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Art Deco in Fashion

The looks that drove the Jazz Era

Art Deco's love of geometric form also absorbed into jewellery, replacing the intricate detailing of the past. In 1930, the Parisian jeweler, Raymond Templier (1891 – 1968), commented in the Goldsmiths' Journal, "As I walk in the streets I see ideas for jewellery everywhere, the wheels, the cars, the machinery of today". His bold, abstract designs evoked the dynamism of modern urban culture, earning him the reputation of 'architect of the jewel'.

At the end of the 1920s, an all-white look became popular. Icy combinations of diamonds, rock crystal and platinum came to the fore, with geometric, minimalist rings illustrating the severity of Art Deco design. Platinum became a favoured material, because its strength allowed minimal quantities of metal to be used, giving the stones the greatest possible prominence.

In the early 1920s, Russian artist Natalia Gonchorova worked for the Maison Myrbor, an exclusive shop owned by Italian Marie Cuttoli, selling fashion, rugs and curtains designed by the international avant-garde. Goncharova (1881 – 1962) had a long career with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, which were a major influence on Art Deco. Goncharova produced astonishing costumes for Diaghilev, but like many Russian refugees in Paris, she also designed dresses. Her exquisite silk evening dress, with silk and velvet appliqués and metal thread, bound with lame, strongly reflects her work for the ballets and her Russian heritage.

Striking Lines | Innovative Fabriques

Pochoir, a stencil-based printing technique used to create multicolored prints, was particularly popular in the production of French illustrated pattern books from the late 19th century until the 1930s. The technique created lively images with crisp lines and vibrant colors

While the Art Deco was a decidedly a new style, it also maintained a strong dialogue with other artistic styles and periods, nurturing certain elements while turning away from or reacting to others. The Art Deco inherited various aspects from its direct predecessor, Art Nouveau, such as the use of geometric forms; the often flat and sometimes stylized naturalistic decorations; an predilection for exotic elements, often combined with the local; and a general interest in compositions consisting of multiple dimensions and perspectives. In line with the spirit of the times, the Art Deco also shared or adopted elements from other contemporary artistic movements. With Futurism it shared a fascination for technological advancements and the machine; with Cubism a predilection for repetition and geometric forms. A tendency towards distortion is often linked to German Expressionism, while the theatricality of the style finds a parallel in the costume and set designs for the Ballets Russes.

Textile design received much attention during this period, as fashion represented the second-largest export industry and was of great importance to the recovery of a devastated economy after World War I. This aspect is clearly reflected in the quantity of publications devoted to textile design issued in this period. The vibrancy of many of these designs can also be understood to reflect a spirit of revival and recuperation. (from the Met Museum)

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Upcoming Events

Jun, 2024

Cocktails of the Deco Era: A Taste of Prohibition

Chandler June 23, 2024 15:00
Indulge in Art Deco’s liquid legacy with this cocktail-tasting experience. Enter a different time when skirts were shorter, jazz was hotter, the cocktails were stronger…and there were ostriches.  That’s right.…
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