Women cut their hair, smoke cigarettes from pipes and wear long pearl necklaces. During the roaring twenties a dizzying social change leads to a different zeitgeist and increasing wealth. From Paris to London, New York and Hollywood, the period after de Great War offers the modern woman a completely new style of dressing that also symbolises her new-won freedom.
This stunning collection of more than 150 pieces of sportswear, printed day dresses, fringed flapper dresses, beaded evening wear, velvet capes, kimonos and silk pyjamas reveals the glamour, frivolity and modernity of the decade. The exhibition shows the variety of clothing available to the modern woman, not just de drop-waisted flapper dress immediately associated with the era.
Throughout, the exhibition highlights the decade’s changing silhouette including the straighter less exaggerated shape, promoted by haute couture designers such as Lucile and Paul Poiret since the pre-war years, the rising hemline and clothes designed to allow free movement. By the 1920s, the waist and the bust had ceased to be the focus of modern fashion. Yet while designers had claimed to banish the corset it continued to be worn, albeit with a longer, more natural shape. Lingerie was designed to flatten and smooth the bust and a slimmer cylindrical silhouette became the accepted norm.