Imagine ‘stepping into someone else’s shoes’. Walking back in time a century ago, which shoes would they be? A pair of silk sensations costing thousands of pounds designed by Yantonnay of Paris or wooden clogs with metal cleats that spark on the cobbles of a factory yard? Will your shoes be heavy with mud from trudging along duckboards between the tents of a frontline hospital… or stuck with tufts of turf from a football pitch? Will you be cloaked in green and purple, brandishing a ‘Votes for Women’ banner or will you be the height of respectability, restricted by your thigh-length corset?
Great War Fashion opens the woman’s wardrobe in the years before the outbreak of war to explore the real woman behind the stiff, mono-bosomed ideal of the Edwardian Society lady draped in gossamer gowns, and closes it on a new breed of women who have donned trousers and overalls to feed the nation’s guns in munitions factories and who, clad in mourning, have loved and lost a whole generation of men.
The journey through Great War Fashion is not just about the changing clothes and fashions of the war years, but much more than that – it is a journey into the lives of the women who lived under the shadow of war and were irrevocably changed by it. At times, laugh-out-loud funny and at others, bringing you to tears, Lucy Adlington paints a unique portrait of an inspiring generation of women, brought to life in rare and stunning images.