The Euro

The euro is the currency of 17 countries in the EU, the eurozone, which consists ofAustria,Belgium,Cyprus,Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Greece,Ireland,Italy,Luxembourg,Malta, theNetherlands,Portugal,Slovakia,SloveniaandSpain. Euro’s banknotes and coins could finally be used by their residents in 2002. Today, it is one of the most powerful currencies in the world.

The symbol of the euro is €. There are coins of 2€, 1€, 50 c, 20 c, 10c and 5c, and notes of 500€, 200€, 100€, 50€, 20€, 10€ and 5€. One euro is one hundred eurocents.

The design of the coins and notes depends on the country. Every coin has a common side and a specific one:

Iguácel Cuiral – Group 8

Sources (all of them accessed on 20/12/2011):

Map source: (Accessed on 20/12/11)

Euro coins source: (Accessed on 20/12/11)

More information about the Euro:




The European Union flag

It is one of its main symbols. A dark blue flag, in which twelve golden stars form the shape of a circle. It was designed by Arséne Heitz, in order to create a common symbol for countries and organisations. And, against many people’s thought, the number of stars has no relation with the number of state members (like, for example, 51 stars in the American flag). That’s why it hasn’t changed with time. The number twelve was included because of the belief that twelve is a perfect number.

Néstor Rubio. Group 8.

Sources (all of them accessed on 06/12/2011):,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=1d5a6e1e418e8e94&biw=1366&bih=600,r:2,s:0&biw=1440&bih=837

Haute Couture in the 50’s

Haute couture is the creation of original and signed designs of clothes of high quality and artisan manufacture by a couturier or designer. The founder of the haute couture was the Englishman Charles Frederic Worth, in 1858. Basically, the difference between haute couture and the ‘low’ one is that they have private customers, fashion shows and they must show two different collections in Paris every year with at least 75 original models per collection. All the models must be made in their own workshops, as they must accomplish the exigencies of the Chambre Syndical de la Couture. From 1950’s, many fashion houses started to create items for mass productions and nowadays part of their business strategy is to give brand licences for cosmetics, perfumes and so on. The 50’s were a brilliant period for haute couture.

Source: (Accessed on 06/12/11)

Christian Dior and the New Look

In the aftermath of World War II, Dior presented his Corolla Line, very elegant, sophisticated and aristocratic – in contrast with the austerity of war times –, renamed by Harper’s Bazaar magazine as ‘New Look’. Basques, spike heels and tulle frilly petticoats became very popular and skirts and dresses length was under the knee. This collection was controversial because the amount of fabric used on the models was excessive considering the economic situation in that period. The most famous suit of this collection is the ‘Bar’ suit:

Bar’ suit, Christian Dior, 1947. Photograph by Willy Maywald.Source: (accessed on 07/12/2011)

More information about the ‘Bar’ suit:

Furthermore, he invented the cocktail dress. It soon was included in almost all the collections of every designer and became a new social exigency. In Boletín de la Moda, issue 1 (1952) we can read: ‘The cocktail party demands a way of dressing that calls for a low-cut neckline and brilliantly-cut rich fabric; a garment that is not quite an evening dress, but more like suspension points leading up to it.’

When Dior died in 1957, he left Yves Saint Laurent in charge of his fashion house. Yves would become one of the most important designers of the post-war period, especially in the 60’s and the 70’s.

Other very important designers of this period are Givenchy, Balenciaga and Chanel.


The haute couture only created for adult and rich women, forgetting young women and their demand of sportive clothes for summer. Some designers realized that they were capable of attracting customers with that profile with fashionable suits from mass productions, as it was common inUSA. The seeds of prêt-à-porter fashion are, precisely, in the fifties.

Spanish fashion houses in the 50’s

Some of the most important designers from Spain are Cristóbal Balenciaga, Pedro Rodríguez, Marbel (Eusebio Oller Roca), Manuel Pertegaz, Vargas-Ochavía and Herrera and Ollero.

What makes Spanish fashion different is the importance of tradition and folklore. Designers are inspired by paintings of Goya, Velázquez and other masters, but they still followParis’ rules. The most important cities for fashion in Spain were Madrid and Barcelona, but some designers had to move to Paris.

