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August 2015

50 Fabulous Pictures of Women’s Street Style from the 1920s

The High Point of street photography started in the 1920s, bolstered by the introduction of the Leica camera. Photographers let themselves be carried away by the flux of the metropolis with its paradoxical, ambiguous universe, and they photographed freely from the hand. Aesthetics changed: What was accidental, casual, surprising, fleeting, and also trivial in urban events became the subjects of these photographers. The camera served as an extension of their subjective view. (1)

April 21, 1927.
April 21, 1927. “Do ducks swim? Misses Eugenia Dunbar and Mary Moose.” The main focus here is of course the horse trough, once a common item of street furniture in many big cities. National Photo glass negative. Found on shorpy.com
Ladies at the pet shop.
Ladies at the pet shop. Found on artdecogal.com
1920's Greenwich Village Woman Hanging Poster. Found on fantomas-en-cavale.tumblr.com
1920’s Greenwich Village Woman Hanging Poster. Found on fantomas-en-cavale.tumblr.com
Chicago Women Eating Hot Dogs, 1920s. Found on 24hoursinthelifeofawoman.tumblr.com
Chicago Women Eating Hot Dogs, 1920s. Found on 24hoursinthelifeofawoman.tumblr.com
Berlin, 1928. Found on vintag.es
Berlin, 1928. Found on vintag.es
Walker Evans, Girl on Fulton Street, New York, 1929. Found on wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com
Walker Evans, Girl on Fulton Street, New York, 1929. Found on wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com
Budapest, Hungary circa 1928. Found on soyouthinkyoucansee.tumblr.com
Budapest, Hungary circa 1928. Found on soyouthinkyoucansee.tumblr.com
Girl playing Yo-Yo. Berlin 1920
Girl playing Yo-Yo. Berlin 1920s
Scotland, 1926
Scotland, 1926
Ladies noticed the camera and said hi!
Ladies noticed the camera and said hi!

The concept of studio photography was being replaced by shots documenting not only day to day life situations but also the fashions of the decade.

Harlem, 1927
Harlem, 1927
Street scene, Washington, D.C, 1924. Found on loc.gov
Street scene, Washington, D.C, 1924. Found on loc.gov
“Norma Shearer (Mrs. Irving Thalberg).” The Oscar-winning actress at the White House, July 24, 1929. junipergallery Fine-Art Prints by Juniper Gallery
Washington, D.C., 1922.
Washington, D.C., 1922. “Spring fashions at Easter.”junipergallery Fine-Art Prints by Juniper Gallery
1925 Easter Sunday, Washington, D.C. junipergallery Fine-Art Prints by Juniper Gallery
1925 Easter Sunday, Washington, D.C. junipergallery Fine-Art Prints by Juniper Gallery
Two gorgeous, smiling 1920s girls. Found on sydneyflapper.tumblr.com
Two gorgeous, smiling 1920s girls. Found on sydneyflapper.tumblr.com
Two stylish ladies in Milan, Italy, 1929. Found on lombardiabeniculturali.it
Two stylish ladies in Milan, Italy, 1929. Found on lombardiabeniculturali.it
American tourist -  Hôtle Ritz Place Vendôme, Paris 1920s. Collection Roger-Viollet / Lipnitzki. Found on mimbeau.tumblr.com
American tourist – Hôtle Ritz Place Vendôme, Paris 1920s. Collection Roger-Viollet / Lipnitzki. Found on mimbeau.tumblr.com
Jacques Henri Lartigue, Royan 1926. Found on mimbeau.tumblr.com
Jacques Henri Lartigue, Royan 1926. Found on mimbeau.tumblr.com
Mother and daughter, London, 1926. Found on flickr.com
Mother and daughter, London, 1926. Found on flickr.com
1920s Fashion by Puttnam on Getty Images. Found on pleasurephotoroom.files.wordpress.com
1920s Fashion by Puttnam on Getty Images. Found on pleasurephotoroom.files.wordpress.com
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Washington, D.C. 1920s. Found on loc.gov
Young woman with dog, Washington, D.C. Found on loc.gov
Young woman with dog, Washington, D.C. Found on loc.gov

