When speaking of the Belle Époque, everybody usually has his own ideas which exact period is meant. There’s no doubt that it concerns a period somewhere between 1871 and 1914.
The peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish, and many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition.
The Belle Époque was named, in retrospect, when it began to be considered a golden age in contrast to the horrors of World War I.
The World´s Fair (Exposition Universelle) held in Paris in 1900 announced Art Nouveau as a significant new style in architecture and design. The fair, visited by nearly 50 million, displayed many machines and inventions, that are now nearly universally known, including talking films, diesel engines and the telegraphone (the first magnetic audio recorder).
Fashion was considerably inspired by the Art Nouveau during the Belle Époque. It was a compromise between plentiful luxury and the wish of more simplicity. For women, waves and laces were still fashionable, but the silhouettes were thinner than before.