Linda Przybyszewski: "Forties Fashion: Devil in a Blue Dress and Pink Overalls"


Location: Scholars Lounge, Hesburgh Library (View on

Women's fashion faced some of its greatest challenges in the 1940s.  World War II meant that fabrics and plastics were devoted to the war effort, Paris--long the source of all fashion trends--was cut off from the world, and women entered the work force in record numbers.  But necessity was the mother of invention.  Designers created uniforms for women in the armed forces and factories, and women learned to use what they could find.  Fashion controversies flared.  Men's zoot suits sparked the worst fashion riots since the French Revolution.  After the war, a style revolution for women came when Christian Dio's New Look rendered entire wardrobes obsolete in 1947.  Was it return to luxury or to oppression?