 1998) In 1843, the private Czech school for girls was founded among the circle of Prague ladies concentrated around Bohuslava Rajská.The start of the 1860s saw the beginning of a movement aimed at higher education and social help and the foundations for an educational system for girls were laid. In 1863 the City High School for Girls was founded and in 1865 the industrial girls school was opened. It had departments of sewing and later also painting. This school developed from an afternoon school for the poorest girls, which was founded by Spolek Sv. Lidmily in The pedagogical institute for girls was also founded in After returning to Prague in 1858 following his forced exile in the United States, Vojta Náprstek played a remarkably positive role in the women's movement aimed at the education of adult women. He was full of novel ideas about how to create a new society. He went to the World Exhibition in London in 1862 and came back with a number of technical inventions, which were later supposed to become the first exhibits of the Museum of Industry. These instruments for scientific purposes, machines and tools for craftsmen and devices for domestic work were later shown at the Industrial Exhibition at Střelecký Island. In showing these instruments to the public, Vojta Náprstek hoped that they would spread throughout Bohemia and thus enable its inhabitants to have more free time for self-education. Vojta Náprstek also organised a series of lectures on this occasion which were also attended by women. He informed Prague ladies about the ideals of
12 8 Fashion and the position of women in society the world feminist movement. They later joined his programme with the "Address of Czech Women" in which they expressed their determination to learn and study despite the ridicule it would attract and asked Náprstek for his help. Náprstek reacted in a way which was usual in the United States - by founding a ladies club. In 1865 the American Club of Czech Ladies was founded which, in addition to other activities, helped to formulate a programme for the Czech feminist movement according to foreign standards and with regard to the specific social situation in Bohemia. Membership of the club was free of charge and the only duty for members was self-education, charity work and youth care. Vojta Náprstek positively contributed to the education of women. His library, which at the end of the 19th century contained about volumes, was opened twice a week strictly for women and he also continued to organise lectures on various topics. These lectures met with a huge response as the figures reveal: 575 lectures took place between 1865 and 1885 and they were attended by women. The lecturers included writers, artists, travellers, top professionals, and politicians who gave lectures to women concerning new works of both Czech and foreign literature, and scientific and technological discoveries. Their aim was to widen the intellectual knowledge of the women themselves as well as to enable them to further spread this knowledge at their workplace. Besides lectures, the American Club of Czech Ladies also organised trips to the countryside surrounding Prague, common visits to museums, libraries, factories, charity institutions, workshops and other places. Vojtěch Náprstek also educated his ladies, among other subjects taught was dress etiquette. According to Božena Studničková, a personal observer, (Ženské listy 43, no. 2, January 25, 1915) he reproached young ladies for flashy and expensive adornments as well as for veils and for strikingly decorated dresses. The club also provided lessons in foreign languages such as English, French, and Esperanto, as well as in choral singing. After the foundation of the Náprstek Museum, for which Vojtěch Náprstek erected a new building in the courtyard of his house U Halámků, Prague ladies were active in the protection of its collections, and worked as guides and guards on the premises of the museum. The club was also involved in charity activities which focused on children, wounded soldiers, and, during the First World War, also on orphans. For example, Vojtěch Náprstek introduced nature trips for children from Prague schools, especially to the Royal Hunting Range. Children were accompanied by ladies who prepared refreshments for them, exercised, and played various games with them. The club also had its own social programmes. The club organised free Sunday afternoons for Prague female workers that consisted of educational as well as entertainment programmes. In 1902, a foundation was established that aimed at helping female workers who were unable to continue their work. The club also financially supported various women s associations such as the Women s Productive Association or Ladies Circle of Královské Vinohrady. The influence of the club on education, upbringing, as well as on the increase of self-confidence of women in the Czech society was tremendous as mentioned by Božena Studničková, this club was the