Designing the Bombshell: Military-Industrial Materials and the Shaping of Women’s Bodies in the United States

Bombshell Model

Designing the Bombshell: Military-Industrial Materials and the Shaping of Women’s Bodies in the United States

History Hangout: Conversation with Isabelle Held

Isabelle Held

Gregory Hargreaves interviews Dr. Isabelle Marina Held about her recent research at Hagley, funded by one of our grants. Dr. Held, a recent PhD in the History of Design, used Hagley materials in her research on the “bombshell assembly line,” the adoption of synthetic war-time materials, such as nylon, silicon, & plastic foam, by industries concerned with shaping or reshaping the bodies of American women.

While Dr. Held used numerous Hagley collections, a cache of documents relating to “Miss Chemistry,” a DuPont spokesmodel responsible for promoting nylon stockings to visitors to the company’s display at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, provided unique research opportunities discussed at length here.