Leeds museum is dressed for battle

Lotherton Hall is currently hosting the 'Dressed for Battle' exhibition.

Lotherton Hall is currently hosting the ‘Dressed for Battle’ exhibition.

By Felicity Macnamara

Leeds’ Lotherton Hall is currently home to an exhibition documenting how clothes and style have been affected by war.

‘Dressed for Battle’ takes visitors to the museum on a journey through the decades, as it explores uniform inspired fashions from the Napoleonic Wars right up to the present day.

Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries.

The collections are taken from Leeds Museums and Galleries and provide a fascinating insight into how war has influenced the military look.

Natalie Raw, Curator of Costumes and Textiles at Leeds City Council said: “The exhibition looks at the military look from the start of the 19th century when uniforms begin to appear specifically for the military to when the look starts influencing fashion.

“Decorative bits of military wear like braiding began to be included in women’s fashions and this continued into modern day women’s fashion.”

The exhibition also looks at how the tumultuous events of World War I and II had an impact on civilian clothing on the home front, made all the more poignant in the centenary year of WWI.

Natalie added: “Fashion during those periods was affected by the major events of the time.

“There was a shortage of textiles as all the efforts were going towards the war and there is also the idea of a lot of women going to work during the wars so they needed practical clothing, but they also didn’t want to look frivolous in their fashion in a time of great devastation.”

A wartime pamphlet detailing how to mend clothes. Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries.

A wartime pamphlet detailing how to mend clothes. Credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Robert Ruddock, 69 from Whitby, said: “As an ex-school master, I think the exhibition is an excellent display of the effects of war on how fashion changed.

“Particularly from the point of view of women’s clothes where there was a need for simplicity and utility in the face of the demands of war.”

The exhibition is displayed at Lotherton Hall and will be on show until  September 28.

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