originator of all progressive women s associations in Prague which aimed at the progress and moral development of Czech women. The wife of Vojtěch Náprstek, Josefa, took an active part in activities of the club, and his mother was also supportive. Other members included Sofie Podlipská, Eliška Krásnohorská, Berta Mühlsteinová, Tereza Nováková, Renáta Tyršová, Mrs. Braunerová with her daughters, MUDr. Anna Bayerová, Pavla Moudrá, the Faster sisters, Věnceslava Lužická-Srbová and other ladies who spread the ideals of the club through their social and literary activities. The Women's Productive Association (Ženský výrobní spolek český) became an important institution in the field of the social education. It was founded in 1871 by Karolína Světlá, who served as its first general manager until She was replaced by Emilie Bártová, then, in 1890, by Ladislava Čelakovská, and from 1891 the post of the general manager was held by Eliška Krásnohorská. Until 1906, during the 35 years of its existence, it educated over 20,000
13 9 Fashion and the position of women in society girls and enabled them to undertake independent gainful employment. In 1881, the Productive Association had 5 classes in which 513 girls were taught by 25 teachers. The institution was divided into the school of commerce and the industrial school, which provided courses in handwork (sewing, designing of clothes, embroidery, hatmaking, knitting, etc.), drawing and painting, singing, piano playing, linguistics, and languages, with lectures in French, German, English and Russian. Together with the Association of Czech Doctors, the Women's Productive Association organised courses in the care of the sick in 1873 and it also ran an employment office as well as a shop, which sold products made by Association members and other goods such as "Erzgebirge" lace. Starting in 1873, the Women's Productive Association also published the magazine "Ženské listy", which was edited by Eliška Krásnohorská and served as a platform for expressing the emancipation ambitions of women for many years. The association remained active until (Pechová-Krásnohorská, E., Co přinesla léta. Díl 2, sv. 2, s. 133) The Association was only for girls of Czech nationality, the German section of Prague's women inhabitants also had a similar Productive Association founded in 1869, in which 446 girls studied in 1881.(Statistická knížka král.hl. m. Prahy Díl 1, Praha1882, s. 197) In the last two decades of the 19th century, common understanding of women's struggle for economic independence increased and therefore a number of women's associations were created. Among these was for example the association Household with cooking school in 1885 founded by Anna Náprstková and many similar girls' schools. The City School of Advanced Girls was founded in 1884 with the aim of providing a perfect training in sewing garments and clothing. The school also had a department of commerce with language courses, a literature department and workshop. A number of other commercial and pedagogical schools, both private and state, followed soon afterwards. From around 1900, the government supported the newly-founded lyceums - a kind of girls' school similar to realschule and girls' high schools. Finally, the first Girls' Academy of Commerce was opened in Teaching became the first profession available to women from the middle class when, according to the law of 1869, women were allowed to take up teaching jobs at public schools. Soon after teaching, women made their way into the postal services (in 1872) and later into banking, insurance and commercial services. Women working manually created their own Organisation of Working Women in (Ottův slovník naučný, díl 27, heslo: Ženská emancipace. Praha 1908, s. 810 a d.) Girls from wealthy social circles still had problems in finding an adequate higher educational institution that would provide lessons in social behaviour and foreign languages. Czech girls had to seek such type of education at colleges in Vienna, Dresden, Switzerland and Germany. An institution called Vesna, a girl s boarding school, was founded in Brno, and a so-called Pöttingeum for girls from wealthy families was established in Olomouc in A convent boarding school was also opened in Prague by the nuns of the order of the Sacred Heart. Seven German colleges also already existed. The first Czech college was founded as late as 1898 in Prague. It was located at no. 25 Žitná street and its director was a teacher of German and French, Julie Emmingerová, a sister of painter Helena and musician Kateřina. The college had 35 students and 9 other girls attended its classes as external students. The study programme of the college focused on the natural education of woman in family life and her role in society. The school s main goal was to educate women in the patriotic spirit towards faith in God, a hard-working attitude, and good manners in social life. The programme was particularly aimed at students from Girls High Schools as well as other similar institutions, and taught them how to dress well, how to behave socially, and how to be a good housekeeper. Girls also took lessons in Czech and foreign languages. The college aimed at educating both the heart and soul of the girls and at shaping them into the ideal Czech ladies (L. Sochorová, The Ideal of the Czech Lady, l.c.) Despite the unprecedented increase in women's emancipation, university education remained unavailable to women since there was no secondary school for girls to prepare them for university
