Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

The Miu Miu advertising campaign has primed you, hopefully. Because today, we would like to focus your trend-observant eyes on the 1940s- a decade when war ravaged the world and women came into their own, making significant contributions to the war effort whilst going to great lengths to maintain all the glamour they could; painting tea on legs to look like stockings and scrupulously collecting ration coupons so they could buy a single item of clothing.

Stocking painting (image from

Miu Miu was the greatest proponent of the 40s look for FW11
 It was not just at off-duty moments that women were mindful of keeping up appearances. The legendary land girls toiled the fields of Britain, taking over from men who were needed to fight. Despite their demanding occupations, this was nevertheless a time when a girl could not really get away with 'bed hair' or wearing her boyfriend's shirt and denim cut-offs. Grooming was not a choice.

They may have been tending their flock, but not before the headscarf was perfectly knotted and uniform belted up (Image from
And it was not all compromise. There is abundant evidence of megawatt film star glamour, even when the war was still close to home. Vera Lynn was the sweetheart of the British Armed Forces, bringing welcome comfort and eye candy to the serving soldiers who she entertained throughout the war.

Vera Lynn wearing classic forties voluminous top with embellishment- this wouldn't look the same without the pristine make-up and set hair (Image from
 Our ultimate icon for this era is Hedy Lamarr- film star and scientist extraordinaire. Not only did Lemarr star in many of the most successful films of the 1940s, such as Samson and Deliliah, but she is also widely remembered as helping to develop a frequency hopping communication system which is still used as a basis for modern wi-fi technology. So you see, Hedy is really the epitome of the 1940s spirit which this season is capturing; power, capability, independence with a double dose of glamour.

Divine Hedy

Star Quality

Dolce and Gabbana AW11- Take note of stars as a microtrend- not confined to the 40s but if it's good enough for Coco (Chanel was a fan) AND Hedy then... 

There are two ways to go with the 1940s look for AW11. Firstly, there is total commitment. Essentially this involves adopting not just the clothing but also the beauty routine. Full adoption means not leaving the house without a full face of make-up, including the most scarlett lips and blackest flicks of eyeliner, and painstakingly styled hair.

Richard Avedon's 1948 image of Elise Daniels in Paris, in a turban.

Badgley Mischka AW11 show was full of high-glamour 30s and 40s looks. Hair and make-up was high maintainance and true to the period, but ultimately this is the boring way to do it.
Miu Miu and Jonathan Saunders did it exactly the right way by achieving that finest of balances; we can tell that their looks are 1940s but the models do not look like they are at 1940s fancy dress party. Miu Miu referenced the victory waves of 1940s hair but by keeping it straight and leaving make-up to a bare minimum, this had 2011 written all over it. Jonathan Saunders did the same but his use of colour, mostly 1940s but with the occasional flash of bright or incongruous print made his pieces apt for the Land Girls of Now.

Miu Miu's take on the tea dress is a key AW11 piece.

The belted waist and utilitarian blazer are 1940s. Prints and fresh face give the AW11 update.

Louis Vuitton

 We think you would do well to invest in two key pieces for a 1940s look. The tea dress is a classic anyway which you may quite possibly already own and certainly if you don't, will be useful for seasons to come. A turban will see you through the 70s references of the coming months as well as being a gentle reference to 40s glamour. Oh, and add a brooch if you get bored! Blazers, belts, midi skirts, palazzo pants and stacked heels are also key elements.

A tea dress from Warehouse £38

Turban: £12 from ASOS
Catwalk Images from
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