images from L’Officiel, 1945
Material restrictions and wartime conservatism defined a strange set of parameters for French fashion during World War II. Tokens of femininity and drama within this narrow framework allowed for terribly unique design solutions. French designers managed to evolve the last fashions of the late 30’s, frozen in place at the onset of the war, and express both the wartime reality and their own individuality. It has gone without saying that despite the immense welcoming of Dior’s Belle Epoque throwback in 1947, there were a few women who preferred the ecstasy of self-reliance and control to any romantic folly.