Monday, October 23, 2017

Style Inspiration: Art Deco

Take a stroll through the wonderful Kumu Art Museum's 2015 Art Deco fashion exhibition
Based on the collection of historian/designer Alexandre Vassiliev

As you may have guessed, I'm contrary.

Just as soon as everyone starts wearing a certain style, I immediately start thinking about wearing the complete opposite.  (I've already reminisced about how in my early 20s in Hollywood, my roommate and I wore frilly floral sundresses when everyone else was in tight black spandex.)  I cut bangs when long hair was trending.  I dragged my wide leg jeans out of storage when skinnies became the rage...

Don't get me wrong!  I love dressing up in beautiful trends.  There is something kind of idiotic about always trying to be different just for the sake of, well, being contrary.  But there is something fun about choosing an outfit that doesn't look like what everyone else is wearing.  Think about that lone sunflower in a field of daisies.  See what I mean?

Style inspiration in unusual places: if only this car were a dress! 

With all the spectacular embroidery and wild pattern mixing of late, I find my head spinning.  I absolutely love it all, but the sheer wildness of it has got me thinking of things that are more linear and geometric.

One of my favorite design eras for fashion as well as architecture and interior design is the Art Deco period.  It reached its high point at the Paris Exhibition of the Arts in 1925, when the world was inspired by new technologies and materials.

Check out these amazing images from the 1925 Paris Art Deco exhibition

The lines!  The curves!  The unbelievably modern look of Art Deco -- even all these years later -- makes it feel eternally new and elegantly rebellious.  I love the fact that during the Art Deco era, women were tossing away restricted corsets, bobbing their hair and refusing to sit delicately beneath lace parasols.  When I see Art Deco anything, I think of freedom and insouciance and an effortless kind of modern chic.  

Pretty great, right?

Embed from Getty Images

As the period progressed, Art Deco designs lost much of their ornament and became even more sleek, shimmering and streamlined.  Whenever I see a Vera Wang gown, I think of how much she must have been influenced by all of these things.
This vintage Art Deco wallpaper would be great
in embossed leather.  Balmain?  Are you listening?

About that Art Deco Generation

“As I’ve said before, “the Mod generation”, contrary to popular belief, was not born in even 1958, but in the 1920s after a steady gestation from about 1917 or so. Now, Mod certainly came of age, fully sure of itself by 1958, completely misunderstood by 1963, and in a perpetual cycle of reinvention and rediscovery of itself by 1967 and 1975, respectively, but it was born in the 1920s, and I will maintain this. I don’t care who disagrees with me, and there are dozens of reasons that I do so —from the Art Deco aesthetic, to flapper fashions (complete with bobbed hair), to androgyny and subtle effeminacy, to jazz.” 
― Ruadhán J. McElroy

Learn all about the period here.  (And no, Art Nouveau is NOT the same as Art Deco.)

Can't resist watching this again...

When Baz Luhrman's version of The Great Gatsby came out several years ago, quintessential 1920s flapper dresses started showing up on red carpets.  The beaded, drop-waist gowns are exquisite -- and the style is a perennial classic to be sure -- but I wished designers embraced the more subtle aspects of of Art Deco, especially with use of linear design in accessories, shoes and bags.

Kinda like the items below... (Click on any for details.)

Those shoes with linear embellishment on the heels have given me a great idea for a DIY project to update an old pair of black boots.

I also thought it would be fun to sew a simple pencil skirt using a fabric with an Art Deco pattern.  I found this one on Zazzle and think it would be perfect:

I'm thinking this would be great with a simple black top.

See how inspirational this is?!

I remember a friend once saying that when she got married she wanted to wear "the wedding dress equivalent of the Chrysler Building."  Yes!  Shimmery, confident, beautiful Art Deco design ... modern for every age.

Be sure to watch the short Art Deco exhibition video at the top of this post for some truly inspiring vintage gowns.  Below, I just had to include some archival footage of 1920s ladies rocking Art Deco era fashion.

Want to leave a comment? Head over to the forum.

Kuma Museum Video by: Visions of Helsinki
Vintage Paris Exhibition video by Bleiddwin Lupin
The Official Great Gatsby trailer via IGN
Archival 1920s Fashion footage by thekinolibrary