1940-1949: Katharine Hepburn
World War II highly impacted the fashion industry in the 1940s’ because of the lack of resources that were used for the war. Materials like silk, nylon, wool, leather, rubber, and zippers were all needed so the fashion industry had to learn to distribute their clothes through rations and the designers had to be creative when making their clothes while also establishing trends that were appropriate for this time period. The style that was popular at the beginning of the decade was very uniform representing the simplicity from the consequences of war but towards the end of the decade, the style was inspired by the casual/desired American Look and no other person in the 1940s’ was able to showcase this new look other than Kathrine Hepburn.
Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907, in Hartford, Connecticut. She started acting in plays in NYC in the late 1920s’ until she got the part opposite John Barrymore in the 1932 film A Bill of Divorcement. From that moment on, she joined RKO movie studio starring in movies like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Little Women, On Golden Pond, Morning Glory and many more. Her career lasted for over 6 decades with her last roles being The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story released in 1996; Katharine Hepburn died on June 29, 2003, at the age of 96 in the same house in which she had grown up.
When it comes to Hepburn's style in the 1940s’ she was definitely a trail blazer when it came to embracing both masculine and feminine style making her "known for her gender-bending style and highly stylized film persona, (she) made an indelible impact on both Hollywood and the fashion industry..." (Happy Birthday, Katharine Hepburn: Her Impact on Fashion) During her early days, Hollywood was obsessed with glitz and glamour which was the complete opposite of Hepburn. The article, "Katharine Hepburn by Donna Loveday", her style came across as striking due to her "informal and relaxed (style)... Hepburn implied a resistance to conform to the highly stylized, heavily made-up glamour girl looks promoted by the major Hollywood studios." She pioneered the "American Look" while wearing high-waisted slacks, button-down shirts, blazers, and loafers enforcing the idea of comfortably over aesthetics. Though she still wore fancy dresses on-screen, she played a huge role in fashion showing women that it shouldn't be looked down upon when one wears an "masculine" outfit because it doesn't strip away your femininity; her outfits inspired a generation and her impact is everlasting.