Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Roaring 20's - A Trip to MOV

Last Spring, I went to the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) for the first time.  I went there with a purpose.  I was a woman with a goal.  I wanted to see the "Art Deco Chic - Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars".  With with the release of Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" in May 2013, it seems like an appropriate time to engage in some re-memories.

After 4 years of war, the world was recovering and ready to celebrate.  Freedom and euphoria, the success of the women's suffrage movement, and the influence of Hollywood and jazz music all had an impact on fashion of the 1920's and the 30's.  The "Flapper" became synonymous with a woman who enjoyed life, was wreckless and thumbed her nose at traditional female norms, was fashionable and not afraid to play up her sexuality. These were worldly women, not ingenues who needed to be protected from the dangerous world.  The Flapper wanted to be part of it all.

Rather than being bound in tight bodices, stiff fabric, and covered in long hemlines, the glamourous fashions in the 20's and 30's were light, lose, and skirts were becoming shorter and more sheer.

The most delicate and intricate beading and embroidery

The style of these dresses was a symbol of the defiance against the culture and rules of the generation before them.  Drop waists, bodices, and skirts draped loosely over the body, which would allow movement.  Silks and chiffon dresses with shorter skirts which were often considered indecent allowed women to dance, and be free, while subtly showing off their gamine figure.  The intricately designed motifs were embellished with beads and embroidery were often influenced by the fascination of the Polynesian Islands, the "Orient" and the Art Deco movement.

The scoop and V shape was used frequently on both the neckline and the back of the dress emphasized the simple straight lines.   The two dresses in the first picture were some of my favourites because of the rich and saturated colour of the fabric and the architectural effect of the draping and design of the back.

Hollywood glamour found it's way into this era's evening wear.  Romantic and glitzy, these dresses were designed to capture the eyes of men and women and the attention of cameras.

I would probably mug women for these outfits.  It is very very likely.

There was something about this saffron yellow dress that just drew me in.  While it was considered daywear, I found it just as glamourous as the beaded silk gowns.  The cut is so simple, the colour is warm and significant, and the fabric is easy and light.  I'm not sure it would look great with my skin (I fear I'd look like I have jaundice) but I'd be tempted to buy it so it was part of my collection (yes, I have a collection of vintage dresses - who doesn't?!)

And lastly, these groups of dresses just left me awestruck.  While typically I am not a pastel or monet-like floral type of person the simple and dreamlike effect that the fabric and the patterns make them seem wearable, touchable, and easy.

"Grrrrrrl, you look good".  "What, you mean this old thing?"

No doubt the woman from the 20's and the 30's will be the muse of fashionistas and designers for the next season.  I can't wait to see what's in store for Fall fashion.

I always find a visit to the museum fulfills my need to learn, explore, and discover.  If you're in Vancouver, check out the exhibits at the Museum of Vancouver.

Address: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9
Phone:(604) 736-4431 

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