After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Great Depression brought hemlines crashing back down to the floor with its grim psychological effect on the public. The lack of money and merriment meant the debauchery and risk taking of the ‘20s disappeared and was replaced by a return to a level of modesty – both economically and fashionably. The 1930s also saw the dawn of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Whilst many other businesses collapsed, the film industry grew in popularity. Films offered a temporary escape from the harshness of reality. Hollywood made stars out of women such as Great Garbo, Jean Harlow and Bette Davis.
In lingerie dresses the design details, such as ribbons and lace insertions, segmented the body in a way that emphasised the desirable fashionable silhouette. Whereas earlier in the decade the body was divided into several horizontal planes – emphasising the shoulder, hip, cinched waistline and swirling skirt, in the later years … the placement of trimmings is used to elongate and slim the shape. In the second half of the decade the style of trimmings also changed. If at the beginning of the twentieth century fluffy ethereal ruffles, gathering, ruching and other dimensional decorations were used, from about 1907 fashion magazines show more and more afternoon dresses with flat trimmings such as embroidered ribbons, pin-tucking and lace.