Fashion in World War I: a Christmas present

Christmas in wartime - according to Eve

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 of war. In 1916 Sergeant James Kenny, an instructor at the Imperial School of Artillery, received ‘The Eve Book’ as a Christmas gift from a friend in London. Not so surprising – except that the School was in Zeitoun, outside Cairo (part of the British Mandate established on the break-up of the Ottoman Empire). The cartoon character Eve was a fashion-obssessed, flirtatious airhead – the dresses she is shown in would have looked extreme in London, but in Cairo, where most women wore face veils and ankle-length gowns, they must have seemed surreal.  The dedication of this volume is written as a letter from Eve, who says ‘I have – notwithstanding Aunt Matilda’s and Uncle Fred’s disapprovel – kept gay and frivolous to please you and not becasue I didn’t understand and appreciate what you were doing for me’. The Eve cartoons, appearing weekly in the Tatler, were extremely popular and were published in several volumes and adapted for both stage and cinema. Their artist, Anne Harriet Fish, built her career on these cartoons, going on to draw covers for Vogue and Vanity Fair and to illustrate a volume of texts by Dorothy Parker and others.

This entry was posted in Fashion, Fashion in World War I and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *