1940’s Fashion – The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix


I’ve always loved art that comes out of war (that makes me sound odd right??) it’s just so full emotion, whether it be hatred, repulsion, fear, compassion, loss it’s just all there in front of you. I even wrote my dissertation at university on how the Nazi party influenced art in the 20th century, I guess your wondering how all this relates to this book? Well Emmanuelle Dirix begins this book with the most fascinating essay about how much the war and its after effects influenced fashion in the 1940’s.


She goes into detail not just about how rationing affected the style and cut of clothes throughout Europe, but also how america coped being cut off from their fashion mecca – Paris and had to learn to design there own clothes. How the couturiers handled the German occupation and why they choose to continue to make high quality fashion throughout the war and how the Nazi party failed in there attempts to force their female citizens to dress in classic Bavarian style. All this history flows over the pages as Dirix’s writing style is conversational and easy to read.

1940s sourcebook2

Before I received this book I was expecting something much more easy going, more of a coffee table book stuffed with dazzling inspirational illustrations of 40’s clothing, which it is but I also learnt an awful lot to. Now looking through the book I can quickly spot when and where the outfits were made, just by the cut of the clothes. There are hundreds of stunning illustrations and photographs covering the austerity war years, Hollywood glamour and Christian Dior’s ‘new look’ which was to revolutionize fashion. As someone who enjoys making and designing there own clothes it’s a real well of inspiration, from little things like collars and sleeves I want to copy right up to whole dresses I now have to own!


If you can’t tell already I love this book, I’ve literally looked through it everyday since it arrived a couple of weeks ago and I’ve already added the other two from the series to my amazon wish list! I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the 1940’s or just fashion in general, it would also make the most amazing present!!!


How fabulous is this hat?!


 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix, published by Goodman Fiell, £30, available from www.carltonbooks.co.uk. Follow @carltonbooks


4 thoughts on “1940’s Fashion – The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix

  1. Pingback: Pattern Cutting made easy – Gillian Holman |

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