Author Archives: Clare

Fashion in World War I: a Christmas present

One of the disconcerting things about day to day life in World War I is the ease with which servicemen (and women) kept in touch with home, with postal services allowing parcels from home to reach even the furthest-flung theatres … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: January 1917

The January 1917 edition of Les Élégances Parisiennes revealed that the French fashion industry was being threatened not only by German competitors, but by the actions of British allies. This threat came not so much through British products as through … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: December 1916

The December 1916 issue of Les Élégances Parisiennes, in the section on the fashion industry, gave some figures which revealed the scale of the problem facing French fashion. In 1913, German textile and clothing manufacturers had exported goods worth £60,142,000 … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: November 1916

The November 1916 issue of Les Élégances Parisiennes gives some interesting insights into the ways that fashion uses and reworks the past. As  Ulrich Lehmann’s Tigersprung: Fashion in Modernity pointed out, uses of the past in fashion are not neutral … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: October 1916

One new use for lace discussed in Les Élégances Parisiennes was in the shoulder and neck areas of chemises and corset-covers. Apparently both evening bodices and afternoon blouses were being made so sheer that the undergarments could be seen through … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: September 1916

The September 1916 issue of Les Élégances Parisiennes contained some articles that laid bare the very real economic and political rivalry between the French and German fashion industries. It reported with approval on an initiative to mark all goods produced … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: August 1916

The August edition of Les Elégances Parisiennes was deeply concerned with the shifting relationship between Paris couturiers and American fashion houses and retailers. There was a lengthy report on a new initiative to control and monetise the reproduction of French … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I – July 1916

In July 1917, the contradictions underpinning Paris haute couture were more apparent than ever. On July 1 the Allied armies embarked on the assault that was to become known as the Battle of the Somme, costing an unprecedented 1 million … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: June 1916

The June 1916 issue of Les Elégances Parisiennes had a slightly different format from the first two numbers. The tension between information relevant to fashion professionals and articles advising couture clients what to buy was resolved by cutting the section … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: May 1916

The second issue of Les Elégances Parisiennes opened with a revealing discussion of the difficulties facing the French fashion industry in wartime. The Lyon trade fair for fashion trades the previous month had been a huge success, with large orders … Continue reading

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