« Art Imitates Life | Main | Rock this Anti-Knockoff Trunk Show! »

Toy Soldiers

In the final months of World War II, a faux U.S. Army unit marched from France, through Luxembourg, and into Germany, accompanied by inflatable rubber tanks and the recorded sounds of airplanes.  Along the way, loose-lipped soldiers and officers "revealed" battle plans.

Political protest, you ask?  Not at all.  Rather, the "Ghost Army" was a counterintelligence unit designed to confuse the enemy with regard to the real Allied strategy.

For 60 years, the history of the United States Army 23rd Headquarters Special Troops remained hidden.  Now a filmmaker, Rick Beyer, has joined the niece of one of the soldiers to produce a documentary and a traveling exhibition about the unit.  Since many of the servicemen were artists, recruited from schools in New York and Philadelphia, the show incorporates the original paintings and drawings that they created en route.  And if you'd like to own a piece of that history, signed prints of some of the original artworks will be auctioned off this Sunday in Hamilton, Massachusetts, to raise money for the film.

But what's all this artifice got to do with fashion, you ask?  Take a look at the stylish caricature of Ghost Army soldier and fashion designer Bill Blass, drawn by fellow recruit Jack Masey, who remembers his late comrade-at-arms "reading Vogue in his foxhole." 

Don't ask, don't tell, indeed.