Then and Now: Bibliotheque Forney

March 9, 2017

Bibliotheque Forney: Fashion & War (1914-1918)

This exhibition at Bibliotheque Forney displayed clothing on mannequins as well as photography, fashion plates, and drawings from 1914-1918 to illustrate the fashion in combination with the war. The first thing I noticed when I arrived and saw the pieces was the similarity I saw when comparing them to my own wardrobe. I decided to see exactly how similar they were and see what pieces I could pull out of my closet that resembled the museum pieces.

First I noticed this emerald green dress. Although, I don’t have much of this color in my closet, I also noticed the detailing and beading on the dress which immediately reminded me of one of my favorite recent purchases from Free People. The dress is a white, sheer dress, meant to be worn with a slip. It is covered in white and silver beading as well as embroidered detailing as well. The two are very different, but for being a century apart, are also surprisingly similar in ways.


The second piece I recognized was in many of the illustrations and old photographs. There were dark jumpsuits worn by many of the women in the images. I immediately thought of a black LoveShackFancy, satin long sleeve romper. The pieces are obviously meant for different occasions but are surprisingly similar in their shape and color as well. The only major difference seems to be that the LoveShack jumpsuit is loose and flowy, whereas the older jumpsuits were fit a bit tighter to the body.


Another piece I related to was a little dress in an illustration. It is a mini dress with long sleeves. Although I only found one piece in my closet in Paris, I think I this is a popular design that I have many of. This design is a timely one, it is simple and girly for any time and many occasions. I found a loose romper in my closet with a similar shape. The dress in the illustration also has a paisley pattern on it, where the romper has a similar textured design on the side of the sleeves.

Ultimately, I found it very interesting that many of my own clothing could be compared to such old pieces. I also think its interesting to look at the images side by side to see the evolution of fashion over time and how things are similar as well as very different.


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