The Great Gatsby, coming to theaters May 10, will undoubtedly reintroduce some 1920s references to the fashion mainstream. Though we’ll only know just how extensive this trend will be at the Spring-Summer 2014 collections, we anticipate a new interest in fashionable beaded cocktail dresses, a few well-placed Art Déco graphics, a beauty spin on well-defined pursed lips, and bobbed or “Marcel” waved hair.
All in all, the 1920s were a very modern period, the decade that brought the woman’s vote (1920), the first Miss America Pageant (1921), the first talking film (1927), the dreaded Wall Street Crash (1929), and impressive marketing creations like the first Mother’s Day, specific Birthstones per calendar month, Blue for boys, Pink for girls… The 1920s were, indeed, a period of marketing and technological advancement.
On the fashion front, and especially regarding fur design and use, the 1920s paved the way for many of today’s fur styles. Inherently 20s looks included large fur collars, wrapping collars or wrapped coats – what the French call “manteau enveloppe”. The 1920s also witnessed advances in mink and fox ranching that allowed for perfecting the science of mutation colors, which had already started in the late 19th century.
As it turns out, the stereotypical 20s Hollywood glitz is but a sub-genre, the 20s were actually much more tame and, coincidentally, much more modern than most people might think. With only a few minor design tweaks, many of the looks would still work today.