With a new decade beggining, it marked the end of World War 1. By 1918 the world war had ended and with is came a complete change in peoples social attitudes, and people had begun to look forward, away from the drama and catastrophe the war had left on society.
Designers picked up on the new modernism that society was searching for and began to modernise the entire world.
There were new attitudes and behaviour which altered lifestyles and gave a brand new prospect to the 1920’s. Manners were less formal, clothes were made to look a lot more casual and young people became free to move away from their parents.
An important new image arose from young women in the 1920’s. They began to smoke in public, were allowed to go to parties unaccompanied and majorly changed their appearance- cutting off their hair, wore make-up and vastly shortened their skirts.
A new style had began- The Flapper Girl had arrived during the ‘roaring twenties’.
The flapper girl were newly styled women who wore short skirts, had short hair often cut into a bob and listened to jazz music. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive make-up, drinking, smoking, and drove cars. Flapper style made girls look young and boyish: the short hair, flattened breasts, and straight waists accentuated it.
As well as the flapper girls, there was another version of femininity- young women strived to emulate the looks of movie stars.
Not only had young women changed their appearance, but young men did too. They wore very casual clothes, drank cocktails and drove fast cars if you could afford it.
Sports clothing also suddenly became a big fashion statement as society became engrossed with leisure.
Two young ladies named Theda Bara and Pola Negri launched a new style of fashion make-up.
The new look was called “vamped”, the eyes became very dark and intensely dramatic, and therefore became the vocal point. It was seen as fashionable to conceal the brow and forehead with ribbon, headband, hat or thick fringe.
Not only were the appearances of the men and women changing but also the way fabrics were cut and styled changed too. This era introduced the bias cut, many dresses were made like this and was greatly influenced by cubists (revolutionary paintings)
Sleeves were often long and full, bodices bloused loosely over lowered waistlines, scarves were often slung across the shoulders and tassels and fringing hung from sleeved and hemlines.
New styles of art called Cubism became very popular- this is a style of art where objects are broken up, analysed and hen re-assembled in an abstract form.
In 1925, the Exhibition of Decorative Arts took place in Paris. It was a new contemporary modern style where there was not a curve in sight. Buildings were rectangular and interiors were simple.
It is from this name that “Art Deco” derived from.
The excitement of Art Nouveau had soon been replaced by Abstract and Cubist art. Now, instead of decoration, the emphasis was on lines instead.
After the war had ended, there was a post war craze for dance. Jazz bands held dances every afternoon in large hotels, and high society men returning from war waiting for work spent a lot of their time listening to live music.
Men wore a new style of grey flannel trousers, “oxford bags” were introduced by under graduated of oxford university. They were often teamed with casual blazed to form basic lounge suits.
Dark young men with a South American background, with sleeked back hair which wore immaculate tails and pressed trousers called “Gigalos” began to appear during the 20’s.
During the middle of the 1920’s, yes gowns began to disappear, and the cocktail dress began to appear in the paris collections. Young girls favoured cocktails over tea, as the image of the flapper girl arrived.
The dresses were often beaded or embroidered, and also often had tassels and fringing from the skirts.
Curves disapeared and a much more boyish figure was seen. Corsets disappeared and undeveloped adolescent became ideal.
In 1925 Coco Chanel showed straight hanging jersey dresses. They were square hung straight from the hips, they were elegant, sleek and had soft easy shape.
They were seen as the perfect outfit of the “jazz age”
Eventually, during the 1920’s, mass market production became available and fashion had taken a step forward into a classless world.
Towards the end of the decade a fashion for exposure was set. New clothing allowed bare arms, and skirts were shortened. A tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen wore a sleeveless sweater on the tennis courts designed by Patou. This was the start of the connection between fashion and sport.
This exposed look became popular particularly for evenings, the look was developed by the fashion industry. The new exposed look had long line sleeveless bodices, cut away plunge back and were trimmed and draped and used bias cutting.
Soft floral prints and curves took over the Geometric lines of the 20’s. There was an obvious increase in femininity .
Towards the end of the 1920’s, the fashion industry was booming. Jewellers, Furriers, fabric painters and milliners became widely available. People participated in leisure activities and participated vastly in sports.
Transport became widely available. People bought cars and flying also appeared frequently in the news, ocean liners became a new fascination and people began to live in a life of luxury.
The decade ended with the wall street crash in 1929, the crash signalled the beginning of the great depression (which lasted ten years) and affected all of the Western Industrialised countries. It did not end in America until the ‘American mobilisation’ just at the end of 1941.
15 million people were left unemployed as the stock markets crashed. It was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of America.
The wall street crash contrasted with the life of the roaring twenties, of wealth and excess. The Crash caused fear mixed with a high disorientation, but shock was quickly cauterized with denial.