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Fashion in World War I: December 1915

The ‘Fete Parisienne’ of couture fashion in New York generated welcome publicity for Paris couturiers – and funds for French orphanages. But it also highlighted some of the tensions between French couture houses which originated designs and American wholesalers and … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: September 1915

In September 2015, Le Style Parisien showcased styles for the coming winter season by leading Paris couturiers, with detailed description of gowns and accessories. More interesting than these were the accompanying meditations  on the current state of the French fashion … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: June 1915

The gains made by the Allies in April 1915 were short lived, and May brought a series of reverses included the sinking of several warships by German submarines, and the first use of poison gas at Ypres, to devastating effect. … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: January 1915

High fashion and modern warfare make uneasy bedfellows, and the fashion journals in January 1915 contain some strange juxtapositions. Les Modes for January 1915, though published in Paris, resolutely ignored the war, describing the garments seen in theatres and at … Continue reading

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Fashion in World War I: November 1914

In November 1914, American designers launched an initiative to capture the US market for themselves, capitalising on the difficulties facing French fashion houses. The New York Day-Book on November 6th reviewed a glittering event held at the Ritz, but was … Continue reading

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Art Nouveau Fashion 1890 -1914

My book, ‘Art Nouveau Fashion 1890-1914′ will be published by V&A Publishing in September – the preview copies are now out and looking handsome. It was a privilege to work with so many beautiful objects and documents in the V&A collections … Continue reading

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Derbyshire cotton mills

A visit to the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire is a chance to see some of the most important sites in the early Industrial Revolution. Less well known than Manchester, this area was arguably more important for the development of cotton … Continue reading

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The Great British Sailor Suit

Sailor suits for little boys were the first democratic fashion – easy to make and easy to wear, with no stiff collars or fussy fastenings. They were mass-produced in British factories from 1870 onwards, and became the default outfit for … Continue reading

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Embroidered adornment for men: a Rake’s Progress

The E Tautz catwalk at the 2014 London Men’s Fashion week showcased embroidered embellishments by students at the Royal school of Needlework. Following the theme of the ‘Rake’s Progress’, embroidered motifs were left unfinished and distressed, to give the impression … Continue reading

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Remembering those who served

At the time of year when we remember those lost in wars, it’s particularly moving to see craft objects made by soldiers on active service. There is a long tradition of handicrafts made by soldiers and sailors from scraps of … Continue reading

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