Common Threads: Dress, Identity and Art in the Twentieth Century
March 31-June 15, 2001
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art


It is not a coincidence that the grim realities of the great depression stood in contrast with the romantic fantasies of fashion in this period. Since jobs were scarce, there was a general assumption that women should leave the few available jobs to men, and return to more traditional homemaker roles. Fashion reflected this return to conventional roles by offering a more feminine image. Popular films such as the fantasy musicals of Busby Berkeley inspired romantic fashions as well offering escape from the grim realities of daily life. The fluid lines of Art Deco “streamlining” and the sinuous Surrealist forms of Dali and Miro also correspond to the language of thirties fashions.