Stylish ladies were featured on fashion magazines and by the 1920s, Parisian Postcard photographers Seeberger Brothers were pioneers in what we call street style photography. They would attend every upper french society events to capture the latest fashions to be published in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Haute Couture designers Chanel, Hermes, Vionnet, etc, rushed to send their models to be photographed by the Brothers at these events.

Day Dresses by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images. Found on hipstersleek.com
Day Dresses by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images. Found on hipstersleek.com
Elegance by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images. Found on hipstersleek.com
Elegance by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images. Found on hipstersleek.com
A black dress tapering in slightly at the hem, including a front panel decorated with tiny pleats. Designed by Jenny. Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
A black dress tapering in slightly at the hem, including a front panel decorated with tiny pleats. Designed by Jenny. Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Jacquet Dresses by Seeberger Freres, 1924 on Getty Images.
Jacquet Dresses by Seeberger Freres, 1924 on Getty Images.
A model wears a wrap over coat with a low-waisted embroidered and tasseled belt, with a fur stole and a cloche hat decorated with a velvet bow, October 1923 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
A model wears a wrap over coat with a low-waisted embroidered and tasseled belt, with a fur stole and a cloche hat decorated with a velvet bow, October 1923 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
1921:  A woman models models the latest fashion of the day in a Paris street by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
1921: A woman models models the latest fashion of the day in a Paris street by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
Eye-catching skirt and sleeves by  Seeberger Freres. Found on smoda.elpais.com
Eye-catching skirt and sleeves by Seeberger Freres. Found on smoda.elpais.com
by Seeberger Freres. Found on smoda.elpais.com
by Seeberger Freres. Found on smoda.elpais.com
Getty imagesCurved Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Curved Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Lacey Fashion by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Lacey Fashion by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Town Fashion by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Town Fashion by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Oriental silk dress by Seeberger Freres.
Oriental silk dress by Seeberger Freres.
Summer Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
Summer Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images.
Wide Brimmed Hat by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Wide Brimmed Hat by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Designer Fashions by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Designer Fashions by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Fashion By Lanvin by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Fashion By Lanvin by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Belted Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Belted Dress by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Free Hanging Dress, 1926 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Free Hanging Dress, 1926 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Mix And Match by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Mix And Match by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Outlandish Hat, 1925 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images
Outlandish Hat, 1925 by Seeberger Freres on Getty Images

Other photographers followed Seeberger Brothers steps documenting the most exquisite fashions at the races and other elite events.

Paris Fashions, 1924 by Topical Press Agency on Getty Images
Paris Fashions, 1924 by Topical Press Agency on Getty Images
Spaarnestad Photo Collection: Life Photos, Daywear, 1926 Auteuil, France. Found on geheugenvannederland.nl
Spaarnestad Photo Collection: Life Photos, Daywear, 1926 Auteuil, France. Found on geheugenvannederland.nl
Found on sydneyflapper.tumblr.com
Found on sydneyflapper.tumblr.com
Paris, 1920s. Found on zamantika.com
Paris, 1920s. Found on zamantika.com
Auteuil, 1925
Auteuil, 1925
Paris, 1920. Found on mashable.com
Paris, 1920. Found on mashable.com
Paris, 1920. Found on mashable.com
Paris, 1920. Found on mashable.com

SOURCES:

(1) The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow Hardcover by Torsten Andreas Hoffmann, 2008

