Thursday, 4 February 2010

Fashion rations

Even during the dark years of the Second World War, and the long years of clothing rationing that followed it, women were expected to keep up appearances. "England's number one glamour girl" Joan Richards, a professional model, doesn't disappoint in this 1944 film where we follow Joan through a "routine day's work." From getting up in the morning with full slap (apologies to US readers - slap = makeup) and immaculate hair, through her long and busy day, she is the epitome of 1940s chic. By the way, these film links have come up as black boxes, but they will work if you click on them.


However, not every woman met the grade. This amusing short from September 1946 features the "Pathé Pictorial Fashion Expert" Mr Richard Buzzvine (at least, that what his name sounds like) lurking self-consciously with a newspaper on Regent Street as he casts a waspishly critical eye over young women's outfits. Although his voice isn't heard, the narrator reports his merciless judgements.

Mr Buzzvine is very hard to please, and only one girl meets with his approval, although its hard to see how she is much different from the other 'failures.' Its a useful reminder of how fraught getting dressed used to be, with all kinds of complicated rules and conventions governing what was - and was not - appropriate wear.



fuzzylizzie said...

Oh, that Buzzvine was a hard man to please, though I do tend to agree that the hat with the 2 carnations on either side looked very odd with the tweed frock!

Sarah said...

I'll agree that he was probably right on most of his criticisms, but I didn't think that last outfit was so great either! (I thought the gloves and black shoes were too dark for a summer print dress).

And I loved the first girl's low wedge sandals!