Lyon, main city of textile and resistance


There's an exhibition about recycling clothes during the war, and how these relics help to create costumes for war films at the Deportation and Resistance History Center (CHRD) in Lyon.

I've never been there before as I'm from Normandy and I've got an English name, well, you know, I've already heard so much about the war... (by the way I recognized straight away "The Knotted gun" that we also have at the Peace Memorial museum in Caen.)

Sounds interesting anyway, fashion and costumes ! So that's it, I'll have a look ! That'll be my first time on this side of the war, inside the free zone (southern France).


I discover orginal stuff : a braces bag, a celluloid hat, and even a curtains dress... And shoes, pretty colourful ! Do you recognize the denim converse's ancestor ?

The most delightful of this exhibition, that's the visitors' comments : "Oh look darling, they speak about us ! Chazelle's workers don't loose a piece of felt !" or even "Just like me, my mother made me some trousers out of a parachute, I can remember that so well !"

We also learn that the bag worn across the shoulder was born at this time, as you had to walk or cycle, no gas anymore. To be fashionable all right, but in an easy way please.

Ok, it was the war, but we still had colourful clothes. And above all still elegant despite of the patching up style ! Jeannette Ruplinger, a woman from Lyon, reminds us : "Clothes are part of women's dignity. No coquetry here, it's about asserting ourselves. It's about resisting to events."



Other words make you feel like turning the page : "Oh, I used to buy fabrics to this woman and she was working with the ennemy, can't believe it !" or even a frozing "Yes, I came here when it was the gestapo's."
(The museum has been set in the gestapo's place, and the exhibition is in the cellar)

As nothing is entire black or white, in this museum, they put together portraits of German resistants and nazis, no confusion.


A visitor tells us "Wow, when they shooted the movie Lucie Aubrac down my flat, it's been such a shock when I went out in my street full of big nazis banners !"

I wasn't really aware of where I was, suddenly I had to sit down.

Imagine the contrast, a dress by Yves Saint Laurent set in the little dark cell. It's been the same effect when he unveiled his new collection in 1971. Since then, the "40 retro style" comes back regularly. An old lady laughs : "Don't you think that fashion, in fact, is an eternal resumption ?" 


At the end, release colors : a blouse especially embroided by a woman to welcome the 2nd DB releasing Paris.

My grand father was part of the 2nd DB, I'm touched ! Women used to climb up on their tanks with blue white red flowers in their hair. But this woman had literally embroided flowers on her blouse waiting for this day, a bit of resistance gesture.


At night, by chance, at the art museum...

There's a presentation of a painting about women's day. The lecturer talks about resistance : I must say they've always been resisting in Lyon, since the Romans were here, you can imagine !

On the painting, Judith already cut Holopherne's head"This woman has been strong enough to fight till the end. She reminds us about Joan of Arc and great Lyon's resistant women. This was paint in 1847, quite brave too !"  


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