The Met says: During the 1920s, the days were for working and the nights were for dancing. Women’s dress was liberating, as the hemlines rose and the waistlines dropped. Evenings were spent at clubs and it was common to see ladies dancing the Charleston and Black Bottom, sipping cocktails and enjoying an occasional cigarette. Featured, is a quintessential dance dress from the 1920s. This piece is visually appealing because of the various textures and patterns created by the surface decoration. The detailed beadwork is quite stunning and would catch the light as the wearer was in motion. To add a feminine touch, the tulle bow has been added at the waist, and the extra fabric drapes over the shoulder.
The Met says: This dress takes on the tubular shape which was the dominant silhouette of the 1920s. The sheer top, adorned with rhinestones, intersects at the waist to create a skirt consisting of tiers of scalloped beadwork of a typical Art Deco pattern. The execution of the design of the skirt is exquisite and highly impressive. When worn for an evening out, there is no doubt this was a flattering dress that made heads turn as it caught the light when the wearer was dancing the Charleston or Black Bottom.
Philippe & Gaston ca. 1925
The Met says: The 1920s was the era of the flapper - a liberated woman who danced all night, sipped cocktails and frequently smoked. She was a carefree spirit and this was expressed through her dress. Hemlines rose and waistlines dropped, creating a tubular silhouette. Sheer and delicate fabrics were used, revealing more skin, and heavy beading was a common adornment, for the beads would catch the light and sparkle while the wearer was in motion. For a fabulous night on the town, a lady had to have the appropriate wardrobe and this evening dress is a perfect example of a well-made dress of the period. It is a visually appealing piece with the combination of the ombré fabric and the refined beadwork. The floating panels on the skirt are a classic design element of the 1920s dresses and would have been quite eye-catching
Edward Molyneux (French, born Britain, 1891–1974)
The Met says: Often remembered as Captain Molyneux, Edward Molyneux began his career with the English couturiere Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon, as a fashion sketcher and later assistant, traveling with her from London to New York and Chicago. Returning after WWI with blindness in one eye, Molyneux opened his own couture house in 1919 in Paris at 14 rue Royale. He opened several other branches, in both Monte Carlo and Cannes, and finally London. Molyneux had an artistic flair and obsession with the bourgeois. His clientele included the social elite as well as stars of the stage. Working in luxurious fabrics, he created exquisite pieces for both day and night, his colors of choice being navy, black and beige. His simplistic masterpieces were perfect for the woman who desired to look “absolutely” right.This evening ensemble from the mid-twenties is a perfect example of the refined designs of Molyneux. The neutral color choice subdues the eye yet on close examination, the extent of beading is astonishing. A provocative touch is the low cut overblouse, made appropriate by the sheer underdress beneath. This is a classic example of the boyish cut so favored by all women during the twenties.
The Met says: During the 1920s it was common for women to spend their nights on the town, dancing and drinking cocktails. The fashionable silhouette called for a dropped waist and raised hemline, and with such rapid moves being performed on the dance floor, this new form of dress complimented the carefree lifestyle. This dress is an excellent example of the style of the period and is of interest for its refined French workmanship and finishing. The beadwork is very detailed and the pattern is visually appealing, as the beads cascade down onto the bodice.
Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946)
The Met says: The arcing appliqué design is characteristic of Lanvin’s aesthetic during the mid-1920s. Jeanne Lanvin was apprenticed to a milliner and a dressmaker before opening her own millinery shop in 1889. She expanded into dressmaking when her clients began asking for the ensembles in which she adorned her daughter, Marguerite di Pietro (1897-1958). Her style embodied the femininity of youth in a most modern way with meticulous and relatively sparse surface embellishments and robe de style silhouettes, which could be worn by women of all ages. Lanvin’s aptitude can be seen through her house’s 1920s expansion into fur, lingerie, men’s wear, household goods and perfume. She even had the forethought to open her own dye factory which produced the inimitable ‘Lanvin blue.’ The longevity of the House of Lanvin can be credited to her attentive management and design standards from its inception.
Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) (England, London, 1862 - 1935)
Woman’s Dress, ‘Robe de Style’, 1918
Costume/clothing principle attire/entire body, Silk taffeta, silk chiffon, lace, Center back length: 55 in. (139.7 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch Collection (M.45.3.228)
Costume and Textiles Department.
This post is for decrepit-telephone because whenever I see Parasols I think of you!
1) 1915-29 This parasol represents the apogee of parasol design of the early 1910s and 1920s, and the inclusion of an animal motif sets this parasol apart from others. Additionally, the motif is an identifiable breed fashionable in high society and a further nod to high style. The silk covered handle is also evidence of the high quality of this piece, and the fact that the crepe has been cut away, making the dog design visible from the inner side of the canopy as well as the outside.
2) c. 1920-39 The snakeskin trim found on this parasol sets it apart from the normal parasols of the day and may have coordinated the piece with other accessories such as shoes and a handbag. It is the characteristic parasol shape and size for the 1920s with a feminine color scheme, including pink stained wood to compliment the chiffon canopy.
The Met says: … Ladies wearing these slightly revealing dresses, made of delicate fabrics and decorated with heavy beading were often referred to as flappers. This dress is a wonderful example of the style of the period. An unusual pattern of free-form elements concentrically outlined in clear beads enlivens this piece and the textured surface of the sequins creates an interesting play of light.