Chanel Arrives, Part Two

It was in the 1920s that Coco Chanel perfected her distinctive line for her timeless and simple clothes for women—long and lean, like Paul Poiret’s silhouettes to be sure, but her outlines were scrupulously hard-edged, offset with ropes of peals and studded with...

Chanel Arrives, Part One

How does Fashion become modern, take that step away from the past and stride confidently into the future? As theorist and philosopher, Roland Barthes noted, fashion changes when events shift so decisively in the present that there is no going back to the past. The...

New Woman/New Body

The New Woman needed new clothes. Once they had shortened their skirts and worn trousers women would refuse to be immobilized again. But after the Great War, she literally had nothing to wear and an entirely new wardrobe was invented in a period of a very few years....

New Woman/New Face

She was called the “Flapper” and was known as the New Woman. A product of the Great War, she was of the new generation of women who had been liberated from the past but the upheavals of the War. Her first act of assertion had been to take over the jobs of men, absent...

The New Woman/New Hair

The new woman, who debuted after the Great War had a prewar predecessor. Irene Castle (1893-1969) and American ballroom dancer who performed with her husband Vernon, found that long hair was hot and heavy and incompatible to the athleticism of dancing. In 1915, she...

Camouflage at Sea

Based upon the knowledge of how the animal kingdom disguised itself to blend into a hostile environment, modern camouflage, still used today, allows the soldier to disappear and blend into the landscape. At sea, however, the issue of camouflage presented a very...

Camouflage on Land

According to Romy Golan, writing of the avant-garde artists who served on the battlefield in Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France Between the Wars: “Some, like Dunoyer de Segonzac and Hebin, were drafted into the new camouflage sections; although...

Designing New Bodies

In her book, Recycling the disabled: Army, medicine, and modernity in WWI Germany, Heather R. Perry, began by noting that the German veterans who were physically challenged insisted on being called “war cripple” (Kriegskrüppel) to distinguish themselves from the “war...

Redesigning the Face

Writing for Smithsonian Magazine, Caroline Alexander explained the importance of the work of the New Zealand reconstructive surgeon, Harold Gilles. She said, “While pioneering work in skin grafting had been done in Germany and the Soviet Union, it was Gillies who...

Designing the Human Face

Whether as a painting or as a photograph or even as a sculpture, portraiture is one of the main achievement of Western art. Perhaps no other culture has been so interested in the human likeness, focusing on the face, its moods, its expressions, as the revelation of a...

If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.
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