The Great Depression brought major changes to the fashion world. A new feminine silhouette returned featuring a natural bust and waist. The new look was long, lean, and sleek. The halter neckline was introduced in 1933, and unique sleeves and back details were important style elements. Hemlines dropped to mid-calf for day wear, whereas evening gowns featured full-length skirts.
The growing film industry and the glamour of Hollywood influenced men and womens styles. Movies offered a temporary escape from the realities of the Depression. Some production houses began mass marketing accessories created by their costume designers. Jean Harlow popularized clingy, bias-cut evening gowns designed by Madeleine Vionnet. By contrast, Marlene Dietrich wore trousers and styles influenced by menswear.
Artistic movements, such as Surrealism, influenced notable designers like Elsa Schiaparelli. Unusual shapes and textures, and buttons and zippers were used as decorations on her pieces.
Nylon provided an alternative to more expensive silk stocking. Snap closures were replaced by metal zippers, and small shoulder pads became fashionable.