World War II closed many fashion houses in Paris. Couture was among those affected by the re-education program initiated by the French government. German invaders took possession of French high fashion, and even considered the relocation of the haute couture to German cities Berlin and Vienna, both of which had little tradition of fashion. These were some of the more significant changes in the French fashion landscape.
During those times, models in fashion shows were limited to a maximum of 75, while the time for evening wear was significantly lessened. Day wear was also made skimpier. In the 1940s, coats were limited to no more than 4 meters in length. Blouses were limited to at least 1 meter. But despite all the restrictions, the fashion industry pushed on, emphasizing humor as a way to defy the foreign powers.
While there were many fashion shops that closed down or relocation during the war, there were a few new names that opened shop. During the World War, women flaunted extravagance by wearing a hat. It was the only way they can do so without earning the ire of the authorities.
Americans took advantage of Paris’ isolation to show off their creativity. American designers introduced innovations in the way men wore work clothes. Sportswear among women also became more popular with American designers manufacturing more of these items.
In 1947, couturier Christian Dior made waves with his collection of dresses with tiny waists, and extravagant busts, a style similar to the Belle Epoque.