Discover Lasell

Fashion Collection Receives Visit from UK Researcher

May 31, 2016

The Lasell Fashion Collection's special compilation of World War II era garments from Great Britain was of special interest last week to a British researcher who studied the garments as part of her thesis work.

Bethan Bide, a lecturer at the London College of Fashion and the Museum of London, visited Lasell and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to examine these pieces, which were created following the passage of the British Civilian Clothing Act of 1941 (CC41). The law regulated clothing manufacture and design during the wartime period of the 1940s.

"I'm looking at design and how they were made," said Bide, who worked with Fashion Collection Curator Professor Jill Carey. "I'm interested in how the British Fashion Industry rebuilt itself [following that period.]"

Based on material shortages at the time, British CC41 garments could only be made with certain fabrics and have a minimum number of seams and closures.

Lasell and the MFA hold the largest collections of these pieces in the area.

The topic was also the subject of Carey's research when she held the rotating Arnow Professorship from 2012-14. Carey explored connections between war and fashion and showcased several exhibits that demonstrated how the incorporation of military elements within dress expresses an association to dramatic environmental conditions that surround periods of conflict.

It was during that time that the Fashion Collection also began to invest in pieces from that time period and received donations of these pieces, including a gift from local philanthropist Frederick Sharf.

According to Carey, Bide plans to share her findings from her research with Lasell and the public.