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Design And The Full Meaning Of Line

( Originally Published 1924 )

What tone is to color, line is to dress. Outlines and lines of decoration are but a little thing compared with "line." Line is the ensemble—yet it is more than that, it is almost a spiritual quality. It is the woman herself, her habitual pose, her manner, as much as anything; yet it is with line that fashion plans most insistently. A woman may know all the details of a fashion, but if she has not an eye for line she is like the man who sees not the forest for looking at the trees. The prevailing line is more than the paper pattern—it is an atmosphere. Mode and manner are one. It is the woman who desires to express something in dress and whose magnificant courage will see it through who really achieves good line. A great style creator is one such person.

Line in dress certainly expresses temperament. For the stolid there is the Chinese type of clothes. No action is set in its design and form, and it is frank and abstract in color. These clothes are without imagination in line and silhouette. They are not usually for the very thin woman.

For the alert and expressive, there are draperies, which make us think of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Even the straight line dress is given swing and grace by narrow belts of ribbon, metal, or tasseled silks which do not stiffly encircle the figure but by their slant, curve, and swinging free ends, give movement to the costume.

As we are oft told, "line" is the intellectual quality of dress, while color is the emotional quality. Yet, sometimes in costumes of the same color, the line of the one will make one appear practical and didactic, while the line of the other lends an expression of demure sadness or soulful exaltation. Knowing this fact, woman's intuition should be able to evolve and exercise an almost endless gamut, many-sided, many-faceted, of "her infinite variety."

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