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Fashion in the 1950s

Fashion in the 1950s

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Fashion in the 1950s

valutazioni:
2/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
116 pagine
47 minuti
Pubblicato:
May 18, 2017
ISBN:
9781784422042
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

More than a footnote to the Second World War, or a foreword to the youth-obsessed exhilaration of the Sixties, the Fifties was a thrilling decade devoted to newness and freshness. The British people, rebuilding their lives and wardrobes, demanded modern materials, vibrant patterns and exciting prints inspired by scientific discoveries and modern art. Despite the influence of glamorous Paris couture led by Dior, home-grown fashion labels including Horrockses and the young Queen Elizabeth's couturier Norman Hartnell had an equally great, if not greater impact on British style. This book, written by an assistant curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, is a fascinating look back to the days when post-war Britain developed a fresh sense of style.
Pubblicato:
May 18, 2017
ISBN:
9781784422042
Formato:
Libro

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Anteprima del libro

Fashion in the 1950s - Daniel Milford-Cottam

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INTRODUCTION: THE END OF RATIONING

In May 1949 clothing rationing ceased in Britain, almost exactly four years after the Second World War officially ended in Europe. Rationing was intended to offer equal shopping opportunity, ensuring that everyone, rich and poor alike, having the same clothing rations, could purchase up to forty-eight (reduced from sixty) coupons’ worth of garments per year. In practice, ration books were widely abused, stolen and forged, meaning that the scheme failed to live up to the ideals that inspired its conception. For her January 1949 wedding, a young bride-to-be, Rachel Ginsburg, bought a chic red wool suit from a Liverpool department store using coupons donated (illegally) by her classmates. The jacket’s nipped waist and flared peplum made it one of the first ‘New Look’ garments Rachel had seen, a term coined by the American fashion journalist Carmel Snow. On seeing Christian Dior’s 1947 debut collection, featuring rounded shoulders, tiny waists and long skirts, either lavishly full or reed-slim, she proclaimed it showed ‘such a new look’. Although other Paris couturiers had introduced fuller skirts and wasp waists between 1944 and 1946, Dior became the designer linked with the curvaceous silhouette that swept away the boxy shoulders and skimpy skirts of the war years. Instantly desirable to devoted followers of fashion worldwide, a whole decade later, tiny waists and full skirts were still recognisably part of the late 1950s fashion vocabulary.

By 1950 the New Look influence was firmly established in longer, mid-calf-length skirts and rounded shoulder-lines. The beautifully matched gloves, small hat, handbag and shoes epitomise early 1950s elegance. This advertisement from a 1950 trade journal promotes a new crease-resistant fabric finish.

The British response was mixed. While politicians rushed to decry the New Look as unpatriotic due to its abundant use of scarce fabrics, and King George VI forbade his daughters to wear it, many British women responded with longing. Barely a year later, even Utility dresses showed its influence, with softly rounded shoulders and skirts cleverly cut to suggest fullness. The Government-led Utility schemes, manufacturing furniture and housewares as well as clothing, were designed to offer economically made but excellent quality merchandise. Despite this, ready-to-wear clothing was seen as an extravagance, with many people wearing what they could make or afford. As a result of austerity and shortages during the 1940s, second-hand clothing became increasingly acceptable. With alterations and cleaning, garments snapped up at jumble sales and charity shops gained a new lease of life for the thrifty dresser, but were unattractive to those demanding absolute newness and freshness in the post-austerity years.

The media encouraged consumer demand for the most modern and technologically innovative textiles, fashions and housewares. Manufacturers vied with each other to offer the newest, most exciting synthetic fabrics. By the end of the 1950s, synthetic and synthetic-blend materials were widely available in every form, from gossamer chiffon to heavy tweed, sold under countless brand names. Cardigans might be made from acrylic-based synthetics such as Orlon, while a late 1950s evening gown might be made from acetate satin brocaded with metallic Lurex, interlined with non-woven polyester ‘Pellon’ and nylon net petticoats, and accessorised with a nylon faux-fur stole.

Paisley-print cotton dress by Nettie Vogues Ltd, Britain, 1948. The ‘Double Elevens’ label, introduced in 1946, indicated non-Utility garments from a manufacturer’s most expensive range. Despite this, the fabric is used carefully, with clever pleats and horizontal bands of ribbon suggesting New Look fullness. The fichu collar gives a softly rounded shoulder line.

In addition to this, fabric designers produced a vast range of original patterns for women’s and children’s clothes and even for men’s holiday shirts. While the 1950s is epitomised by overblown floral designs such as those produced by Horrockses, even that brand offered dresses printed with lobsters or eggcups, and was far from unique in offering fabrics designed by leading artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi. Many of the most famous modern artists of the day, including Picasso, Dalì, and Marc Chagall, produced

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