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How Fashion Survived WWII

Thursday, November 4, 2021, 2:00 PM until 3:00 PM

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Cultural Programs
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How Fashion Survived WWII in Paris, London and New York" with Elizabeth Lay, Design Historian, Curator, and Professor at GWU.
Fashion changed very little during WWII as scarcity defined each designers’ style. Behind wide shoulders and fitted suits, the apparel industry struggled to survive. The war’s impact reached beyond the industry itself as fashion houses and the supporting crafts employed thousands of people and accounted for a significant portion of each country’s GDP. Individually the Allied design centers faced different challenges: Paris was occupied by the Nazis, London sustained relentless bombing raids, and New York was hungry for fashion which some hoped the American would supplant the French. The talk will examine the war time conditions and how each center endured and ultimately flourished through creativity, innovation, and celebration.
Elizabeth Lay is a Design Historian and the Curator at Montgomery History’s Beall Dawson House and Stonestreet Museum in Rockville. She holds a Master’s degree in the History of Decorative Arts from the Smithsonian-GMU program in Design History, specializing in 20th century textiles, fashion, and women designers. Additionally, Elizabeth Lay is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University teaching Women Designers of the Twentieth Century and 20th Century Costume.
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