Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Fashion on the Ration

It's Wednesday mid-morning. This morning 8-10 was the press preview of Fashion on the Ration.  I have been looking forward to this since the start of the year.  And what can I say about this exhibition?  It was- well nothing. I couldn't get there in the end due to other commitments (not happy)  However, I planned to blog it and blog it I will with the help of their press release and press photographs, and then when I can get down I will! Next week with any luck!
This exhibition has been staged and hosted by the Imperial War Museum to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.  It shows how in the face of adversity fashion not only survived but flourished (the love of fashion of the 1940s today attests to that fact). The exhibition pulls together some 300 artifacts and pieces to put together a picture of the fashion and lives of men & women who lived during the era.
The exhibition appears to be broken down in to different sections:
  • Uniform: this is obviously a huge clothing change as so many previous "civvies" would ahve gone in to uniform.  There were so many differences between different services that uniforms were often part of the reason people choose a particular service!
  • Functional Fashion: This is one of the sections of the exhibition which I was really interested to see.  How gas masks were integrated into outfits by creating special handbags with compartments for them for example.
  • Make do & Mend and rationing: One of the most well know facts of World War Two is the make do and mend attitude.  It is fascinating to see what ingenious solutions people used to ensure they remained stylish
  • Utility Fashion: standardized fashion rules came in to place in 1941 and this section of the exhibition has a catwalk of styles from this era.  This part I am really excited to go and see as I love the CC41 styles.
  • Beauty as a Duty: This is a sentiment I can understand.  Keeping up appearances to keep yourself and those around you's morale high.
  • Peace Style: The war had a lasting impact on fashion and this section deals with it.
As I said I was disappointed to miss this exhibition because the purpose behind it resonates strongly with me.  Many believe fashion to be a superficial and unimportant factor in history, but i fact fashion is an  incredibly strong indicator  of what is and was happening in society and can emotionally effect people and society. Clothes do not make the man or woman but they certainly can be used as an outward reflection of your inner thoughts.  In the case of this exhibition fashion has such a strong impact that the Imperial War Museum felt it deserved an entire exhibition to itself, and seeing and reading more about the fashion of the time you cannot help but to agree. I cannot wait to actually see this exhibition soon!
Admission: Adults £10, Concessions £7, Children (aged 15 and under) £5. Box office 020 7416 5000. Tickets are also available online, please visit: #FashionontheRation.  Also available Fashion on the Ration: Style in the Second World by Julie Summers. Published by Profile Books, £16.99 in Hardback.

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