War and Dress: Dresses

"You must skimp to be chic" this trend was highly profiled in Vogue during World War II. In America, dresses were tailored into narrow silhouettes that emphasized the shoulders. Wartime designs limited buttons, cinched the waist, and included modest accessories such as belts. Popular fabrics consisted of gabardine, rayon, and synthetic jersey because of the restrictions on silk, wool, and cotton. During this time, less was more and considered patriotic. Every stitch, seam, and button was used for purpose not embellishment.

Artistic influences continued during World War II. The Mexican cinema flourished in the 1940's, and as a result inspired a more vibrant color palette within U.S. fashion. Some women opted for more exotic looks inspired by "terracotta red", "clay tones", and "ocher yellow". Silhouettes include peasant blouse tops and fuller skirts. It appears that CC41 styles in Britain also embraced this tendency, but in a less overt manner. This ethnic inspiration was in contrast to the typical utility look.

Patterns and prints were consistently used in the United States regarding female fashions to add character regarding the no fabric on fabric rule. In Britain, CC41 dresses were enhanced with modest embroidery, unique trimmings, and visible lacing. Despite international differences on restrictions, there was a subtle yet sophisticated approach regarding dress design.

Fashion Collection at Lasell College

  • Fashion Collection at Lasell College
  • Fashion Collection at Lasell College
  • Fashion Collection at Lasell College

Faculty Profile

Carol Emanuelson, MBAAssistant Professor of Fashion

News Highlight

Students, Faculty and Staff Travel to Tanzania for International Service Learning Trip  Wednesday, May 18, 2016In rural Tanzania, learning the English language is critical for a young child hoping to further his or her education, but it is often out of reach. For the next two weeks, a group of Lasell students hope to make a difference in one rural community there as part of a new Shoulder-to-Shoulder service learning trip.

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