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Fashion on film, 40s style

By Premier
Fashion on film, 40s style

A look at the iconic style portrayed on film.

Upcoming hit Hyde Park on Hudson documents the first royal journey to the United States in 1939, as President FDR (Bill Murray) and wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams) host King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth I (Olivia Colman) for a weekend at their Hyde Park estate in upstate New York.

While there, drama stirs as a love affair unfolds between FDR and his distant cousin Daisy (Laura Linney). This film provides an inside look into the traditional fashions of the 1940s, as Americans and Brits alike transitioned to a life of practicality and scarcity due to WW II. Now, take a look at the fashion of film, 40s style. 

Leading Ladies: Queen Elizabeth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley.

Pussycat bow blouses: Similar to what we know today as Ascot blouses, these feature a fluffy bow and were often paired with a pencil skirt.

Bodices: A two piece garment sewn together, usually consisting of a top and skirt to form a dress.

Novelty / conversation prints: Developed in ‘narrative fashion’ trend, these prints were designed to tell a story as the name suggests. Through their designs of figures, animals, plants, people etc., the prints were used to elicit random conversation.

Shoes: Oxfords, pumps, sandals and boots. The flat heel was most popular due to its comfort.

Hats: From Pillbox to Fascinators, the hats worn by women varied to suit each occasion accordingly. Hats ranged in size and were chosen to match in colour with the rest of their outfit.

Pin back updo: Hair would be curled and pinned back with bobby pins, to create the signature ‘victory roll.’

Red lipstick: Bold red lips defined the era.

Gloves: Leather or suede in natural subdued colours. 

Pearls: No look was complete without pearls. A sign of style and refinement favoured by the Queen. 

The Gents: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and King George VI (Samuel West)

The suit: Similar to menswear today, the common suit was worn for day, sport or evening in hopes of making the wearer feel ‘larger than life.’

Pants / trousers: The 1940s brought wide legged trousers with a straight cut and centre crease that ran down the entire length of the pants. Brits favoured cuffed legs. Most came in muted colours like blue, grey or brown or striped. 

Dress shirt: Out with detachable collars, hello to those attached. Wide, sharply pointed and pocket less, complimented by soft solids or stripes.

Jacket: These could be tailored to each man’s style, thanks to the variety of pockets available. Most were double breasted with padded shoulders and a wide collar to produce a well fit.   

Hats: No man’s wardrobe was complete without a black or grey felt fedora. Several adaptations of the traditional fedora followed, such as the Homberg and the Tribly.

Pocket square: This silk square also known as a handkerchief functioned merely as a decorative accessory to the suit itself.

Cuff links: Art Deco was sweeping the nation. Monogrammed solid gold cuffs were also popular.

Ties / bow ties: Neckties came in solid colours as well as two or three colour wide stripes. Bow ties came out at formal events, such as a trip to visit the President.

Be sure to catch all the drama and laughs when Hyde Park on Hudson comes to cinemas February 1 2013.


Tagged: forties, films, fashion, clothes, cinema

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