10 Fabulous Pictures of Women’s Hair & Make-Up from the 1920’s

Four beautiful examples of the 1920s Hair and Make-up most fashionable styles.
Four beautiful examples of the 1920s Hair and Make-up most fashionable styles.
Actress Agnes Ayres (Found on fineartamerica.com)
Actress Agnes Ayres (Found on fineartamerica.com)
Pola Negri in the mid-1920s styling a Cocunut Cut. This haircut was a must have for women who preferred the fringe, despite the unflattering name.  (Found on fineartamerica.com)
Pola Negri in the mid-1920s styling a Cocunut Cut. This haircut was a must have for women who preferred the fringe, despite the unflattering name. (Found on fineartamerica.com)
Beautiful portrait of Louise Brooks showing her iconic Bob Cut, 1920s
Beautiful portrait of Louise Brooks showing her iconic Bob Cut, 1920s
African-American beauty styling Marcel Waves, 1920s
African-American beauty styling Marcel Waves, 1920s
Actress Irene Delroy showing dramatic eyebrows.
Actress Irene Delroy showing dramatic eyebrows.
Vienna, Austria - Original caption: 1928 - Josephine Baker getting ready in her dressing room. She is depicted putting on make-up looking into a mirror. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Original caption: Vienna, Austria, 1928 – Josephine Baker getting ready in her dressing room. She is depicted putting on make-up looking into a mirror. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
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Silent film actress Raquel Torres using a lip stencil.
Mary Brian / American actress. Photographed c1925. (Found on fineartamerica.com)
Mary Brian / American actress. Photographed c1925. (Found on fineartamerica.com)
At the soda shop, c.1920s
At the soda shop, c.1920s

1920’s Women’s Hairstyles Pt. 3

While white women worked hard to make their hair wavy or curly, many African-American women worked just as hard trying to make their hair straight. Black newspapers and magazines advertised dozens of special pomades, oils, soaps, shampoos, hot irons, and combs that were intended to help relax and straighten curly or kinky hair. Madam C. J. Walker, the nation’s first black woman millionaire, developed a revolutionary system to soften and straighten black women’s hair around the turn of the century, using a combination of special hair preparations and hot irons. (1)

Vintage advertising for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company’s hair and toilet preparations.
Vintage advertising for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company’s hair and toilet preparations.

In 1906, she founded the Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, and later she established a Harlem-based beautician school called the Walker College of Hair Culture, which claimed to teach its hairdressing students how to straighten kinky hair without using curling irons, and promoted a secret formula that supposedly accelerated hair growth. The Walker Manufacturing Company flourished during the 1920s under the leadership of Madame Walker’s daughter, A’Lelia Walker, one of the richest and most extravagant residents of Harlem during the Jazz Age. (1)

Madam C. J. Walker hairstyling demonstration booth, Chicago, 1920s (Madam C. J. Walker Collection, Indiana Historical Society)
Madam C. J. Walker hairstyling demonstration booth, Chicago, 1920s (Madam C. J. Walker Collection, Indiana Historical Society)

Madame C. J. Walker realised not only that the African-American community represented a virtually untapped consumer market, but also that many black women were attracted to products that promised a more “Caucasian” appearance and, by association, the social acceptance unavailable to those with kinky hair and other so-called “African” features. (1)

SOURCES:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004

1920’s Women’s Hairstyles Pt. 2

The water wave comb was another implement designed to create wavy hair. Wet hair was set with a series of combs, often made of aluminium or celluloid, which gently pushed the hair into waves. A scarf or ribbon was then wrapped around the head to keep the combs in place until the hair dried into soft waves and the combs would be removed. Women also created “finger waves” by applying “finger waving lotion” to their damp hair, then combing and pinching their short tresses into waves with their fingers. Until the damp waves were completely dry, women protected their efforts with delicate nets made of real human hair. (1)

Fingerwaves, 1920s
Finger waves, 1920s

By the late 1920s, “permanent waves” were also available to women willing to undergo the strong chemical treatments. Although women went to great trouble creating curls and waves in their naturally straight hair, short hair was in general a real time saver. Women with long hair might spend several hours a week brushing, washing, drying, braiding and arranging their elaborate hairstyles, but marcelling short bob only took a few minutes every day. (1)