Another Spanish singularity, ‘las colecciones de campo y playa’ (the countryside and beach collections), were composed of simple summer suits made mainly of cotton with lower prices. These collections were shown every June.

‘A couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for colour, a musician for harmony and a philosopher for temperance’ – Cristóbal Balenciaga


Cocktail dress (1960), Cristóbal Balenciaga.















Dress (1953), Pedro Rodríguez

Models for the House of Marbel Juanita and Viki – La moda en España, 1955

Herrera and Ollero

A few outfits presented at the World’s Fair in Brussels –  Boletín de la moda, 1958

Iguácel Cuiral – Group 8


‘El reinado de la Alta Costura: la moda de la primera mitad del siglo XX’ Isabel Vaquero Argüelles. Accessed on 06/12/2011.

‘Alta Costura, costura de altura en los años 50’ . Mercedes Pasalodos Salgado. Accessed on 06/12/2011.

‘Christian Dior lanza el New Look’  Accessed on 07/12/2011.

Moda de los años 50 Accessed on 07/12/2011.

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a massive cement wall built after World War II (August 1961) between West andEast Europe. Bolchevique ideology inEast GermanyandEuropelead to unhappiness, and this triggered a mass displacement of people to the west side. Soviets built it and equipped it with weapons and wire fences, and killed anyone who attempted to cross it. This spread families and friends apart. The tense situation lasted long, and finally in November 1989, the wall, and its entire symbolic halo, was taken down.


Author: Néstor Rubio


Tony Vaccaro. Jewish immigrants to the USA – Bremen to Bremerhaven (1948)

Tony Vaccaro, American photographer, took this photograph in 1948. It shows some Jewish immigrants in a train which goes fromBrementoBremerhaven, part of the long journey toUSA.

After World War II, thousands of Jewish survivors wanted to start a new life. As they got out of concentration camps and refuges, they found nowhere to live inEurope, so they had to find somewhere outside its frontiers. Most of the Jews immigrated toPalestineandUSA, butIsraelbecame one of the most popular destinations from its beginnings in 1948.

Countries such asUSA,Canada,AustraliaandArgentinaestablished migration programs. They were convenient for them, as they needed to increase their population and workers in order to take advantage of the post-war economic boom. One of the slogans that was commonly used was “populate or perish”. In their migration programs, they favoured European immigrants rather than others who came from other parts of the world.

In 1948, the US Congress proclaimed a law which allowed 400,000 displaced people to enter the country. 20% of them were Jewish. They influenced American culture and economics, including marketing and business areas.

From my point of view, immigration was the only solution that most people had and, due to that fact,Europelost population and an important cultural source.

Author:Iguácel Cuiral



On the 9th of May 1950, the French (Foreign Minister) Robert Schuman gave a speech, which was later known as the Schuman Declaration. It is considered as a precursor of the European Union. His main objective was to create an “organization of United European States” by proposing to submit the coal and steel of France and Germany (and the other countries that would like to join the organization) to a common administration, the so called “High Authority”, and establishing a territory which allowed the free movement of people, capital and merchandise: The Schuman Declaration gave birth to the European Coal and Steel Comunnity.

Schuman’s proposal made another world war impossible.It encouraged countries to be peacefull. Moreover, it meant the world’s first supranational institution and the birth ofEurope; that’s why Schuman is considered as one of the Founding Fathers of the European Union, and the 9th of May is celebrated every year as “Europe Day”.

These are two pictures of Robert Schuman during the speech, inParis:

60 years of the Schuman Declaration – The birth of United Europe:

Image source:

Schuman Declaration:

1946 Winston Churchill’s Speech

In 1946, the British politician Winston Churchill, gave an speech at theUniversityofZurichaboutEurope’s situation. Some historians consider this speech the beginning of the European Union, others, the beginning of Cold War.

This speech has passed to history as the “Iron Curtain” speech. If we want to find the reason why the speech is known like this is because, at one point of the speech, Churchill’s says that “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central an Eastern Europe.”  With this speech Winston Churchill was encouragingEurope to create an union between European countries.

As I look on it, this speech was made for trying to convince European countries of the danger that Rusia was.

Here you can listen to the whole original speech:

Image source:

Author: Mireya Vicent