14 10 Fashion and the position of women in society studies. Eliška Krásnohorská took up this challenge and, after long discussions with male Czech intellectuals and negotiations with official authorities, she succeeded in founding a private secondary school, called Minerva, in This school, where girls finished their studies by sitting leaving exams and were awarded with a school leaving certificate, enabled girls to study at universities. (Pechová-Krásnohorská E., l.c. díl 2, sv. 1, s. 120 n.) During its existence, the Minerva school kept a reputation as a modern progressive educational institution. A number of Minerva graduates became remarkable personalities of the cultural and artistic life of Prague, including Milena Jesenská and Staša Jílovská and many others. The first title of Doctor of Philosophy in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be awarded to a woman was given to M. Baborová in 1901 and the first female medical doctor studying in Prague, A. Honzáková, finished her university education in Her predecessors in this profession, A. Bayerová, B. Kecková and M. Kurková studied in Switzerland. In 1908, there were 24 female graduates of the Faculty of Philosophy in Prague and 8 female medical doctors. However, an important event came in 1906, when Dr. Marie Peigertová undertook the job of medical registrar in the new children's hospital in Prague. She was the first-ever woman in such a position. As far as art was concerned, the idea of women as actresses, singers and musicians had always belonged to Czech cultural life and at the end of the 19th century, female writers did not have to fight for their position either. Women with a talent for graphics acquired the possibility for professional education in 1885, when the School of Decorative Arts was founded. In the second half of the 19 th century, sport and physical exercise contributed to the harmonic development of women s personalities. The Sokol physical training association, which was founded in 1862 and whose aim was to raise a young generation fit and healthy in both body and soul, able to spread Czech patriotic ideas, became popular for a long period. At the beginning, the Sokol was associated with leading Czech personalities in intellectual, artistic, and social circles, later it became a mass movement and regularly held rallies. The Physical Education Society of Prague women and girls was founded in 1869 as a girls branch of Sokol on the initiative of the Sokol s founder Dr. Miroslav Tyrš. He explained that at the time that since girls at schools face the same intellectual requirements as boys, they should take equal care of their bodies so that they do not underdevelop. As early as 1871 the association demanded the introduction of girls physical education into school subjects at primary schools. The demand was met in 1874 on the condition that the association would provide female teachers for the subject. (V. Pacina, Sport v Království českém, Praha 1986, s. 37; Meergansová A, Tělocvičný spolek paní a dívek Pražských. In: Památník vydaný na oslavu 20letého trvánítělocvičné jednoty Sokola pražského, Praha 1883, pp ) Young women were also soon captivated by sports. Besides physical training, racing and hunting, that were popular among the aristocratic and wealthier classes, watersports, cycling, tennis, hiking and also athletics and fencing were pursued. Winter sports such as skating and sledding had been pursued for long time by Czech women, and women with skis followed men into the mountains at the end of the 19th century. Perhaps the first photograph of woman on skis, capturing the mother of Mr. Reich, a forester from Harrachov, appeared in the Prague Illustrated Courier in At the beginning of the 20th century woman began to travel to the mountains more often. Emila Rösslerová, the wife of the Czech skiing pioneer, visited the Krkonoše mountains for the first time in At the beginning of the 20 th century, fashion magazines began to publish outfits for motor sports. The feminism movement found platforms for expressing their views in various women's magazines. Besides the "Ženské listy", which was one of the oldest of its kind in Europe, other magazines such as "Ženský obzor", "Česká hospodyně" (1900), "Ženský svět", "Ženská revue", "Šťastný domov" (1904), "Česká dívka"(1904) and others also existed. Women, led by Eliška Krásnohorská, expressed their political demands after the Anniversary Exhibition in 1891.
