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Tracing a trend: crinolines and mini-crinis

By Jayne Mountford


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Image: Rochas, Monse, Dior SS23/Catwalk Pictures

Vivienne Westwood and the mini-crini

Dame Vivienne Westwood who passed away in December, will be remembered for many legendary designs. One of the most significant was the mini-crini, which combined the construction of the 19th century crinoline with that of a mini skirt. It was an instant success when it debuted in 1985 and quickly entered into the annals of fashion history.

The Victorian Crinoline

A big part of mid 19th century fashion involved the crinoline, a wide bell-shaped skirt the aim of which was to make a woman’s waist look as tiny as possible. At first, they were worn over a horsehair petticoat, but later that was replaced with a flexible steel cage. They remained popular right up to the late 1870s. It was over a hundred years later when Westwood’s mini-crini made its appearance. Since then designers such as John Galliano and Alexander MacQueen have become famous for their updated crinoline designs. In recent seasons crinolines have started to reappear in the shows of several directional designers.

Image: Louis Vuitton SS2022/Catwalk Pictures

At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière showed several dresses with crinolines for the SS22 season. A year later, there were many more bell-shaped dresses on the runways. Here are some of the best from the SS23 collections.

Dilara Findikoglu

Image: Dilara Findikoglu SS23/Catwalk Pictures

The London designer showed a swanlike strapless white feathered mini bell shape with a corset which was laced up in the back.


Image: Rochas SS23/Catwalk Pictures

From Charles De Vilmorin, a full -length blue chiffon crinoline dress had a whimsical print: white and green cat with heart shaped faces.


Image: Sportmax SS23/Catwalk Pictures

A black crinoline skirt with a flat daisy motif in relief and a black jersey top with white placed prints.

Paco Rabanne

Image: Paco Rabanne SS23/Catwalk Pictures

Julien Dossena showed a dress with a silver mesh tank over a layered tulle crinoline skirt and silver embellishment


Image: Loewe SS23/Catwalk Pictures

Jonathan Anderson showed several dresses with crinolines, in black, red, beige and green.


Image: Monse SS23/Catwalk Pictures

Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim showed a variety of crinolines and mini-crinis. An ankle-length sheer full skirt (with an elasticized waist) paired with short shorts, Teva-style sandals, and a trench coat with slits down the sleeves. They also showed the ‘bones’ of the mini-crini

Christian Dior

Image: Christian Dior SS23/Catwalk Pictures

It was at Christian Dior that crinolines made the biggest impact. Maria Grazia Chiuri showed mini-crinis in black and in white. There were also long skirts in intricate lace over hoops.

tracing a trend