"Men and girls
came and went
like moths among
and the champagne
and the stars"
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925.
The 1920s saw the arrival of a new, innovative spirit of the age. The result was an original style that broke with established orders and values and flirted with Modernism. The new moral and social etiquette required entirely different fashions, and under the impulse of avant-garde art movements, fashion was subjected to new enquiry.
Cultivated by cinema and Hollywood, the figure of the 'flapper' became a stereotype of the spirit of the 1920s. This boyish, rebellious garçonne set herself apart from accepted conventions and propriety. She cut her hair short, wore heavy makeup and short skirts, listened to jazz, frequented nightclubs and was not afraid of socially unaccepted relationships. In reality, very few women enjoyed such a lifestyle, but women were nonetheless playing a much more active role in society. In this sense, the idea of the flapper serves an important function as a model and remains a symbol for changing morals and lifestyles.
But it was not only the women who were in the spotlight. Men were changing too. They too preferred a boyish, youthful look to the conservative appearances of their fathers. The great popularity of sports and leisure time activities translated into sporty and more comfortable apparel. In the evenings, men returned to the traditional black formal suit, although these too saw the rise of new fashions.
Two crucial figures in the development of 1920s fashions were Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel and Jean Patou. Chanel introduced masculine elements, such as vests and trousers, into women's fashions. Her preference for jersey was expressed in ensembles that appeared to be very simple, the so-called pauvre chic, but were in fact exceptionally luxurious. Jean Patou, in addition to his collections, focused on clothing for sports and leisure, and designed for famous sports stars. His fashion house was one of the largest of the day and reached its height of success in the 1920s.
Technological advancements and further development of synthetic fabrics boosted the garment industry. As a result, fashionable clothing became accessible to all layers of society. Designers also began focussing attention on prêt-à-porter. Paris remained the epicentre of fashion, and styles conceived in the couture salons were now quickly distributed throughout the growing mass market. Major department stores and boutiques purchased or copied the prototypes, while a variety of magazines ensured fast distribution of new styles. Thanks to the relatively simple tailoring, fashions of the Twenties were easily copied.
The fact that the 1920s were an inspiring time is seen in countless creations that adorn the catwalks today. Designers happily reach back to elements from that fascinating decade. It is no accident that the principles of those exuberant years are at the foundations of today's contemporary fashion.
Chanel, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet, Paul Poiret, Worth, Sonia Delaunay, House of Jenny, Paquin, Callot Soeurs, Kitmir, Molyneux, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, Prada, Etro, Ferragamo, Hermès, …
Modemuseum Hasselt - Jazz Age. The Roaring 20s - 12.09.2015 - 13.03.2016
Website & source : Modemuseum Hasselt NL - DE - EN - FR
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