15 11 Fashion and the position of women in society The Czech Women's Club, founded in 1904, had political as well as social programmes. The club associated women of all political views and all classes such as F. Plamínková, F.Zemínová, M.Tůmová, Dr. A. Honzáková, Ch. Masaryková and A. Masaryková and A. Leichterová. After large demonstrations in 1905, the Committee for Women's Suffrage was founded. The long lasting struggle paid off in 1912, when the first woman, writer A. Viková-Kunětická, was elected to the regional parliament. However, women only attained suffrage in 1920, after the independent Czechoslovakian state was founded in Another aspect of the emancipatory movement was a struggle for the reform of marriage. The position of the woman changed as she became independent from her husband, and was able to support herself through her own work. Women developed stronger personalities and were no longer willing to hold a submissive position in the family. Problems at that period were caused by the valid rights of father which assigned him all powers attached to child it was the father who decided about a child s future profession, who was responsible for the child s wealth, who represented a child in court, who gave a child permission marry if the child was not of the age of consent. In case of divorce, the child belonged to the father (sons from the age of 4, girls from the age of 7), but it was only the mother who was responsible for child s feeding. (Ženské listy magazine 1906, p. 221, O volebním právu žen - speech held by Krista Nevšímalová at the Karolina Světlá association in Vlašim on November 18, 1906). Representatives of the feminist movement struggled to change the rights of father into the rights of the family. The most important issue for the marriage reform movement was the division of costs for a child upbringing. Women demanded the state to bear a certain part of the costs connected with the birth and raising of a child and they also called for the adoption of measures protecting woman before birth and during the six-week period after birth. Women also called for nursing homes and kindergartens for children from poor families. However, besides the economic issues, the emancipatory movement also focused on issues of emotions and morals. A turning point was the introduction of birth control resulted in smaller families with only two or three children. At the same time opinions on sex started to change - its role in the development of human personality was stressed mainly by the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud. During the First World War, women were given an opportunity, or rather faced the necessity to show and employ their abilities. Women not only devoted their energies to handiwork for soldiers, knitting various wrappers, caps, gloves, long leggings, socks to cover stumps of arms, and sewing clothing and bandages, but also served in hospitals, military hospitals, rehabilitation institutes for wounded soldiers, in nursing schools, baby-care centres, kitchens and public facilities for providing meals, charity centres and offices. In many professions women had to replace men who were taken to the army. Consequently, women gradually began to work as shop assistants, shoemakers, postal workers, conductors, street-sweepers, window-cleaners, cleaners of locomotives, etc. They were also active in charity work, for example the association called Pomocný sbor města Kroměříže pro postižené válkou (Aid Association of the City of Kroměříž for Victims of War) sent 40 cases with clothing and other presents to the war front. In 1915, the women s department of the Association of War Care in Plzeň prepared Christmas presents for 1000 soldiers in the field, women in the Red Cross in Přeštice and other local Red Cross organisations sewed underwear for field soldiers. In Pardubice, an association of house-wives took care of Vojenská domovina, an enterprise in which wounded soldiers of various nationalities gathered in order to read magazines and talk about various topics. (Český svět ) In 1917, on the initiative of Czech writer Růžena Svobodová, Renáta Tyršová founded the Czech Heart national aid association. Its goal was to protect Prague inhabitants, especially children, against increased suffering due to the war. The association had four branches that focused on supplies, distribution, finance, and children. It also organised collections of clothing, provided free soups and organised placements of children in the countryside. The association remained active until the beginning of the 1920s when it focused on the feeding of students.
