The twenties were a pivotal time for the world of fashion and entertainment. They marked a move away from traditional values and paved the way for the opulent as people had more disposable income than ever. The age of the flapper was born.
And until 15th January 2017, you can waft around Bermondsey’s answer to the V&A, watching black and white silent movie clips and wistfully sighing at the 150+ garments on display – including a dress worn by Carey Mulligan for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.
The exhibition elegantly documents the shifting waistlines and hemlines over the decade whilst providing the social reasons behind the iconic era. It explores, for example, how the Great War sparked a wave of women entering the workforce, practicing sport and exercising this new-found freedom, ushering in a new style of more androgynous dress. And it’s still prevalent now, manifested on the runways in slouchy drop waists, phosphorescent beading and sleek, chin-skimming bobs.
A gallery boasting the work of prolific twenties celebrity photographer, James Abbe (whose muses included the likes of Gilda Gray, The Dolly Sisters and Louise Brooks), closes the exhibition but not before drawing together the whole essence of the indulgent era – fashion, dance, film and literature.
A pilgrimage is a must, but be warned – by the time you get out you’ll be lusting after a feather headpiece and some silk pajamas (wear together for some serious style points) whilst feverishly trying to think of an excuse to throw a Gatsby-themed party.
[Photograph: Fashion and Textile Museum]
tmrw club is open for 2017. Click here.
Words by Tilda Bywater