Airplanes and Hobble Skirts

Edith Berg and Wilbur Wright

There are many past fashion trends that we love here at BeWeave It headquarters—we’d totally wear a peplos to work if we could get away with it—but one trend we’re happy is stuck in the past is the hobble skirt, and so we're making it the subject in part 3 of our Garment Challenge BeWeave It series. 

The hobble skirt is exactly what its name implies: a skirt with a hem so narrow that it's difficult for a woman to walk in it (hence the hobble). While the dress sounds awful, the story behind it is pretty neat.

It all started with Wilbur Wright in September of 1908. Wilbur was giving a demonstration of his exciting new aircraft to a crowd in France. One of the women in the crowd, Edith Berg was so thrilled by the thought of flight she asked him to take her on a ride. So her skirt wouldn’t fly around she tied a piece of rope around her ankles and became the first American woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane.

When the ride was over, Mrs. Berg hobbled out of and away from the aircraft before untying her skirt. It’s thought that French designer Paul Poiret was so enamored by this image that he designed the hobble skirt in her honor. 

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