16 12 Fashion and the position of women in society The period of the First Republic brought the fulfilment of the emancipatory efforts of several previous generations of Czech women. The political leadership of the new Czechoslovak state expressed its attitude towards the women's issue in its programme statement, the so called Washington Declaration promulgated on October 18, 1918: "Women will enjoy the same political, social, and cultural rights as men." This policy was later anchored in the constitution with the words: "Privileges of race, gender, and profession are not recognised..." Despite this clear formulation, however, a long and difficult struggle was necessary to translate this program into practice. This is perhaps the reason why so many clubs were founded that united women according to their social and political orientation, as well as their professions and interests. In 1922 an attempt to concentrate these fractured groups led to the establishment of the National Council of Women, which united more than fifty women's associations that existed in the Czechoslovak Republic at that time. The aim of the council was to promote the acknowledgement of the dignity and respect of women, to bring about their equality with men in the areas of education, employment rights, and equality of working conditions, and attempt to increase the influence of women in political decision-making, and the general moral improvement of society. Throughout the existence of the National Council of Women, F.F. Plaminková / / was at its head. An elementary and middle school teacher in Prague, and inspector of schools for female professions, she had travelled throughout Europe during her early years and worked as a war correspondent during the Balkan War in As a long-time passionate advocate of women's emancipation, she was one of the founders of the Women s Club in 1904, and later a member of a number of feminist organisations abroad, and, from 1925, a senator serving in the national parliament for the National Socialist Party. She was a close collaborator of Dr. Milada Horáková and together they were executed by Nazis during the Second World War. The first success in politics was the acknowledgement of both the active and passive electoral rights of women with a law promulgated in At first women gained electoral rights for local institutions by the law dated January 31, 1919, and the 1920 constitution contained the main democratic principles of electoral rights which were further specified by laws nos. 123, 124, 208, and 431 from (Thanks for this information to JUDr. Karel Litsch) In spite of this, the participation of women in the political life of the new republic increased only slowly. Women became mayors of communities and were candidates in elections to the National Assembly, but their numbers were still low - in the elections of women were given mandates as members of parliament and senators, which was still only 3% of the total number of seats in the National Assembly. The new era opened new opportunities to women for education and employment. As far as secondary schools was concerned, they were all open for girls and it should be noted that girls used their opportunity. Statistics from that period show that young women made use of their new opportunities: while in the school year 27.7% of high school students were female, by this number had increased to 34.77%; at pedagogical high schools the percentage of female students was even as high as 55.87%. Young women were able to continue their education after their school-leaving examinations - in 1936 they graduated from short-term courses at pedagogical institutions; schools of arts and crafts; the state music conservatory; business courses at the business schools, complemented by instruction in languages and stenography; courses for the textile industry and care-giving; as well as from a year-long course at the state school of economics. Graduates of these courses and schools found employment as teachers in schools of various levels and kinds, as business and office workers in both the public and private sectors, in health-care, agriculture, etc. A special case was the area of health and social care that developed after In 1935, three schools existed that specialised in the education of social workers. Graduates of these schools were employed by health and social institutions, clinics, and pharmacies. As far as university education was concerned, before the First World War, only two schools of Charles University - the schools of medicine and humanities - had been open to women. The other institutions of higher learning - the school of law and all technical schools - accepted women only after the change of political climate in In the academic year , 6.86% of a total of 25,580
17 13 Fashion and the position of women in society university students were women; by , 16.95% of a total of 26,000 university students were women. In the 1920s women's employment in various professions was closely followed by women's magazines. In 1928, for example, they noted the first female attorney and associate professor at the school of law. The designation of a woman as an associate teacher of Catholic religion in Brno was regarded as a great success. A list of university studies open to women and for their employment after graduation, published in 1936, reveals the penetration of women into all areas - they could work as high school teachers; in scientific institutes; as doctors, attorneys, judges, notaries, lawyers in public, private, and foreign service; as agricultural specialists, managers, consular officials in embassies; as chemical engineers in enterprises and factories; as architects, designers, and entrepreneurs; as employees in insurance and health institutions; as painters, sculptors, etc. University study in construction and electro-technical engineering was open to women, but prospective female students were