This wonderful photo appeared last week’s New York Times in an article about the the first big fight around increasing bus and subway fares in the city. “Picketing a fare increase in front of City Hall in 1947,” the caption read. Obviously the caption writer was not a fashion historian and didn’t realize how important it was to give an exact date. If it were early in the year, these women would know nothing about the big fashion changes about to sweep the post-war garment industry. If it were closer to the end, it might show how ordinary New Yorkers reacted to the lowered hemlines and changed silhouettes of the “New Look.”
Since I have access to the New York Times archive, I discovered that the protest above took place on February 11, 1947. Dior’s “New Look” would only hit the Paris runways the following day. None of the protesters had a clue that their wool and fur coats would soon be out of date. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we were able to see the same group in the fall of that year?