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Dress Fashion – Parachute Skirt at The Australian War Memorial, Canberra

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If you’re ever in Australia’s capital, Canberra, and you’re feeling a bit bored after viewing the magnificent Sheep Gynaecology statues in the centre of town, it’s worth taking a trip to the Australian War Memorial. There’s all sorts of stuff there, including some great exhibits from all of the conflicts that Australia has been involved in over time. But one of the most interesting (well to me anyway!) is the Dress Fashion – and it’s all because of a quirky reason relating to rations!

Australian War Memorial Canberra

An added bonus, entry to the Australian War Memorial is free, and it’s won heaps of tourism awards over it’s time.

Dress Fashion – it’s making the Milan Catwalk!

But back to interesting exhibits, in amongst all of the war paraphernalia like guns, war medals, vehicles, planes, and even ships, there is this unassuming exhibit of a petticoat that was fashion back in World War 2.

Dress Fashion - Parachute Skirt

Okay, I hear you all saying ‘so what’? Well, what’s unusual about this sense of dress fashion is the material used to make this petticoat.

Back in World War Two, everything was in short supply. There was no such thing as a ‘throwaway society’, where there was a short life cycle from buying something on a shelf and throwing it in the bin. Everything was recycled to make something else. There were shortages in everything – food, beer, and even clothes. Which leads us to this particular item of Dress Fashion.

Anyway, this petticoat was made from used silk parachutes! Once they had reached the end of the working life (hopefully, not when they stopped opening..), silk parachutes were recycled into clothes, and hence, made this parachute skirt! Well, there’s nothing like improvisation in times of short supply! I don’t think it’s as desperate as the custom made tyre shoes I saw in Tanzania, but tough times call for tough measures!

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Anyway, find out more at Australian War Memorial: Treasures from a Century of Collecting.

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