warned that these branches still employed the least number of women and that women in engineering were still hired with great distrust. Women attained the highest qualifications in their fields of study. In 1934 there were several associate professors at the Prague university, and there was even a female full professor at the faculty of medicine in Bratislava. In the 1930s, a woman claimed a high administrative function: MUDr. Marta Krupičková-Johanovská was named ministerial counsellor at the ministry of health. At the same time, even women in the lowest position of housekeeper were given general acknowledgement in society. In 1930 housekeepers united in the Union of Czechoslovak Housekeepers, whose purpose was to promote the moral mission of women in the family and to insure technical training for all tasks demanded by a modern household. Housekeepers worked in commissions "for research and rationalisation of households", "for professional questions of housekeeping", "for consumer and employer questions". They tried to persuade businesses to maintain cleanliness and hygiene. A questionnaire in the pages of Eva magazine regarding household helpers was also associated with this work. A result of this poll was the training of young household helpers provided by a centre for unemployed youth. In civil law, one of the first laws of the new state abolished the requirement of celibacy for women employed in the public sector and also acknowledged their right to the same salary as men. The new law made divorce easier - so much so that it was later criticised for the fact that divorced women and their children were not sufficiently socially secure. In 1929 women demanded reform of the civil code, demanding that no differentiation be made between children born in and out of wedlock. They also demanded that records of illegitimate births be erased from the public register. The law on prostitution no. 241 from 1922 which was passed thanks to the struggle of member of parliament Alice Masaryková abolished regulation of prostitution, i.e. it forbid the establishment and running of brothels and ended police and institutional surveillance on prostitutes. The law was officially aimed at the prevention of venereal diseases, but the main motivation of its authors was the moral issue of the matter. The law was criticised by county doctors as prostitution did not cease to exist and was no more regulated. (Lujo Bassermann, Nejstarší řemeslo, chapter writen by Jiří Pešek p. 324) Efforts for education and the attainment of professional qualifications were important features of the modern emancipated woman. At the same time, emphasis was put on her moral qualities as well. The example of T.G.Masaryk, felt throughout society, was for women complemented by the example of his wife, Charlotte Garrigue Masaryková, who was admired and respected for her wisdom, nobility, and courage, qualities that had been especially in evidence in the period of opposition to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The same moral prestige was later enjoyed by the wife of the second president of Czechoslovakia, Mrs. Hana Benešová, who stood by her husband's side from Like Mrs. Masaryková, she suffered persecution for the political activities of her husband during the First World War. Later, as the first lady, she had to face
18 14 Fashion and the position of women in society the spiritual suffering associated with the Munich Agreement and the occupation of the Czechoslovak Republic by the Germans. The character of the modern Czechoslovak woman was formed in the conditions of the fortunate symbiosis of the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the young state which created the conditions for the full unfolding of women's individuality. The period demanded refinement in all areas of women's lives. Characteristics that women gained through their involvement in professional and social life, such as accuracy, responsibility, practicality, and political and economic engagement, were also valued. The optimistic mood of the successfully developing young state, the vision of a happy future with opportunities for education, personal independence, professional and social fulfilment for women, began to cloud over in the 1930s. The loss of illusion among the young generation was expressed by Olga Schieszlová in Eva magazine in 1938: "We will have to limit our standard of living, though we have always heard that it is desirable to raise it. We see the growth of poverty, though we have always hoped that it will be abolished. We see arguments, though we have always been taught the victory of concord. We see the domination of material power where we expected the victory of spirit, and the shadow of war is growing larger, though we were raised to have faith in humanity, morality, and hope for a lasting peace among civilised people. We are passing from a bright and rich youth full of faith into a life of uncertainty, deprived of the most beautiful dreams." The first reason for this disillusion was the economic crisis that brought the problem of unemployment. One of the proposals for the solution of this problem was to bar women from state and public service, a proposal further supported by the decreasing birth-rate which, according to economists, was caused by the excessive number of employed women. This proposal contradicted the whole sense of the emancipatory process and challenged some of its successes, and thus provoked a wave of opposition in the women's movement. Nevertheless, with time the proposal was pushed through. After the occupation of the Sudeten lands in 1938, the measure was even extended to private enterprises in order to provide for Czech refugees from the German occupied areas. The second reason for the loss of optimism was the political situation. The fear that peace in Central Europe might be threatened had already appeared at the beginning of the 1930s