Paris had long reigned as the fashion capital of the world, but all that changed when the city fell to Nazi Germany in June of 1940. Because Nazis controlled the French fashion industry, censored fashion magazines and closed couture houses, international fashion designers were forced to look to other sources for inspiration. World War II gave American designers an opportunity to create a new standard for a practical, modern style in accord with the lives of the women of the era. This style, elegant in its simplicity, became known as the “American Look.”
A new exhibit at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum celebrates American designers from the 1950s to the 1980s, including the work of Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, James Galanos, Rudi Gernreich, Halston, Claire McCardell, Norman Norell, and Pauline Trigere. The exhibit opens January 17th and will run through May 31st, 2012.