This was an unusual article for Yank to run with but it is a wonderful read nonetheless. The article concerns fashion as a reliable barometer of societal direction and starts out with a quote from Basil Liddell-Hart (1895 – 1970) on this issue. The writer then goes to the author and all-around fashion philosopher, Elizabeth Hawes (1903 - 1971) who proceeded to speak thoughtfully on the topic. Hawes remarked that the clothing of men can be read as an indicator of forthcoming events.
The article was written by Al Hine, who would in later years make a splash in Hollywood and the publishing fields.
New York fashion journalist Gertrude Bailey wasted little time in applying for her overseas press pass after the news broke that the Germans had been driven from the banks of the Seine in August of '44. When Paris fell to the Nazis in June of 1940, the fashion worlds of London and New York lost all contact with the great taste makers of that city and their contributions were sorely missed. Bailey knew that the first fashion shows after the liberation were going to be the talk of the swanky - and she knew that Paris was the place to be. This is her report concerning the Fall collections of 1944 and what the couturiers needed to do in order to fully restore the French fashion industry. Although the article tends to anticipate the glorious return of Paris chic, there is mention made of what Paris fashion was like during the occupation:
"For four years they had concentrated on extravagant, flamboyant creations in deliberate defiance of the Germans. Everything above the silhouette had been inflated. Yardage, while limited to 100 tons a year for 90 houses employing 12,000 workers, was flaunted... They lavished fabric into parachute sleeves, elaborately draped bodices, skirts that bunched fullness at the front , and hats that were over-trimmed."
A one page article explaining what fabric rationing was and how it effected the fashion landscape of 1940s America.
Read a 1940s fashion article about fabric restrictions and the War Production Board.
Five fashion photographs and a few words on the "government-approved" look for the autumn of 1943. The wartime fashion news for 1943 was apparel order L-85 that had been issued by the War Production Board in order to "conserve material for victory".
To read another article about 1940s fashions and the hardships of fabric rationing, click here.
Click here to read about the fashion silhouette of the early Fifties.
A well-illustrated article from the fashion-filled pages of a 1943 issue of CLICK MAGAZINE that served to document the contradictory days when wartime button-rationing coincided with a wide-spread yen for decorating with buttons:
"Keeping up with the Joneses' wardrobe is no longer a problem. Uncle Sam is standardizing the cut and fabric of wartime clothes. But already the American woman, with her zest for something different, has turned thumbs-down on style regimentation. In a frantic bid for individuality, fad-loving women are rediscovering the decorative button. Buttons are no longer just a practical devices for holding clothes together. They pep-up simplified silhouettes and restyle dated fashions.
On another note: the legendary fashion designer Christian Dior had a good deal of trouble with people who would illegally copy his designs; click here to read about that part of fashion history.
When home heating fuel had to be rationed during the Second World War, a page was borrowed from Granny's play book and women once again began to sport crochet wraps, shawls and booties around the house.