Fashion Designers in 1939 Predict How People Would Dress in the Year 2000

Some two decades before The Jet­sons brought their ani­mat­ed vision of the future to the small screen, the cin­emagazine Pathetone Week­ly ran a fea­turette in which the “most famous” fash­ion design­ers in the U.S. pre­dict­ed what the well-dressed woman would find her­self wear­ing in the year 2000.

Can­tilevered heels, mul­ti­func­tion­al gar­ments to go from office to evening wear in mere sec­onds, tech inte­gra­tions, dress­es made of alu­minum and trans­par­ent net…

As one com­menter on YouTube astute­ly observed, “Madon­na wore most of these before we even reached 2000.”

As is to be expect­ed, these futur­is­tic fash­ions exhib­it­ed the flat­ter­ing bias cut that we in 2019 asso­ciate with the peri­od in which they were envi­sioned.

Gise­le Bünd­chen, the top super­mod­el of 2000, could cer­tain­ly hold her own against her glam­orous 1939 coun­ter­parts, but the same can­not be said of the truck­er hats, low slung jeans, velour track suits and den­im every­thing that tru­ly defined the look of the mil­len­ni­um.

The biggest los­er of the year AD 2000, as envi­sioned by those famous design­ers of 1939, is the Amer­i­can male, whose drapey harem pants, Prince Valiant ‘do, and ill advised facial hair make George Jet­son look like like Clark Gable.

The poor guy does deserve some cool points for wear­ing a phone, though. (It’s like they had a crys­tal ball!)

And his radio may well pre­fig­ure the iPod, which made its debut in 2001.

Because pock­ets were pre­sumed to be going the way of the dodo (and skirts for women), a util­i­ty belt holds his keys, change, and “can­dy for cuties.”

This last item is sure­ly an unnec­es­sary bur­den, giv­en the nar­ra­tive empha­sis on the female cloth­ing designs’ man-catch­ing prowess.

(Imag­ine the 21st-cen­tu­ry fem­i­nine dis­ap­point­ment when their elec­tric head­lights revealed what they’d reeled in.)

Per­haps the most use­ful inno­va­tion to come from this exer­cise is the “elec­tric belt to adapt the body to cli­mac­tic changes.”

Don’t tell 1939, but I think we’re gonna need a big­ger belt.

As to the iden­ti­ties of the famous design­ers and the delight­ful­ly chat­ty (“Ooh, swish!”narrator), they seem to have been lost to the ages. Read­ers, if you have any intel, please advise.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

1930s Fash­ion Design­ers Pre­dict How Peo­ple Would Dress in the Year 2000

In 1964, Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts What the World Will Look Like Today: Self-Dri­ving Cars, Video Calls, Fake Meats & More

Watch Bauhaus World, a Free Doc­u­men­tary That Cel­e­brates the 100th Anniver­sary of Germany’s Leg­endary Art, Archi­tec­ture & Design School

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in New York City on April 15 for the next install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.