If you haven’t read my previous post on Erté, a famous Art Deco artist and fashion designer, feel free to poke around! Art Deco is a style of art originally from France from after World War I in the 1920s up until before the outbreak of the second World War in the 1940s. If you only think of flapper dresses when thinking about the 20s, think again! Art Deco is characterized by lots of ornamentation, vivid colors, and machine inspired geometric patterns. People at the time took great pride and faith in their technological progress.
Below, you’ll find fashion illustrations from the time period in that style drawn by other notable artists.
Source: Art Deco Design Times
In 1922, a magazine called Flapper published the “Flapper Dictionary” and included Cosmo Hamilton’s definition of a flapper as having “a jitney body and a limousine mind.” A jitney was a cheap five cent ride, and limousines, we all know what those represent! Flapper magazine would at least be the most outspoken supporter for the flapper lifestyle at the time, but even they were aware of the reality—that flappers sold their bodies. It could be argued that the ability to sell your own body is part of a woman’s power, but at the same time it cheapens sex and your body as something you can put a number on.
Romain de Tirtoff, commonly known as Erté (from his initials, R.T.) was well known in the modern world of the 1920s for his art deco designs applied to jewelry, film sets, and fashion. Art deco is characterized by lots of geometric shapes and bold patterns. which is what I was really into when I had an 80s outfit kick about a year ago! The modern era, largely in contrast with the punk and grunge years, was mostly about depicting wealth and affluence through artistic works. As you will see below, these women look like they are superstars (some of them below are named after mythical gods even). Here are a few of my favorites from this Russian-French artist’s costume portfolio: