‘Krieg und Kleider’ – War and Clothing

This November has been a month full of history and remembrance worldwide with Morts pour la France/Veteran’s Day and the 25th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin wall.  In Berlin, which I had the chance to visit last weekend, the Kunstbibliothek venue of the Staatliche Meuten zu Berlin is showcasing an exhibition titled Krieg und Kleider: Modegrafik zur Zeit des Ersten Weltriegs (which means War and Clothing: Fashion Illustrations at the time of World War I).  Krieg und Kleider shows the affect war had on fashion between 1914 and 1918 through illustrations, photographs, and fashion journals from the fashion capitals of Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. 

Divided into three sections, the exhibition demonstrates the development of fashion from the time immediately before the outbreak of the first world war to the final years of the war. Fashion journals from Paris, Berlin, and Vienna are shown, including the extraordinary magazines Gazette du Bon Ton and Der Kleiderkasten, the Parisian albums Modes et Manières d’Aujourd’hui and La Mode par Fried. The rare prints from the Mode Wien 1914/15 album published by the Wiener Werkstätte represents the expressive style of the Danube metropolis. Also, the elite designs from the short-lived Berlin fashion house, Alfred-Marie, can be discovered in unique works by Annie Offterdinger. 

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Krieg und Kleider exhibit beautifully shows the effects of the first world war on the fashion industry. Each fashion city became independent and relied on their own resources in order to continue producing couture. Berlin and Vienna stopped relying on Paris due to the closing of many Parisian fashion houses. As a result, Paris came up with the idea to produce fashion magazines like Le Style Parisien and Modes et Manieres d’Aujourd’hui, in order to lure back the American market. Meanwhile, Berlin started a semi-annual Berlin Fashion Week in August 1918 featuring twenty Berlin fashion houses.

The showcasing of fashion illustrations, photography, and journals between 1914-1918 can be seen until January 18th, 2015. If you’re traveling to or live in Berlin, I highly suggest checking out this exhibit!

For information on the museum, ticket pricing, and directions, click here.

Written by: Jessica Manno