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Dress - Careless Talk Costs Lives
  • Careless Talk Costs Lives
    Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965
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Careless Talk Costs Lives

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1943 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed rayon crêpe

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Baxter

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

As this detail of dress fabric shows, textile design during the early 1940s drew on the experiences of wartime Britain for inspiration. These cartoons are taken from a campaign by the Ministry of Information, which was set up by the government to encourage and inform the public on war issues. The drawings are by Fougasse, which was the psuedonym used by Cyril Kenneth Bird (1887-1965), a cartoonist for the satirical magazine Punch. The campaign included posters entitled 'Careless Talk Costs Lives', which were distributed to offices, shops and pubs around the country, featuring enemy figures, including Hitler and Goering, overhearing members of the British public discussing the war. They aimed to dissuade people from gossiping and inadvertently giving away secrets to the enemy about the British war effort. This print was produced around 1943, a few years after the publication of the posters in 1940.

Physical description

Dress of printed rayon crêpe with a pattern of mini graphic posters depicting various scenarios of 'careless talk' overlapping each other on a blue ground. Each mini poster contains the slogan 'CARELESS TALK COSTS LIVES'. The cartoons are in black outline and with borders of red on green, orange and blue backgrounds. The dress has a V-neck, a small collar, narrow waist, square shoulders and a full skirt with a zip at one side. Unlined.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1943 (made)


Fougasse, born 1887 - died 1965 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed rayon crêpe


Length: 47 in, Length: 119.5 cm

Descriptive line

Dress of printed rayon crêpe 'Careless Talk Costs Lives', textile designed by Fougasse, London, ca. 1943

Production Note

Derived from Fougasse's 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' series of Second World War propaganda posters published by the Ministry of Information in February 1940





Subjects depicted



Fashion; Women's clothes; Propaganda; Textiles


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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