Introducing the new monthly column by fashion academic and writer Pearl Westwood, here we take a look at a current trend and delve into the past. Discovering that today’s style influences came from decades ago and worlds gone by, it will have you exclaiming ‘Fancy that’!
With the long awaited premiere of the Great Gatsby movie this week, I couldn’t resist choosing it to set the scene for this month’s column. Staged in the roaring 1920’s the glimpses we have seen so far show that Baz Lurhmann’s extravagant interpretation will be full of stereotypical references, drop waists, strings of pearls, fur stoles and of course lashings of diamonds. Whilst the film doesn’t cater to historical accuracy – it is a modern interpretation after all, it does capture the extravagance of the era which the original novel encapsulated. Most notable is the glittering jewellery, Daisy Buchanan and chums wear shimmering and glimmering, dripping in jewels. Tiffany jewellers designed the elaborate diamond pieces used on set, including the sumptuous ‘feather’ headdress.
The Great Gatsby
In real life however the period wasn’t just about expensive jewels, plastic imitation pieces became popular, you could get the look without the price tag. Surprisingly, due to the high prices of the brand today Coco Chanel championed this, declaring she wanted every woman to wear her ‘jewels’. Today the majority of Chanel jewellery is in fact simulation, granted it still has a hefty price tag. Many new jewellery styles developed during the 1920’s, in previous years jewellery had been delicate and dainty, but this was a time for statement pieces. Art Deco is one of the most easily recognisable styles, using geometric shapes, strong lines and colour to create that characteristic streamlined finish. With new cuts to the clothes, fresh accessories were needed to follow suit. Hence the long necklaces to mirror drop waists, with women cutting their hair short lobes were visible to show off drop earrings. Another big jewellery style influence of the decade was archaeologist Howard Carter, with the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb Egyptomania swept the country and ancient Egyptian style trinkets became all the rage.
Lotus topped columns from an ancient Egyptian temple
So if you were to choose something like these stunning Green + Benz diamond and pearl earrings, you would be wearing the influence of the 1920s. Topped with florets inspired by ancient Egyptian lotus, a cascade of gems with a huge drop pearl is undoubtedly art deco. You might be closer to the daring Daisy Buchanan than you think!
Ungar & Ungar’s Duchess earrings from Green + Benz
By Pearl Westwood (@pearlwestwood)
1. Original Flapper Girls – www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/13/calories-and-corsets-louise-foxcroft-review
3. Egyptian Temple – http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/207402