This week, Queen’s editor Lena is looking at a must-have book for anyone interested in Forties fashion. Accompanied by beautifully styled pictures, this in-debth overview of the decade’s style is a fascinating insight into a period of turmoil and hardship.

Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Lookby Jonathan Walford
Thams & Hudson
£14.72 from Amazon

Starting off with an overview of fashion trends across Europe in the late Thirties, including the folklore-style favoured by Hitler’s Nazi Germany, the book moves on to detail developments in fashion throughout the war and post-war years.

I found the chapter on clothes rationing and the different types of state-issued rationing clothes in Britain, such as the CC41 range, incredibly interesting and anything but boring. Learning more about the different stages of rationing has given me some really helpful skills in dating clothes from this period, which has come in handy at car boot sales and fashion fairs.

The book very successfully compares international developments in fashion during the Forties, from the establishment of US designer brands and an American fashion identity, to the fate of the couture houses in German-occupied Paris and Japanese kimono-designs featuring war symbols.

In showing how radically different women dressed during the war years – in uniforms, trousers and generally practical clothing – Forties Fashion raises some interesting questions about the relationship between fashion, social changes and women’s freedom of expression that are still relevant today.

2 Responses

  1. Rupi Drew

    This book sounds amazing …will add it to my birthday wish list! I am obsessed with all things ’40s and am inspired by the fashion. Can’t wait to get my paws on it 😉

  2. Louise

    I loved this book- the pictures are great and it was very well researched.
    I did know something of rationing in Britian, but nothing about rationing in Germany during the war, so I learnt a lot from this book.