Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WW1 Camouflaged Misogyny—After a Fashion

Civilian examples of camouflage (1917)
Above Camouflage and fashion cartoon (digitally restored) from The Ogden Standard (Ogden UT), December 3, 1917, p. 11.


Anon, CONEY ISLAND WAR THRILLS in The World's News (Sydney AU), August 23, 1919, p. 19—

Americans are experiencing many thrills of near participation in the war this summer. A great number of novel reproductions of action along the battle fronts, in the air, and at sea, are to be seen at Coney Island (New York) and similar holiday resorts.

…A popular device…is called "Treat 'em rough," which was the motto of the American Tank Corps during the war. Patrons are strapped in seats and sent through an extraordinary series of up and down and sidewise motions that only the strongest constitutions can successfully stand. This new "stunt" is advertised as guaranteed to reduce fat and put anybody in trim for an army career.

Coney Island is attempting daring water novelties this summer in the form of bathing suits for feminine wear, consisting of single-piece garments with zigzag stripes. They are called "camouflage suits"—because it is so difficult to see them.


Anon, from BRITISH AND FOREIGN in Alburry Banner and Wodonga Express (New South Wales AU), August 8, 1919, p. 35—

Girls so cleverly camouflaged that it was difficult for the audience to tell whether they were looking at the faces or the backs of the girls, greatly amused the Queen [of England] who attended an exhibition of drill given them at the Savoy Hotel, London, on a recent occasion.


From the Melbourne Punch (Victoria AU), May 16, 1918, p. 32—

A lately returned traveler from Sydney tells us we are awfully dull down here—that life up there is so Continental it is dine out at some hotel or restaurant (of which there are many to choose from) every evening, wearing a whitewash complexion, watermelon lips, a camouflage skirt, and the merest whisper of a dinner blouse; then on to a theatre; thence to a cocktail supper.


Anon, from THE WEEK in The World's News (Sydney AU), April 13, 1918, p. 14—

Dame Fashion is a fool, and that is putting it mildly. She decrees that women must adopt camouflage for their dress. What need is there for any such thing? Hasn't woman camouflaged ever since Eve took Adam in over the apple? Of course she has, and will continue to do it just whenever it suits her ideas. If she wants to win a post that wheedling won't accomplish, she camouflages her face with tears, and lo, she arrives at the desired end. And what she can do with rouge and powder passes all understanding. It is camouflage carried to a fine art. What man could tell that the short-frocked, finely-complexioned, sixteen-year-old hatted person at a distance was over forty and the mother of six? That is camouflage, and with a vengeance, and yet Fashion wants to add to it by use on dresses. If it means that plain cotton stuff at 1s 2d the yard, six yards for 6s 6d, can be so faked by the skillful dressmaker as to appear like a silk confection at a guinea a yard, by all means camouflage. But if it means turning a probable ten-guinea costume into a twenty-pounder, then camouflage is a miserable failure. Everything depends upon what that fickle jade, Fashion, is after. Usually she strives to deplete the purse of the hardworking husband or father, but if in this case, as in the case of ships, the object is to save—then camouflage for ever.