Anzac Day

Anzac Day Postcard

Anzac Day

“We will remember them.”

Bowerbird would like to share with you how WW1 and WW2 influenced society, the role of women and subsequently fashion.

World War 1 1914 – 1918

With the realisation that not all women would be able to marry and have children which was a pre-war expectation, the focus shifted to education and employment. Prior to the war women wore corsets & skirts and embellished blouses, during the war spending money on fashion was a luxury few could afford and clothing needed to be practical for employment purposes.

Coco Chanel, one of the most influential fashion figures, used surplus jersey fabric to make sports suits. This enabled women to take part in work and society like never before and defined the modern woman all over the world.

Three jersey outfits by Chanel for March published in Les Elegances parisiennes 1917.

Once the war was over, women began to develop their own fashion sense, particularly Australian Women, who once followed British fashion, which was impractical for the Australian climate, adapted their style to suit based on not only what was happening only in Britain but the US and other countries. Then came the 1920’s, with all its glamour and decadence, saw women begin to express their sexuality.

World War 2 1939 – 1945

The fashions of this time were influenced heavily by Hollywood films, the actresses and pinup girls. Accessories such as hats and scarves played a bigger role, as they could be extravagant yet affordable. Uniform dressing was a major fashion statement during this time. Due to the limited nylon material women got creative and used eyeliner to draw stitches up the backs of their legs to create the illusion of stockings.
Women started to look to through their husbands’ wardrobes for clothes that they could tailor to fit them. Enter unisex clothing.

Not unlike the end of WW1. After the war people were tired of making do. Dior’s groundbreaking new silhouette “new look” redefined women’s post-war style that was elegant and luxurious.

Christian Dior New Look
Christian Dior’s 1947 “New Look” – illustrated by René Gruau

Life after WW2 was influenced by political and social movements. Rock n Roll was born and the rest they say, is history.
Speaking of which, if you are feeling nostalgic, or curious to see how fashion has changed over time, take a look at this video of 100 Years of fashion starting at 1915.

Why don’t you pop in and see us at The Southern Antique Centre 245 Princes Highway, Kogarah NSW 2217 (Cnr English Street). We can work with you to create a wardrobe that you have always dreamed of!

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