in conjunction with political developments in Germany. With the passage of time, this feeling grew ever more intensive, but it only slowly evoked a determination to act. At first Czechoslovak women expressed themselves politically: at the congress of the International League for Peace and Freedom in Luhačovice in 1937 they rejected the notion of a neutral state. They justified their position with the need for the human solidarity of all nations, collective security, and the indivisibility of peace. At the same time, brochures on topics such as Woman and Defence, and magazine articles appeared which advised people how to act in the case of an attack, how to store food, how to create provisions, and how to run a household under conditions of war. On July 1, the National Council of Women published an appeal in Eva magazine for women to look for positions according to their abilities and possibilities for the defence of the state, to attend courses of the Czechoslovak Red Cross, to become members of civil fire brigades or members of Motorised Defence Corps, to give blood, to organise neighbourhood watches of well-trained and calm women, or at least to accustom themselves with precautions against chemical attacks. The time of the Munich conference and the subsequent occupation of the Sudeten lands in September 1938 provoked great political and practical action in women's organisations. The National Council of Women sent appeals to related organisations throughout the world, to personalities in political and cultural life, to president Beneš and his wife Hana. They wrote that Czechoslovak women were prepared for the "sacrifice of blood, lives, and possessions", and called on the government not to accept the dishonourable conditions of the Munich accord. They sent warnings to the world that the sacrifice of the Czechoslovak Republic would not keep peace. Nevertheless, the Munich accord was signed and immediately put into effect. Czech frontier areas were occupied and tens of thousands of Czech inhabitants were expelled to the remaining
19 15 Fashion and the position of women in society territory of the republic. On September 28, the day of St. Wenceslas, a patron saint of the Czech lands, the National Council of Women published a declaration: "Truth prevails - love prevails! At Easter we turned to you with the slogan 'Truth prevails'. We insist with unshakeable faith in its validity, though it now appears threatened by brute force. Today we add to it the slogan 'Love prevails'. Both the greatest sacrifice and small actions of everyday life, blessed with love, remain an eternal value. Let us put aside selfishness of all kinds, let us only think of that which is common to and unites us all. Never before have unity and love of all people of good will been more necessary. Let us be brothers and sisters, let us be one family. Strong and determined, let us strengthen and help each other with advice, actions, and understanding. As our President-Liberator said, 'Love, liking, is the greatest moral force - from it comes all mutual sympathy, help, and co-operation' ". The intellectual and moral qualities were accompanied by the development of physical culture cultivating health, strength, and beauty. The beauty of the human body, the artistic expressive movement, and intellectual values came together in modern expressive dance, which was practised at a number of dance schools in Prague represented by names such as Milča Mayerová, Anka Čekanová, Jarmila Kröschlová, and Jožka Šaršeová. They choreographed their dances in co-operation with outstanding designers such as Jaroslav Horejc and the architect František Zelenka, using motifs from contemporary music. A performance of Josephine Baker in Prague was a sensational event. Also cultivated with enthusiasm was social dancing, in which one exotic name followed another, until in August 1926 Gentleman magazine claimed that the Charleston was ruler of the dance floor. Rhythmic exercise, propagated by Eliška Blahová, director of the Girls' Academy in Brno, was a widespread form of physical culture. Gymnastics in the interpretation of Bela Friedländrová -- a multi-faceted sportswoman, organiser of womens' sport and social life, publicist, who also profited from a two-year study trip to the U.S.- also grew in popularity. Sokol remained the organisation of physical education with the greatest mass involvement. The organisation's rallies were not only celebrations of physical culture, but also political demonstrations of the unity of the young state, especially in the years before and after World War II, in 1938 and Popularity of sports was further growing, especially in the 1920s. Summer and Winter sports, cycling, ball games, and tennis became more or less accessible to the working middle class of young women. The younger generation discovered a new, unmediated relationship to nature which was manifest by the spread of water sports and hiking. Canoe and kayak trips on Czech and foreign rivers in connection with camping in the open nature were particularly popular. Camping grew in popularity and weekend log cabins sprouted near large cities. It was especially in this environment that a new ideal of girl and woman was formed - the model of a friend and partner for a man who regardless of the situation was happy, direct, and uncomplicated. Sunbathing was one of the features of the modern lifestyle, and it was done with such passion that an author of an ironic article in Měsíc magazine compared it to baking a goose in an oven. Holidays in the countryside and occasional trips to the Adriatic became affordable even for the middle class In the 1920s, women took up sports that had previously been reserved for men. The first Czechoslovak women pilots appeared, and motorcycles also attracted the interest of Czechoslovak women. They not only rode in sidecars, but also learned how to drive motorcycles and even to race on