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Day dress

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    autumn 1942 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Molyneux, Edward, born 1891 - died 1974 (designer)
    Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers (producer (collection))
    Utility (designed for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Rayon crepe, with matching composition buttons

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Board of Trade, through Sir Thomas Barlow, Director-General of Civilian Clothing

  • Museum number:

    T.57-1942

  • Gallery location:

    On display in Values of Design, Design Society, Shekou, China

This day dress is from the Utility Collection by the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers for the Board of Trade. It may have been designed by Edward Molyneux. The simplification and economy of material match the conditions laid down by the Board in relation to the manufacture of civilian clothing during the Second World War of 1939-1945. Then, both hand-crafted and mass-produced tailoring was as important as it is today. But, despite the best efforts of the fashion designers to be inventive without wasting precious fabric, there was a very limited choice. The Utility Scheme was introduced by the Board in 1941 to ensure that low- and medium-quality consumer goods were produced to the highest possible standards at 'reasonable' prices. These standards complied with restrictions and rationing of raw materials. The word 'Utility' was applied to garments made from Utility cloth, which was defined in terms of minimum weight and fibre content per yard. Utility clothes were usually identified by a distinctive double crescent CC41 (Civilian Clothing) label.

When offering this day dress to the Museum in August 1942, Sir Thomas Barlow explained that it conformed 'in simplification and economy of material to the conditions laid down by the Board of Trade in relation to the manufacture of civilian clothing'.

Physical description

The dress (Board of Trade pattern no.4) has square padded shoulders and its maximum selling price was set at 53s 6d. It complied with restrictions governing the number of buttons and the amount of material used. The bodice is slightly bloused at the waist, fastens at the front with matching composition buttons and has a small collar. The three-quarter length sleeves fasten with matching buttons. The skirt has soft pleats and a pair of flap pockets.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

autumn 1942 (designed)

Artist/maker

Molyneux, Edward, born 1891 - died 1974 (designer)
Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers (producer (collection))
Utility (designed for)

Materials and Techniques

Rayon crepe, with matching composition buttons

Dimensions

Height: 860 mm, Width: 119 mm

Descriptive line

Red Dress. Utility Clothing Scheme, designed in 1942

Materials

Rayon crepe; Button

Categories

Fashion; Clothing; Day wear; Europeana Fashion Project; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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