New York fashion journalist Gertrude Bailey wasted little time in applying for her overseas press pass upon hearing the news that the Germans had been driven from the banks of the Seine in August of '44. When Paris fell to the Nazis four years earlier, the fashion worlds of London and New York lost all contact with the great stylistes of that city and their contributions were sorely missed. Bailey fully recognized that the first fashion shows after the liberation were going to be the talk of the swanky - and she wanted in. This is her report concerning the the Fall collections of 1944 and what the couturiers needed to do in order to fully restore the French fashion industry. Although the column largely anticipates the glorious return of Paris chic, mention is made of what Paris fashion was like under German occupation - sitting ringside at one of the runways, Bailey found that
"One found significance in the appearance of green as a color, and noted that the reason it had been absent for four years was because it was the color of the German uniform, which no Frenchwoman would wear until France was free."
This was an unusual article for Yank to run with but it is a wonderful read nonetheless. The column 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 of fashion in wartime. Hawes remarked that the clothing of the leaders can be read as an indicator of forthcoming events.
CLICK HERE to read about the beautiful "Blonde Battalions" who spied for the Nazis...
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 home front fashion-filled pages of CLICK MAGAZINE that served to document the contradictory days when wartime button-rationing coincided with a wide-spread yen for decorating with buttons:
"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.
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.
Here is a an Elizabeth Hawes (1903 – 1971) fashion review covering some of the hats for the autumn of 1942. They were all the creations of John-Frederics (1902 – 1993) - some are simply fantastical while others are a tad less dramatic, but not lacking in style.
(This article was cited by THE NY TIMES for their article on Elizabeth Hawes.)
Click here to read about the hats of 1947.