Winter Season 1941, Paris
Now and again I buy something on ebay that so far exceeds my expectations that I’m well and truly gobsmacked. The latest arrival I bought for its air of mystery and because a couple of the listing pictures intrigued me. I’m thrilled by what a great find it is.
From my limited French, this seems to be a pattern catalogue for a company based in Paris called Editions Bell. However, the patterns are of such staggering complexity and intricate cut that this must have been a service aimed at a professional dressmaker rather than a home sewer. The company offers to express you a pattern cut to your exact measurements within 48 hours. Wow.
What amazes me even more than the cut of these styles is that these patterns are for the 1940/41 Winter season. In France. Wasn’t the fashion industry in France hit pretty hard by the Second World War??
I love the way that in the 1940s fashion ran through a whole range of shapes and lines from utility clothing and rationing, the draped sophisticated “film noir” look, the romantic “I’ve just stepped out of an MGM musical” look with sweetheart neckline and puff sleeves, to Dior’s “New Look” in 1947.
Click on the pictures and thumbnails of a few pages below to enlarge in order to really appreciate the details. (Apologies for the wonky pictures- my scanner is A4 and I’ve had to use a camera for this A3 booklet…)