SOURCES:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004

1920’s Women’s Hairstyles Pt. 1

Although popular conceptions of the Jazz Age suggest that every fashionable woman bobbed her hair during the 1920s, some women did keep their hair long. Long-haired women did not customarily wear their hair loose; rather, they pulled it back to the nape of the neck and wound it into a smooth chignon or knot. (1)

Jobyna Ralston, 1920s
Jobyna Ralston, 1920s
Aileen Pringle hairstyle, 1924
Aileen Pringle hairstyle, 1924

Another fashionable style at the beginning of the decade involved coiling long hair into two buns that rested one behind each ear. This hairstyle, known alternately as “earphones” or “cootie garages”, fell out of favour by the mid-1920s. (1)

03
Natacha Rambova, fashion and movie set designer. Cootie Garage hairstyle with headwrap.

However, more enduring was the ubiquitous bob, cut short and straight at about chin-length, which dancing sensation Irene Castle introduced in the United States shortly before World War I. When other celebrities such as French fashion designer Coco Chanel and Hollywood star Louise Brooks also adopted this short, blunt haircut, women across the United States followed suit. (1)

Irene Castle by Edward Thayer Monroe
Irene Castle by Edward Thayer Monroe
Louise Brooks, 1920s
Louise Brooks, 1920s

Many women actually had their hair cut by men’s barbers, since some hairdressers, fearing that short, simple hairstyles would put them out of business, simply refused to shear off women’s long tresses. The bob could be worn with or without bangs, and was often accompanied by side curls plastered to the cheek or by a single curl dramatically set in the middle of the forehead. (1)

 Arlette Marchal, 1920s
Arlette Marchal, 1920s

Around 1923, the standard bob haircut began to evolve into different, even shorter styles. The shingle haircut, or “boyish bob”, tapered to a point at the nape of the wearer’s neck and often featured waves or short curls on the sides. (1)

Mary Astor, 1920's
Mary Astor, 1920’s

The even more radical “Eton crop”, which was trimmed above the wearer’s ears and shaved in the back, appeared in 1926. These streamlined haircuts were perfect for tucking underneath a stylish cloche hat so nothing but perhaps a side curl or two was visible. While young women in their late teens and twenties were the first to engage in the bobbed hair craze, by the end of the decade women of all ages were wearing the convenient and versatile bob. (1)

Eton Crop hairstyle, 1920s
Eton Crop hairstyle, 1920s

“Marcel waves”, as they became known, were a tremendously popular feature of the bobbed haircut. In 1872, Marcel Grateau, a French hairstylist, invented a method by which hair could be curled or waved with the use of curling iron heated on a stove until it was nearly scorching hot. By the 1920s, more convenient electric curling irons and crimpers became available, making it even easier for women to “marcel” their hair into deep horizontal waves that were then fashionable. (1)

This picture shows a step-by-step tutorial on how to make the Marcel Waves, 1920s
This picture shows a step-by-step tutorial on how to make the Marcel Waves, 1920s

SOURCES:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004

1920’s Make-up & Cosmetics Pt. 3

PERFUMES

Controversy also surrounded the use of scent. Single-note floral perfumes were considered respectable – one writer has described Yardley’s lavender water as the ‘only admissible perfume for a lady’ before the Great War. In England, ‘Zenobia’ flower waters sold well: there were thirty different fragrances to choose from. (1)

Yardley's Lavender 1929 Ad.
Yardley’s Lavender 1929 Ad.

