Dress up in 1940s outfits for a special VE Day parade at the Goodwood Revival

Visitors to this year's Goodwood Revival will be invited to take part in a special victory parade to recreate VE Day celebrations in London 75 years ago.

Promoted by Goodwood
Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 1:25 pm
Sue O'Donoghue in the Goodwood wardrobe department

Each year the event has a theme and in 2020 it will recreate jubilant scenes which took place on The Mall in London immediately following Churchill’s historic radio announcement that the Second World War was over.

Londoners thronged the streets around Buckingham Palace, waving home-made Union flags while around the country bunting-strewn street parties celebrated the end of nearly six dark years of war.

The Revival will bring that moment to life once again on the Sunday lunchtime of its September event, with spectators being invited on to the track to help recreate the famous scene from May 8, 1945.

A D-Day 70th anniversary track parade at the Revival in 2014

A fleet of period vehicles will take part in a ‘victory lap’ around the Goodwood Motor Circuit, near Chichester. There will also be a weekend-long street party with Union flags and bunting aplenty.

Each year, Revival guests are invited to get into the spirit of things by dressing up in period to be part of the show as historic racing cars take to the track.

Sue O’Donoghue, theatrics and costume curator at Goodwood, has given her tips on what revellers might wear. She said: 'The thing to know about wartime fashion is that fabric was rationed, which meant that you went from being able to use plenty of fabric to having to restrict everything.

‘The silhouette became very straight, narrow and very fitted. A strong military influence came into fashion. It was almost as a tribute to the boys fighting.'

Goodwood Revival

She added: 'You could only have three pockets on coats and two pockets on a dress or skirt. Frills and lace were banned.

‘It was all about practicality. Women were wearing trousers a lot more. They had to go to work and go to factories. Shoes were a lot more sensible. A heel no bigger than an inch-and-a-half.

‘Everything became very utilitarian, it was austerity, utility and ration.’

But, Sue explained, that doesn’t mean the fashion was bland or boring – people still got creative.

‘Women used to find different ways to get around it,' Sue explained.

‘For example, they used to buy extra black-out curtains and make skirts out of them. There was a lot of make do and mend with a lot of hand-knitted jumpers and stuff like that. There were leaflets on how to turn a men’s suit into a lady’s skirt suit.'

She also explained that there were plenty of florals and colour around too.

‘Women were to remain coquette, that was part of the national morale.'

So what should people wear to the Revival?

‘You can go working girl or land girl, dungarees and headscarves, felt hats,' Sue said.

‘We have not done a really strong '40s theme for a while, it’s going to be great fun to do that. I love the '40s style, they had to be clever.

‘I would love to see somebody in a siren suit. They were the first onesies! They were jumpsuits - if the sirens went off you could throw them on over your nightdress and dash to the shelter.

‘There was a point in the '80s where a lot of '40s-style fashion came in. There were some very pretty floral dresses that you may find in charity shops now. It’s how you dress it up, with the right scarf, hat or gloves. You can make a quite modern dress look quite '40s.'

The Goodwood Revival is scheduled to take place on September 11-13, 2020, To find out more, click here