Women’s fashion had been put on ice during WWII from 1939 to 1944. During the occupation of Paris in 1940, many fashion houses were forced into war-related industries. The progress of the war made it necessary to prohibit all superfluous material and labor. America followed Britain in clothes rationing with L85 restrictions, promoting the approved ” Victory Suit” with its narrow styling as being more practical and patriotic.
The Allied Nations were at a loss when Paris fell because they had looked to Paris as the World Capital of Fashion since the 17th Century. Despite materials rationing on both sides of the Atlantic, some 20 Parisian couture fashion houses violated the wartime silhouette during this time and continued to produce approximately 100 models per year – primarily for wealthy collaborators or for export to Germany. From Designers to Apprentices, the French declared they had fought to keep Parisian Couture alive because it represented a Parisian industry of prime importance, a means of employment…but most importantly, because it preserved Haute Couture in the eyes of the world.
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