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Uploaded on Feb 7, 2008
Norman Hartnell's 1938 Spring Collection is modelled here by a group of society ladies (one of whom looks alarmingly like Nadia from 2004's Big Brother) who pose awkwardly in a series of extraordinary gowns.
Shot in glorious Dufaycolor (an early and beautifully distinctive colour film process), this is not only an important record of 1930s couture, but also a handy reminder that not so long ago you could be a clothes horse without being a teenage size-zero.
This was an atypical subject for director Humphrey Jennings - soon to become one of the most enduring chroniclers of World War Two's home front. Here, he (and Hartnell) appear to have been influenced by Madame Yevonde, doyenne of British society photographers, whose portraits of aristocrats posing as ancient Greek goddesses had recently been exhibited. (Robin Baker)