In the Spotlight: The Politics of Fashion

Amber Butchart: Fashion Historian

I’m not a beautiful woman, I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else – Wallis Simpson

How unfortunate, considering the recent behaviour of former Dior designer John Galliano, that his muse for the last collection before his antisemitic rants became public knowledge was alleged Nazi sympathiser Wallis Simpson. The Dior pre-fall A/W 2011 collection designed with Wallis in mind not only tuned into Galliano’s own obsession with 30s styling and bias-cutting, but also paid homage to one of fashion’s most enduring, yet problematic, personalities. In his veneration of Simpson, Galliano is not alone. With roles in quadruple Oscar-winner The King’s Speech (2010) and highly acclaimed Channel 4 adaptation ‘Any Human Heart, not to mention the forthcoming Madonna-directed W.E. (with fashion by Dior/Galliano amongst others), the Duchess of Windsor is back on the fashion radar with a vengeance.


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