But the 1910s and 1920s saw a growing demand for complex oriental compositions that evoked the harem-girl fantasies filling the pages of women’s weeklies, and the dusky charms of Valentino in the desert. Grossmiths’s four mass-market orientals – Phul-Nana, Shem-el-Nessim, Wana-Ranee and Haso-no-Hamma – were sometimes stigmatised as ‘servant girls’ ‘scent’ but proved immensely popular. (1)

1. Phul-nana by Grossmith Ad 2. Shem-el-Nessim by Grossmith Ad 3. Wana-Ranee by Grossmith Ad 4. Haso-no-Hamma by Grossmith Ad
1. Phul-nana by Grossmith Ad 2. Shem-el-Nessim by Grossmith Ad 3. Wana-Ranee by Grossmith Ad 4. Haso-no-Hamma by Grossmith Ad

In 1923 they added a fifth fragrance, Tsang-Ihang, to this exotic-sounding range. Boots the Chemists added Nirvana and Bouquet d’Orient to the floral scents of its successful Madame Girard et Cie collection. The more up-market perfumers joined in. (1)

Tsang-Ihang by Grossmiths Advertisement, 1923
Tsang-Ihang by Grossmiths Advertisement, 1923

Turkish and amber perfumed cigarettes were also fashionable in the 1920s: advertisements represented these as signifying a mysterious, seductive quality in the daring sophisticates who smoked them. Perfumes such as Caron’s Tabac Blond (by Ernest Daltroff, 1917) and Chanel’s Cuir de Russie ( Ernest Beaux, 1924) played on associations between femininity, tobacco and leather. Another facet of modernism was apparent with the introduction of Chanel No.5 in 1921. (1)

1920s Chanel no. 5 Advertisement.
1920s Chanel no. 5 Advertisement.

There were no overt references to flowers here: Chanel herself dismissed any idea that women should smell of roses. The composition (Ernest Beaux) was aldehydic, complex abstract: the packaging square, spare and modern. (1)
SOURCES:

(1) Glamour – women, history, feminism – Carol Dyhouse, 2010

1920’s Make-up & Cosmetics Pt. 2

TANNING

Following the lead of Coco Chanel and other fashion mavens, American women of the mid-1920s also stopped protecting their skin from the sun and instead gloried in deep bronze suntans. A winter tan, in particular, became a prestigious status symbol, indicating that the possessor had both the money and the time to vacation in sunny locations such as California, Florida, or even Italy. Those without much disposable income often had to settle for self-tanning liquids and powders that claimed to achieve the effect of a natural suntan. (1)

The London Sunbathing Society Members of The London Sunbathing Society pose for a photographer in the 1920s.
The London Sunbathing Society Members of The London Sunbathing Society pose for a photographer in the 1920s.
Coty Ad, 1920s
Coty Ad, 1920s

Not all women, however desired a dark skin. Some African-American women spent a great deal of time and money attempting to lighten their skin so it more closely resembled a white complexion. Hundreds of bleaching lotions and other whitening potions were marketed in beauty shops, drugstores, newspapers, magazines, and mail-order catalogues. (1)

Dr. Fred Palmer advertisement, ca 1929 (Chicago Defender)
Dr. Fred Palmer advertisement, ca 1929 (Chicago Defender)

Advertisements for products with suggestive names such as “Black-No-More”, “Fair-Plex Ointment”, and “Cocotone Skin Whitener”, promised (or at least implied) that, with repeated applications, African-American women would be rewarded with an attractive, pale skin tone. (1)

Apex Advertisement, 1929 (Apex News)
Apex Advertisement, 1929 (Apex News)

Not surprisingly, the very idea of skin whiteners sparked intense controversies in African-American communities. While many women, particularly light-complexioned African Americans, bought these oinments and believed the advertisers’ false claims, others spurned these products and vehemently rejected the notion that lightning one’s skin was either desirable or possible. (1)

SOURCES:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004

If you’d like to learn more about these crazy tan trends from the beginning of the 20th Century, I recomend this article CHANGES in SKIN TANNING ATTITUDES Fashion Articles and Advertisements in the Early 20th Century

