Paris, newly liberated from the German occupation, sprung to life during the 1950s as a centre for all modes of artistic endeavour, most notably in fine art, literature, and music. Its association with romantic literary figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Roland Barthes made the city incredibly appealing to every serious-minded man or woman.
Fashion has always been about change, and the transition from 1940s fashion to fifties’ style was a pretty radical one. Post-war, 1950s fashion moved style from the salons to the streets, as inventions in easy-care fabrics and speedier manufacturing systems meant new silhouettes could be made for the masses.
The rise of “pulp fiction” in the United States began as a flashy offshoot of the sudden and unprecedented democratization of reading that followed the upheavals of the Civil War. Soaring literacy rates among the working class joined with new technologies of paper production, created a thriving market for accessible, entertaining stories in an inexpensive, portable format.