Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shabby Apple Dare to Design

1940s InspirationShabby Apple challenges all designers and dreamers to create dresses, tops, and skirts inspired by 1940s fashion.

Shabby Apple's instructions are explicit in requiring sleeves, showing no cleavage, and at least a knee-length hem. But aside from modest, what does 1940s fashion even look like?

Since the decade saw the end of World War II, long skirts and billowing silhouettes were seen as a waste of fabric in an economy of rations. Similarly, repurposing existing garments was encouraged in wartime posters. "The Look" was nipped-in waists, tailored lines, and detailing that didn't require excessive material, embellishments, or any other costly additions.

I wanted to create pieces inspired by the 1940s but with a modern spin. I deconstructed more traditional looks of the time and envisioned how they could be reworked in the modern age. (Plus, I added some brighter colors as dyes were also rationed at the time.)

This cocktail dress is a formal take on Claire McCardell's wrap or "popover" dress, which has since become a classic. McCardell's dresses were considered utility garments in gingham, linen, and other casual fabrics. I wanted this dress to be a glamorous tribute to the decade without compromising the beauty of the popover's simplicity.

I was really drawn to the asymmetric looks of the 40s, plus the regular appearance of the truly timeless trench coat. This twofer dress is the more modern of the sketches, so muted tones and wool-blend fabrics help keep it period-appropriate.

I wanted to create a very structurally simple piece that still had interest as well as vintage inspiration. This coat dress almost feels a bit mod, but the cinched waist and monochromatic hues help keep it in the proper decade.

Okay, so this skirt may use a bit more fabric than the government would have liked me to use at that time. There's just something so feminine about fashion from the 1940s that I feel this outfit relays. (The waist could probably be slimmer to look more fitting to the era, but you get the idea.) A side lined with a series of covered buttons allows for a better-fitting blouse with no-nonsense detailing.

The men go to war and the women go to work. I noticed a lot of suiting in reference images and wanted to bring in some of those elements with the pencil skirt. Pussy bow blouses were also picking up in popularity at the time, so it only makes sense to couple that with the aforementioned asymmetry.

Now if only I could sew as well as I can Photoshop...

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