Monday, 29 October 2012

1940s fashion ingenuity

Forties fashion is well represented at Worthing museum with dresses made from silk maps, examples of utility wear (including shoes) and a complete Land Girls uniform. 

In my own collection I have an example of a make do and mend jumper. I bought it about 25 years ago from a dealer in Brick Lane market, London. I think the yellow wool was previously a child's garment because it has a crinkled look to it, suggesting it has been unravelled and reused. On the inside of the jumper the wool has been joined in places which also suggests it was unravelled from a smaller garment. The 3 yellow buttons could have been used on a child's matinee jacket. The khaki green wool is a heavier weight and may have been surplus army supplies. It's really beautifully made and whoever made it took great pride in their work even though they had to 'make do'. 

For fans of forties fashion there is one book that's a must have, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Forties Fashion From Siren Suits to the New Look by Jonathan Walford, Thames & Hudson (2008, 2011) It deals with the French occupation, Make Do and Mend and the impact of Dior's New Look. It's well researched and it features some really great images.

Worthing Museum also have some great examples of utility fashion.This detail is from a suit in the V&A collection by Digby Morton and it features the CC41 logo stamped into metal  buttons. The Utility Scheme was introduced in 1941. Its purpose was to make sure that consumer goods were produced to the highest possible standards at 'reasonable' prices. I like the red bow detail, it's exactly the right shade of red to lift the austere grey. 

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