Wednesday 27 September 2017

Blog Tour: The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Today's blog tour is for The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington and I don't have the words to describe just how much this novel affected me. For anyone who has read Anne Frank or The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, you will know what vein this story takes, but it once again opened my eyes to the juxtaposition of normality in Nazi Germany. As part of my stop today, I have a guestpost from the author on the dark side of vintage fashion.

GUESTPOST WITH lucy adlington

Vintage Fashion

I love vintage fashion. What’s not to like? Vintage offers a range of unique styles, wonderful fabrics, zinging prints and stories.
As a dress historian I have the best job in the world: I collect, wear and share beautiful clothes and accessories for a living. However, fashion has its dark side. While researching to write a book about women’s lives and clothes in the 1940s I came across the extraordinary story of the dressmakers of Auschwitz concentration camp.
Fashion isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Holocaust history. Frankly, survival for prisoners in the concentration camp system usually meant scrabbling for scraps to eat, and rags to wear.  And yet, in the middle of hell there was a haven of talent and textiles – a dressmaking studio.
Here twenty-three skilled seamstresses sewed as if their lives depended on it. In fact, their lives were, literally, at stake.  They too were prisoners, most of them Jews hunted down as part of the Nazi genocide. As female SS guards and officers’ wives came into the workshop for dress fittings – wanting to parade in the latest fashions – outside the crematoria chimneys were snowing human ash.  
What a shocking contrast.  Mass murder on an industrial scale and all the glorious, indulgent, sensual delights of quality clothing.
This, then, was my inspiration for my new novel The Red Ribbon. This, and my enduring belief that clothes can individualise, inspire and humanise us.  The Red Ribbon is ultimately a tale of friendship every bit as much as fashion or fascism: Ella and Rose are two young seamstresses in the dressmaking workshop. I’ve woven stories from real Auschwitz survivors in with my fiction, along with a nostalgia for the sweet sound of my own grandmother’s sewing machine whirring…

The Red Ribbon is out now

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