CfP: Fashion, Dress and Society in Europe during World War I (Event, 12/2014, Paris); DL: 15.02.2014

A French-British-German initiative under the direction of Dominique Veillon and Lou Taylor during the official French Centennial Commemorations

Venue: Institut Français de la Mode in Paris
Time: December 12-13, 2014
Deadline: February 15th, 2014

Fashion played an integral role in re-shaping European society during World War I. In France, for example, the fashion industry adapted to the war by turning to new materials, simplifying silhouettes, courting foreign clients, and drumming up local and foreign business through nationalist rhetoric that was trumpeted by the press. Yet the French fashion industry was not immune to the war: male couturiers such as Worth, Poiret and Patou left their houses to join the front, or were obliged to undertake some kind of military service, leaving women designers such as Callot Soeurs, Chéruit, Lanvin and Paquin to reign; female couture workers went on strike during the darkest year of the war to demand better wages from an increasingly profitable industry that had nevertheless maintained their workers at reduced ‘war wages,’ and the fashion press played its part in creating and informing societal debates regarding gender, femininity, and patriotism, as did caricatures, postcards, and other wartime imagery. Many women worked in war time factories and charity organizations necessitating the design and manufacture of new uniforms and working dress. Our exploration of narratives on a European scale uses the history of the fashion industries as a focal point and lens for a political, economical, social, and cultural analysis of clothing, people, consumption and politics between 1914 and 1918.

Each nation has a different story of the degree to which the industry played a role in the war economy, and the extent to which cultural representations of fashion and dress contributed to shaping national identity. A century after the start of the Great War, it is our desire to foster a comprehensive pan-European discussion on the cultural history of fashion and the fashion industry during World War One. Our conference intends to assemble an international community of scholars and curators who have an interest in exploring gender, dress, fashion producers, consumers, workers, and the press between 1914 and 1918. We aim to provide a systematic inquiry into the cultural history of fashion in Europe during the Great War.

We invite papers that adopt a critical approach to the relationship between fashion and society in Europe during WWI. We are particularly interested in papers that use surviving garments and unexplored archives as sources. Additionally, proposals from young scholars in all areas of the social sciences or humanities are welcome. Panel suggestions will also be considered.

The conference language will be in both French and English (with simultaneous translation depending on the funding obtained). We hope to be able to provide a certain amount of funding for those in need. We anticipate compiling the papers given at the conference into a book to be published by a French press.

The following perspectives are encouraged:
– Fashion industry history
– Material culture of dress
– Fashion and gender
– Fashion press and identity
– Wartime fashion consumption & production
– Garment workers and social history
– Representations (illustrations or cinematic) and identity
– Biographical approaches to WWI dress history
– Fashion intermediaries during WWI

Submitting a Paper Proposal: Deadline: February 15th, 2014

Please send a 500 word abstract that indicates the subject of your talk, the questions you will be answering, and the sources you will be using. Include a brief curriculum vitae. Paper proposals to be sent to

The committee will send out their responses by March 15, 2014.

Scientific Committee
Patrick Fridenson, PhD (Director of Studies at EHESS, France)
Adelheid Rasche, PhD (Chief Curator Sammlung Modebild Lipperheidesche Kostümbibliothek, Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany)
Lou Taylor, PhD (Professor of Dress History, University of Brighton, UK)
Dominique Veillon, PhD (Director of Research at IHTP-CNRS, France)

Organizing Committee
Maude Bass-Krueger, ABD (Bard Graduate Center, NYC)
Sophie Kurkdjian, PhD (IHTP/CNRS)
Thierry Maillet, PhD (IHTP/CNRS)
Eleonore Testa (IHTP/CNRS)


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