Nazi 'Chic'?: Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (Dress, Body, Culture)

Nazi 'Chic'?: Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (Dress, Body, Culture)

Irene Guenther

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 185973717X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the first book in English to deal comprehensively with German fashion from World War I through to the end of the Third Reich. It explores the failed attempt by the Nazi state to construct a female image that would mirror official gender policies, inculcate feelings of national pride, promote a German victory on the fashion runways of Europe and support a Nazi-controlled European fashion industry. Not only was fashion one of the countrys largest industries throughout the interwar period, but German women ranked among the most elegantly dressed in all of Europe. While exploding the cultural stereotype of the German woman as either a Brunhilde in uniform or a chubby farmers wife, the author reveals the often heated debates surrounding the issue of female image and clothing, as well as the ambiguous and contradictory relationship between official Nazi propaganda and the reality of womens daily lives during this crucial period in German history. Because Hitler never took a firm public stance on fashion, an investigation of fashion policy reveals ambivalent posturing, competing factions and conflicting laws in what was clearly not a monolithic National Socialist state. Drawing on previously neglected primary sources, Guenther unearths new material to detail the inner workings of a government-supported fashion institute and an organization established to help aryanize the German fashion world.How did the few with power maintain style and elegance? How did the majority experience the increased standardization of clothing characteristic of the Nazi years? How did women deal with the severe clothing restrictions brought about by Nazi policies and the exigencies of war? These questions and many others, including the role of anti-Semitism, aryanization and the hypocrisy of Nazi policies, are all thoroughly examined in this pathbreaking book.

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reviewer exhorted, “It will not pay to enter into any boycott movements, since they are nothing but short-lived and always fail in the face of our actual accomplishments.”149 With coverage like this in the VTZ, it is hardly likely that the DMI, specifically, or the German fashion world, generally, gained any new foreign admirers. Interestingly, in the same magazine, the reader also could find a seven-page section, filled with hand-drawn fashion sketches and reviews, devoted to none other than the

the claims made by cosmetic firms questionable,” the writer contended, but many young girls and women “are not allowing themselves a real lunch because they cannot seem to renounce these costly beauty products.” Just as many of them “sacrifice” by not going out for “long periods of time” because “one evening of beauty gobbles up so much of their money.” The author offered a solution or, as he termed it, “the best recipe” to end this madness. He suggested, The Nazi women’s education has a far less

people, who so misunderstand the healthy endeavors and the natural posture of our time, are not only tasteless outsiders, but vermin and vile parasites who give the enemy weapons for an attack against the National Socialist world. Their perniciousness ascends the peak of insolence when they, without justification, cite the cultural will of the State. Against that kind of vermin only one thing helps – the police.86 These and other photo-essays and Nazi writings are evidence that nudity,

those living in the countryside. They argued that there was good reason for their so-called “totally different attitude towards life.”161 Besieged by Allied bombings and plagued with food shortages, city dwellers began making accusations, sometimes substantiated, that farmers were selfishly hoarding much-needed produce and living out the war years with few worries. As one woman put it, “That’s why the farmers have such beautiful carpets and jewelry; it is because they [are] the ones with all of

fighting front through the “Freikorps Adolf Hitler.” Trained in sabotage and terrorist acts, these 300 female volunteer partisan troops were given the same status and weapons as men. Even this hastily erected group had a coveted uniform, consisting of a camouflage suit with small red stripes on the sleeve and the words “Freikorps Adolf Hitler.”321 It was the first time that German females were issued guns as part of their military equipment. This was not to imply that guns were not popular in

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