As I mentioned earlier, I spent a few weeks in France recently. I didn't especially go looking for textile-related things, but they seemed to find me, as they usually do.
One place we always visit in Paris is Hotel des Invalides. It's not so much that we have a passion for Napoleon's tomb, although that is pretty impressive. But the accompanying museum calls us back every time. It's the only museum I've ever visited which has medieval armour shoved casually into piles - here a stack of pikes, there some mail, over here a collection of helmets glaring fiercely at passers-by. And cannons of every description guard the central cloister. They do have more formal exhibition spaces too, of course, but the casualness of quantity grabs me every time. This time, we visited their excellent WWI and WWII exhibitions, which we'd previously missed. They have a chronological pathway you can follow, beginning with late nineteenth century exhibits, or you can amble about in your own order.
I was fascinated by the military uniforms. Many of them were surprisingly stylish for something that was essentially utilitarian. It's always hard to take good photos and most of my shots were for my own interest, but here's a page's uniform from the late 19th century.
All that work, so you had someone to fetch your drinks and take off your boots! The fact that armies had pages is itself an interesting comment on how warfare was waged in those far-off days.
And here is the embroidered traycloth for Marechal Petain's guards. Not, I gather, for the Marshall Himself but for the chaps detailed to look after him. The mind boggles.
We quilters know a lot about commemorative fabrics, but did you know there was fabric made commemorating the end of WWII? Here is a Victory dress, made in France just after peace was declared in Europe. I'm not sure if it was ever worn, and I can't somehow see it as the height of fashion, even in those times, but someone went to the trouble of making it.