The harmony of the whole, with attention to detail, is my joy.
H. Podolská, 1926
May 19, 2019, is the last day for fashion fanatics to visit Hana Podolská’s
exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts and to dive deeper into the history of
Podolská, born in Germany in 1880, was a Czech fashion designer whose
Couture House rose during the First Czechoslovak Republic and survived through
World War II and the post-war period. Most of the prototypes of Podolská’s dresses and
female suits reflect fashion trends prevalent during World War II. Being a reputable
professional, Podolská was manufacturing clothes for Czech celebrities, such as
actresses Lida Baarová (1914-2000) and Adina Mandlová (1910-1991), and for Czech
films, such as “Zlatá Kateřina” and “Katakomby.”
Podolská’s father died when she was young, leaving the whole family in an
arduous financial situation. Working hard to earn enough money to support herself,
Podolská lost hope of becoming a designer. However, in 1907, Viktor Podolský, a
Polish nobleman, photographer, and academic painter, married Podolská and helped her
to achieve goals, supporting his wife both emotionally and financially.
Podolská’s talent and connections with Czech celebrities brought the designer
substantial success. Besides manufacturing high-quality clothes, Podolská established
“Eva” and “Fashion and Taste”, Czechoslovak fashion magazines.
Podolská’s business was nationalized after the Communist takeover in 1948.
Nevertheless, she continued working at her fashion house as a saleswoman. In 1991, 19
years after her death, the fashion house closed down. However, the Czechs still pride
themselves on Podoloská’s legacy: the designer who developed Czech fashion to match
Besides the most important facts from Podolská’s biography, the exhibition
displays her quotes about fashion, significant dates in her career, video interviews, and
Moreover, spectators have an opportunity to touch Podolská’s textiles and view
their intricacies through the microscopes provided at the exhibition.
Fashion became an emotional outlet for those living during World War I and II.
According to the sketches, mid-length skirts and jackets with shoulder pads and a
narrow waist emphasizing women’s elegance and femininity were the most popular
components of Podolská’s designs. V-cut necklines and belts were integral to her
outfits. Coarse, practical fabrics; low-key colors, such as blue, brown, and black; plaid,
polka dot had become the most preferred details in fashion. Headwears and gloves tied
the outfits together.
The exhibition also provides brief information about influential fashion
photographers of Czechoslovakia, such as Jaroslav Balzar (1884-1945) and František
Between the museum’s high painted ceilings and colorful stained-glass
windows, Podolská’s exhibition invites the audience into a period of Czechoslovakia’s
Photos by Angelina Nikonova (except Podolská’s portrait; by Carola Praha)