The Great Gatsby film and the anniversary of the Kennedy eras in magazines and now on the runways, demonstrate clearly that fashion is turning to the bygone eras of the 1920’s flapper and also the 1950-60 with the divergent construction of garments which each era excelled in achieving.
For the 1920’s Gatsby era look, we have bias cut silk dresses, hems just below the knee or mid calf, beading and fringe which shimmered and swung as the wearer moved, close cropped hats worn just above the eyebrows, and short curled hair to emphasize the enhanced eyebrows and lipstick in deep shades of red.
For the first time in Europe and Americas, women felt free to move, just as Isadora Duncan dressed in a silk tunic danced in capital city opera house stages to symphonic music barefoot!
A woman’s figure was further altered by sometimes binding the breast area with a wrap much like the sports bra garments of today, in order to look more boyish. Gone were the whale bone corsets, excessive bustles, as well as the 40 yards of pleated or gathered tapestries or woolen plaids.
Jewelry was a shimmering enhancement of the Victorian era(1860-1910) long chains. These long necklaces now did not carry keys to the coffee, sugar, tea box nor the bibles, instead the necklaces which were long some up to 60 inches, were knotted and made out of chains enhanced with crystals, pearls, other bijoux found to add elegance and move with the wearer.
The social dances were swinging with fancy footwork flapping arms and an individual dancing alone and not in a couple embracing position. Antique movies show dancers performing these moves to the outrage of the elders.
At this juncture also the population was asserting itself against prohibition, the First World War and women’s suffrage movement, and the influence of colonialism. To help the dissemination of the fashions of this era, the newly conceived and spread of the Great Department Store transformed the way the women of the world could purchase clothing, jewelry, makeup, perfume and spend time in public alone shopping without worry.
The discovery of wonderful artifacts in South America, Africa, and Asia had a great impact on the fashion era as well. New fabrics, new cuts of clothing, new jewelry designs, new architectural outlines of clothing were introduced inspired by the industrial revolution and fueled by the treasures and materials from the world’s various archeological sites.
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