Thanks to the movie The Great Gatsby, vintage dresses are back with a bang. Although the dresses from the movie were not an accurate representation of the complete era, they caused enough intrigue from the viewer. From the bright colors to the decadence it caused the return of retro.
When we think of 1920’s women’s fashion the first image that pops into our minds is the flapper dresses. From the short to the more freeing, fringed ones, they represented a more fun and carefree 1920’s. Apart from those, the women also wore long silk gowns for evening wear. The retro dresses of the 1920’s were basically divided into two sections: casual comfort or loud glamourous fun evening wear. Other dresses synonymous to the 1920’s were the loose-fitting chemise dresses, handkerchief dresses, and robe dresses often with sequins and beadings.
This era was important for fashion as it marked a time when women were moving away from conservative dresses. The hemlines of skirts and dresses were shortening and the women were adopting more of androgynous styling thus breaking free of restrictions posed in fashion or otherwise. The dresses became less about the perfect hourglass figure and more about practical comfort with style. This is probably the reason why we still see some of the 1920’s trend even today (dungarees, little black dresses, sweater dresses, fringes, beading etc).
The 1920’s cannot be mentioned without giving a shoutout to these lovely people who helped define them. Women such as Coco Chanel (credited with the little black dress, skirt suits, espadrilles, trousers for women) helped them to break free from the corsets and her designs offered a casual styling with panache. Other designers such as Valentina Schlee, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Madeline Vionnet and Norman Hartnell to name a few were also pioneers in this era in paving the fashion of the 20’s. Of course, we can’t mention the 1920’s without mentioning the original inspiration of The Great Gatsby author Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda. Zelda aptly represented the freeing, carefree happy, creative, independent flapper girl.
Showgirls like Greta Garbo, Josephine Barker, and Clara Bow became the “it” girls of the 1920’s and they helped popularize and glamorize the fashion that we best remember from the 1920’s. Thanks to Greta Garbo’s sophisticated yet simple styling she became the emblem for Old Hollywood Glamour. Josephine Barker was the original flapper girl famous for her banana dance performances and various accessories, was also a spy! Clara Bow made famous the dropped waist, and slimming chevrons which was found in all flapper girls. We have to say a big thanks to these ladies and more for helping us in freeing us from the uncomfortable Victorian Fashion!