Wartime Restrictions on Fashion: Background information when reading The Last Collection

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The Last Collection

A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel

by Jeanne Mackin

The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin X
The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin
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    Jun 2019, 352 pages

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Wartime Restrictions on Fashion

This article relates to The Last Collection

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Jeanne Mackin's novel, The Last Collection, brings to life the vibrant fashion scene in Paris on the eve of World War II. Once set in motion the war had a profound influence on women's clothing across the globe. Parisian fashion was not especially affected, as the novel makes clear, but changes would reach far beyond the French capital. In Britain and the United States, two of France's most prominent allies, the war also would dramatically alter women's fashion.

In both countries, the raw materials used to manufacture many everyday goods were dedicated to the war effort; wool, for example, was needed for uniforms and blankets, and was therefore in short supply to the general population. In 1941 Britain instituted clothing rations to keep demand at a reasonable level, thereby freeing up more material and workers to supply the military's needs. Each person was allocated a coupon book worth a set number of points, and each clothing item was given a points value based on the labor ...

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