speedways. Automobile driving became popular and widespread among Czechoslovak women. The famous Czech race driver, Eliška Junková, finished her outstanding racing career with victory in the most difficult car race in Europe, the Targa Florio, in A year later, after the death of her husband, the race driver Čeněk Junek, she quit her racing career. However, motor sport still attracted women who achieved exceptional results: in 1933 Mrs. Elstnerová, together with her husband, crossed the Italian Sahara, Southern Tunisia, Algeria, and Southern and Western Morocco. The "Blue team" consisting of six Czech women, mostly wives of directors of industrial entrepreneurs, undertook a car trip to Africa in order to promote the quality of Czechoslovak cars. Car fashion became a social matter. Competitions known under the name Concours d elegance that focused on a combination of driving skills and elegance met with great interest with both public and press throughout Europe. Such competitions were also organised in some Czech cities such
20 16 Fashion and the position of women in society as Poděbrady. However, Czech female drivers also took part in competitions abroad, for example in 1935 Mrs. Marie Hrubcová won the concours d elegance in the town of Dinard a la Baule in France. This activity also introduced a new aesthetic ideal of woman. The change was noticed, among others, by Marie Fantová (she used a pseudonym Ma-Fa) in her article published by the Elegantní Praha magazine no. 8, 1924, p In a short film she saw a young girl, almost a child, of slim and tall figure dressed in felt hat, simple, short and comfortable skirt and jumper who hit a golf ball in a natural position. As she observed the movement of the young, healthy and fit body she realised a new vision of the modern young girl and compared it with Czech girls of that period, whose ideal is to be chic and interesting. She refused their gentle chunkiness that she considered to be steady fattiness and she also refused French decorative chic that was so popular in the circles of fashion houses. Since that time, a beautiful woman was one who was athletic, young-looking, slim, firm, with short hair and a tan. Milena Jesenská was also a keen propagator of the new vision of women. In her articles published in dailies and social magazines she dealt with issues of emancipation and new the ideal of women. Her ideal was a woman who would be independent, hard-working, firm, and brave, who could be a great comrade of her husband, his friend, and supporter, but who can also be totally self-responsible and self-supporting. (Dáma a moderní žena, Cesta k jednoduchosti p. 23). Jesenská also admitted that the highest value of woman is to remain feminine and motherly despite many emancipatory issues that she keeps in her heart, and she also claimed that all women s professions should remain only professions and should not become the mission of her life. (O té ženské emancipaci několik poznámek velice zaostalých. Cesta k jednoduchosti p. 57) In her essay Mají svobodnou vůli, ale šatu nemají (They have free will, but no clothes) Milena Jesenská wrote about the relationship between apparel and social conditions. She compared the development of modern apparel to the development of civilisation, during which all superstitions and prejudices are lost. At the present time, women no longer have to fight for their equal position with men and the convictions of all women are deeply rooted in this equality. The period expresses itself in its inner form. The contemporary woman expresses herself trough the way in which she dresses. Sports brought jerseys and work introduced overalls. The difference between outfits for men and women began to disappear. From the dependent and oversensitive creature of the past, a bird of prey was born, a firm girl and a brave woman of strong muscles capable of precise and clear thinking, a critical and evaluating individual, a civilised woman turning all previous conventions upside down and creating new spiritual values. Wife, lover, mother, and a friend - in a new form of spiritual, timing, financial freedom and erotic purity... Jesenská wrote her essay as a reaction to new fashion trends in which Parisian fashion designers once again called for female shapes, complicated cuts, and a useless waste of materials all of the features that made an outfit more expensive. She felt the difference in the modern lifestyle, objects of daily use and complicated decorative outfits. Jesenská was also aware of the social aspect she realised that not all girls could afford complicated dresses and therefore fashion would serve as means for differentiation between social classes and discrimination against poorer girls. She was aware of weaknesses of emancipation that became so apparent through the fact, that although women studied, worked at scientific plants, and were successful in sports, they did not refuse unsuitable fashion trends just because they were too afraid to differ too much from other girls who might even be less clever. (pp ) The essay by Milena Jesenská mentioned above, appeared in a bi-lingual Czech- German publication called Civilised Woman, which was written by Božena Horneková, Zdeněk Rossmann and Jan Vaněk and published in Brno on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition that took place between 1929 and A subtitle of both the publication and exhibition was How should the cultivated woman dress? and an answer to this question was a new concept in women s garments based not on skirts, but strictly on trousers that were derived from men s outfits. As one of the co-authors of the book, Jan Vaněk mentioned that it is beneath woman s dignity to dress according to the latest fashion, because the present day woman collaborates with men on human progress, and fashion only spoils her personality. The main mission of the publication
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