1920’s Make-up & Cosmetics Pt. 1

MAKE-UP

A key sign of modernity in women was the wearing of cosmetics, particularly lipstick, probably the most significant issue marking the generation gap between mothers and daughters in the 1920s. (1)

Marion Nixon perfects her lipstick c. 1920s
Marion Nixon perfects her lipstick c. 1920s

According to Graves and Hodge in “The Long Weekend”, the fashion spread ‘from brothel to stage, then on to Bohemia, to Society to Society’s maids, to the mill grill, and lastly to the suburban woman’. But it was the influence of the stars of early cinema, Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and their like, which encouraged so many young women to start wearing make-up. Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden were among those who began to capitalise on this new trend. (1)

By the end of the First World War Arden and Rubinstein were already rivals. Both came from necessitous backgrounds, and they shared qualities of social ambition, commercial imagination and a steely determination that underlay their separate global success as entrepreneurs. (1)

Sales of cosmetics soared from $17 million in 1914 to $141 million in 1925. Both Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein managed successful cosmetics empires in the 1920s, marketing their make up and skincare products to a nation of female consumers longing for the last beauty-enhancing invention. (2)

Adolf de Meyer - Advertisement for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics, 1927
Adolf de Meyer – Advertisement for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics, 1927

The cosmetics industry boomed during the 1920s, and thousands of beautician schools and beauty parlours sprang up that sold make-up and face creams, astringents, lotions, and other products guaranteed to preserve or restore the bloom of youth. Prior to World War I, and American woman who visibly wore make-up, or “paint”, as it was often called, was immediately suspected of being immoral – a woman of “easy virtue”. (2)

GRETA GARBO GIF
Gif made by Fascination Street at http://gifmaker.me/

Greta Garbo, playing the part of the siren Felicitas in “The Flesh and the Devil” (1926), touched up her lipstick in church while the priest inveighed against her wicked ways as a woman. To woman raised in the Victorian tradition of ladylike modesty, the wearing of cosmetics was unacceptable. (1)

But during the 1920s, wearing cosmetics became not just fashionable but respectable. Inspired at least in part by the glamorous Hollywood movie stars who painted dark red lipstick on their mouths and applied heavy black mascara to their eyelashes, women of every age began to apply rouge, powder, lipstick, and eye-liner to their faces. They plucked their eyebrows into dramatic arches and then redrew them using eyebrow pencils. They accented their lashes with mascara and reddened their lips into the pouty, “bee-stung” look popularised by Clara Bow and Theda Bara. (2)

Clara Bow
Clara Bow
Theda Bara
Theda Bara

SOURCES:
(1) Glamour – Women, History, Feminism – Carol Dyhouse, 2010
(2) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne and Patrick Huber, 2004

10 Fabulous Pictures of Shoes & Hosiery Fashions from the 1920s.

Amazing 1920s shoes, perfect for dancing!
Amazing 1920s shoes, perfect for dancing!
Edward Steichen for Vogue, April 1925.
Edward Steichen for Vogue, April 1925.
Grete Kolliner- Advert for shoes, Vienna, 1925
Grete Kolliner- Advert for shoes, Vienna, 1925
1920's - High Heels - Black patent shoes, with white straps and heels - Getty Images
1920’s – High Heels – Black patent shoes, with white straps and heels – Getty Images
Stockings rolled down - true flappers!
Stockings rolled down – true flappers!
1926 - amazing work!
1926 – amazing work!
Another beautiful example of 1920s hosiery!
Another beautiful example of 1920s hosiery!
Silk stockings from Bouvier Frères, Les Modes July 1922. Photo by Henri Manuel.
Silk stockings from Bouvier Frères, Les Modes July 1922. Photo by Henri Manuel.
Shoes and stockings, 1921
Shoes and stockings, 1921
Amazing detail! Althoug, the shoes look a bit uncomfortable!
Amazing detail! Although, the shoes look a bit uncomfortable!

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