Phoenix Art Museum Brings Back 1920s Fashion

The Ellman Fashion Design Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum has an exciting new exhibition opening this month. "Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920s" begins Sept. 22, 2012, and will be on view through Feb. 10, 2013.


The “Roaring Twenties” have long been represented by Hollywood as an era of feathered headbands and short, beaded dresses. This exhibition represents another story, one of elegance, grace, sophistication and innovation for modern clothes in a new era of freedom and individualism. Shorter hemlines, simplified construction and fluid fabrics were an indication of American cultural changes.


The gilded-leather, silk satin shoe featured above was made by a Parisian manufacturer Bottier and is part of the museum's permanent collection.


Dresses designed by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in the 1920s


According to Denita Sewell, curator of Fashion Design at Phoenix Art Museum, the designs of that time were not only incredibly elegant, but established the beginning of modern fashion. “The elegance of the period still informs how we dress todaym” Sewell says.


Modern Spirit features well-known fashion icons such as Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet and Jean Patou, as well as lesser known designers such as Natcha Rambova, who first began as a costume designer and is best known as the wife of film legend Rudolph Valentino.


The exhibition will include more than 40 individual ensembles ranging from evening wear to daytime couture and lingerie, as well as a flood of accessories including handbags, jewelry and shoes.


Photos courtesy of the Arizona Costume Institute



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