Fashion became an industry to follow and the first edition of Vogue magazine was published in June 1920. Coco Chanel designs were credited with liberating women from the corset. Chanel expanded beyond clothing to incorporate accessories such as hand bags, jewellery and of course perfume. It wasn’t just ‘street wear’ that was influenced by the new fashion. Specialist sportswear designers were now designing tailored garments for increasingly active women who played sports such as tennis. Clothes were washable and easy to care for and allowed for ease of movement by using pleats. Naturally these benefits were taken up by women in all walks of life and so the sportswear designs found their way on to the high street.
For men the most recognised style of the 1920’s was that depicted in The Great Gatsby. The novel written in 1925 by F Scott Fitzgerald was the basis for many films, the first of which appeared as a silent movie in 1926, though only a smaller trailer for it exists today. The inspiration for the book came from the author’s visits to many parties in the early 1920’s and was written as a commentary on the social upheaval, and excesses prevalent at the time. But it is as much about men’s fashion at that time, that the book and films are famous for, as the plot itself. Razor edged ‘gangster’ suits and hats mirrored the bold geometric shapes found in everything from tea pots to skyscrapers. Sharp lines of symmetry and rectangular shapes were defining men’s fashions even down to the designs on their neck ties.
The Art Deco era was then more than just a clothing statement. It reflected a new way of life that was bold and brash. It’s influence extended from the Clarice Cliff tea cup to New York’s Chrysler building. Homes were built and filled with the designs of the times that was as much a statement about life as fashion. Many of these private and public buildings survive today and of course all this can be replicated in a dolls house with a little imagination.