Jazz the Flapper Dress!

The political context of the twenties had a great influence over the fashion that dressed-up the woman of the time. Known as the Jazz Age, the decade was a period of sounds, rhythms of jazz and frenetic dancing. But more than this, it was a period of escapism, a youthful reaction against the serious clothes of the Victorian and Edwardian styles. As a result, the twenties were characterized by radical changes in clothing for women. The changes in the social life of the period like the right to vote, won in 1920 and the possibility to opt for careers that until then were forbidden to them, led to women’s emancipation. Now they could become lawyers, doctors, journalists, even pilots, though most still held traditional ‘women’s jobs’ such as teachers, nurses, typewriters or shop girls.

Gucci - SS12
In this background a new woman was born. Named the Flapper, after the dress she was wearing, born of the Jazz Age in America, known as Bright Young Thing in England and La Garçonne in France, this woman was ‘a little bit of heaven and a little bit of hell'. Important figure in the popular culture of the 1920s, the flapper defined the new modern woman who challenged earlier assumptions about how a woman should dress and act like. Although some commentators would say the flapper was a dress associated more with the behaviour rather than the appearance, the jazz fashion represented by the flapper dress has to be related in the same time with actions that broke conventions. For the first time in the history of fashion, women were setting a new social order by wearing short skirts and short hair. Their social identity was to be changed by the boyish style they evolved with the Eton crop, bringing out questions about gender identity: ‘with bobbed hair and angular bodies, true flappers threatened social order[…]more because they might be mistaken for young men’.

Gucci - SS12
Marc Jacobs - SS12
Ralph Lauren - SS12
The new fashion was wearing them and it offered in the same time new ways of perceiving ideas. Like described in product of the era, The Flapper magazine, the flapper wasn’t just about the dress. The flapper was standing for: ‘Short Skirts. Rolled Sox. Bobbed Hair. Powder and Rouge. No Corsets. No Censorship of Movies, stage or press. Good Times. Honor Between Both Sexes’.

Etro - SS12
Ralph Lauren - SS12
Rag&Bone - SS12
For this season, many designers felt the comeback of the roaring 20s. The flapper dress and the cloche hat were the key pieces for their creations. If you don't have a party to adopt the style, you can at least mix some vintage items to create a look for the biggest vintage festival in England held this year in July. Have fun by recreating some of the outfits of the time in Alfie's Antique Market, Brick Lane or Portobello Market.


Elodie said...

This is a brilliant piece! I'd be more than happy to read such an article in my favourite glossy reads any day!

-Elodie x

Roxana Merlusca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxana Merlusca said...

Thanks so much Elodie! You really made my day!