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1920’s Evening Dresses – Photographs

Here’s some extraordinary evening gowns from the 1920’s. Enjoy and have a lovely week!

Evening dress, Flatow and Schädler, ca. 1927. Crepe de Chine with velvet, chiffon, and gold lamé.
Evening dress, Flatow and Schädler, ca. 1927. Crepe de Chine with velvet, chiffon, and gold lamé.
Evening Dress, Vogue (Paris) December 15, 1920
Evening Dress, Vogue (Paris) December 15, 1920
Les Modes (Paris) May 1921
Les Modes (Paris) May 1921 “Venus” Robe du Soir par Lucien Lelong

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Madeleine Vionnet, Dancer Irene Castle, 1922
Madeleine Vionnet, Dancer Irene Castle, 1922
A model wearing an evening dress at the 'Lucille' fashion parade at Hyde Park Hotel.
A model wearing an evening dress at the ‘Lucille’ fashion parade at Hyde Park Hotel.
Dress by Lucille, 1923
Dress by Lucille, 1923

See more here and here.

1920’s Dresses Pt. 2

EVENING DRESSES

During the 1920’s, lavish evening gowns became an obvious symbol of the wearer’s wealth and social standing. Made of luxurious fabrics such as velvet, satin, crepe de chine, or silver and gold lamé, glittered with rhinestones, even fluttered with fringe. Formal evening gowns would have been appropriate attire for balls, the opera, the theatre, elegant dinner parties, and upscale restaurants. (1)

Real vintage 1920's dresses from metmuseum.org
Real vintage 1920’s dresses from metmuseum.org

Gowns were designed in the basic shape of a sleeveless tube, either deep U- or V-shaped necklines or high-cut, wide, boat-style necklines. After about 1926, plunging necklines were cut not into the fronts but into the back of gowns, and women sometimes draped long necklaces of beads or faux pearls down their exposed backs. (1)

Actress Alden Gay wearing an evening dress by Chanel, 1924. Photographed by Edward Steichen.
Actress Alden Gay wearing an evening dress by Chanel, 1924. Photographed by Edward Steichen.

During the late 1920’s, French designer Madeleine Vionnet pioneered dress design using the “bias cut” (a term used to describe fabric cut on the diagonal) to soften the severe angular shapes of fashionable dresses. Bias-cut skirts, collars and sleeves fell in delicate folds and clung gracefully to a woman’s figure. (1)

Edward Steichen, Madeleine Vionnet dress, 1929
Edward Steichen, Madeleine Vionnet dress, 1929

There were enthusiastic crazes for new kinds of dance music like the tango and the Charleston from the 1910’s onwards. Dancers reveled in the upbeat sound of this new music, and the 1920’s came to be known as the “roaring twenties”, or the “jazz age”. Garments with materials shown off to their full effect by dance movements, such as sequins and fringes, became very popular. (2)

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The exoticism of the 1920’s was influenced by the many cultures that had reached Western Europe: Orientalism that had continued from the 1910’s, an Egyptian style spurred by the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb (1922), and the Mexican craze influenced by Aztec art. (2) Amazing and luxurious exotic evening dresses were the perfect party attire of the decade.

Paul Poiret, evening dress with Egyptian-style motifs, 1923.
Paul Poiret, evening dress with Egyptian-style motifs, 1923.

Please follow link to learn more about 1920’s Day Dresses.

Sources:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne, 2000

(2) Fashion. A History from the 18th to the 20th century by Akiki Fukai, 2006

1920’s Day Dresses – Photographs

Good morning! Please enjoy some of my favourite day dresses pictures from the 1920’s. Have a nice weekend! x

Photo by James Abbe, 1920's
Photo by James Abbe, 1920’s

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Washington, D.C., 1927. "Girls with apples."
Washington, D.C., 1927. “Girls with apples.”

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Circa 1920. Stage and film actress Grace Valentine and her Packard Twin Six roadster.
Circa 1920. Stage and film actress Grace Valentine and her Packard Twin Six roadster.
Flapper Daughter with Mom French real photo postcard, 1920's.
Flapper Daughter with Mom French real photo postcard, 1920’s.

See more here and here.

1920’s Dresses Pt. 1

DAY DRESSES

During the day, stylish women wore afternoon dresses to luncheons, teas, matinees, and daytime dances. Sometimes called “tea-gowns”, these dresses featured long flowing sleeves in the early years of the 1920’s. (1)

A Posh Picnic, c.1926
A Posh Picnic, c.1926

By 1925, though, the afternoon frock had become much more streamlines and slender, with a knee-length skirt and short or fitted sleeves. Afternoon dresses came in a variety of bright colours and varied patterns. Often they were adorned with narrow belts, sashes, bows, or artificial flowers at the dropped waist. (1)

Outfits to be seen in for the racing season, 1928
Outfits to be seen in for the racing season, 1928

In 1926, a stylish addition to afternoon dresses was the “gypsy girdle” – a wide sash fastened over the hips and accented with a clasp studded with rhinestones or other faux jewels. (1)

Vogue - 1926 . by Edward Steichen
Vogue – 1926 . by Edward Steichen

An even more casual element of a woman’s wardrobe was the morning dress, also called the house dress. These informal frocks were usually made of cotton fabric in various striped, plaid, or checked patterns, and women wore them in the home while they did their domestic chores. (1)

House dresses, Sears Catalogue 1922
House dresses, Sears Catalogue 1922

House dresses loosely followed the fashion of more formal dresses, and by 1925, they were shorter and slimmer than they had been before. Mail order catalogues featured page after page of these house dresses, which indicated they were popular and necessary component of a middle-class woman’s wardrobe. The 1927 Sears catalogue even featured an entire wrapround fronts that could be reversed when they became soiled. Needless to say, were not the kinds of dresses typically seen in up-scale fashion magazines of the day. (1)

Please have a look at my 1920’s skirts post to learn more about the 1920’s hemline.

Source:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne, 2000

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