Women: their role in fashion and Lottusse

La mujer en la historia de la moda

With Mother’s Day coming up on 3 May, we did not want to miss the chance to pay a well-deserved tribute to women. Nothing we know would be the same without their virtues; especially those such as care, attention to detail, patience, delicacy, tenacity and the fighting spirit, that they know so well how to cultivate, helping us to be better people personally and within society. 

These virtues are reflected particularly clearly in the world of fashion. The contribution of women to the evolution of styles of dress has been crucial. And not only on the surface, in the history of fashion, but also in a less visible regard, in the story within: the development of our own taste

Their proximity to fashion and style is not only restricted to themselves, but very often it extends to the people around them. Their work as fashion influencers and advisers for those close to them, especially within the family, is the reason why, for so many of us, women and fashion are so closely related.

In this article we want to review the meaning of fashion and clothing both for women’s emancipation and for their invaluable contribution to the evolution of style. And, of course, how their work at the heart of Lottusse has helped us to improve and become who we are

Women and fashion: forging their emancipation

Changes in women’s fashion have often gone hand in hand with their emancipation. The elements of dress have been, and are, resources to assert their identity and their equal role in society.

We need only recall events that, although they may seem trivial today, were once a step forward in women’s independence. The standardisation of the use of bikinis and mini-skirts in the 1960s led to a number of bitter controversies that were thankfully overcome. Here, we could also mention the rejection of certain elements of dress, such as the corset, which have also become symbols of the emancipatory struggle of women. Undoubtedly, one of the milestones in this parallel evolution was the suffragette movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. These fighters for women’s equality established an identity based on colours. Green, purple and white became the symbol of suffragism, whose fresh air radiated a fashion production rooted in nineteenth-century and masculine tastes. After World War I, there was a radical change in how the role of women in society and work was perceived. There were many causes and, in this article, we will look in-depth at Lottusse during the First World War, but for now we can sum it up with one key fact: the incorporation of women into jobs formerly reserved for men.

This equality was quickly accompanied by changes in the style of dress. And so, the concept of unisex was born. Women threw off their corsets and elaborate dresses and donned clothes that were increasingly adapted to their bodies. Equality with men also gave rise to a clear trend that persists to this day: the addition of items of clothing previously only for men into womenswear.

In the 1920s, various designers played an important role in the introduction of trousers and shorter skirts into women’s fashion. This, in turn, revealed a part of the body that today is rather unremarkable, but at that time was rather scandalous: the ankles. The symbol of all this were the flappers, women who dressed in a style that advocated equality, with loose-fitting clothes that did not show off the breasts or hips. This tendency to renounce what had traditionally been considered to be women’s fashion was epitomised by Marlene Dietrich, who became famous for her masculinity, both in terms of her attitude and her wardrobe, with her now-legendary tuxedo.

The 1940s represented a step forward in this trend. The suspender belts gradually gave way to the use of tights and pants. And 1949 would see the emergence of what would become the symbol of women’s emancipation: the bikini. This garment was adopted gradually, but its way forward was clear and there was no going back. At the same time, these changes were being normalised thanks to use by public figures, actresses and singers. Here we must not forget how Marilyn Monroe made it commonplace to see women wearing a very masculine item: jeans.

Another great symbol, and no less controversial than the bikini, was about to emerge and thanks to a woman. In 1966, designer Mary Quant introduced the world to the mini-skirt. A garment that would be very much in line with the sign of the times and in tune with demands for sexual freedom.

This new addition to the women’s wardrobe would also consolidate another significant conquest: the right to comfort.

New roads were opening and the old walls were being pulled down. From that moment on, women’s clothing would become a personal choice for women, based on their own ideas of style and far from others’ conceptions of elegance. And, above all, they would also discard the flashy and sometimes distressing nature of some of the garments of the past. A new way of understanding fashion, by women and for women, was born.

Women in the history of Lottusse

Women throughout the course of our over 140-year history have been no less important. As we have explained in previous articles, Mestre Antoni, the founder of Lottusse, began this exciting journey in the small Majorcan town of Inca. A town that, in the mid-19th century, was more closed off than today, a remote place where the traditions and customs had barely changed for centuries. This was also the case as regards to women and the perception of their role in society.

Lottusse’s journey began, therefore, in a very masculinised world. But this was soon to change. Especially when Mestre Antoni’s daughter, Francisca Aina was introduced by her father to the daily life of the workshop. An immersion in the commercial life of the artisan footwear industry complemented by a thorough education in accounting, languages and commerce. In fact, so profound was Mestre Antoni’s daughter’s involvement that she accompanied her father on various trips around Spain to capture new markets. 

This preparation proved crucial when, in 1918, after the death of Mestre Antoni, Francisca Aina assumed the management of the company, running it for no less than 10 years. A stage with its own character and as essential in our long history as those that were led by men. If you want to know more about the time she was in charge, we recommend reading our article on Francisca Ana, a woman in charge of Lottusse.

However, women have been present in Lottusse both in the offices and in the workshop. Very soon, from the progressive mechanisation promoted by Mestre Antoni to the future streamlining of work undertaken by his son Lorenzo, women would prove to be indispensable to the production process. Especially in assembly, in the sewing section, where the pieces would be put together and harmonised

If fact, it is women who assume the important task of finalising the product, of consolidating that unmistakable touch of quality and elegance that is our hallmark. Without their attention to detail, good taste, patience, delicacy and hard work, we would not be who we are. Nor would our products be what they are without their capacity to harmonise and balance, to embrace and consolidate the many into one; an aptitude that so well defines all women and that manifests itself in a particularly profound and unforgettable manner within the family sphere.

The role of women in Lottusse’s history, however, does not end here. Women have been, and are, important to us not only as producers but also as consumers. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lottusse began producing women’s shoes, expanding its product to a very wide segment of society. Since then, we have continued to keep women and their needs as a priority, as proven by our catalogue of women’s garments, which ranges from leather bags to fashion accessories

Because of all this, we recognise and admire all women fighters, especially those who play an essential role in our lives: mothers. On behalf of and for all of them: Happy Mother’s Day!