We're approaching the year 2020 and that got us thinking about the 1920s - the so-called ROARING 20s of nearly a century ago. The industrial age changed everything and farms, lovely estates, royal elites and quiet working classes were replaced with the newly-minted noise of machinery, "motorcars," rowdy rebels who wanted fair wages and suffragettes who wanted to vote. And of course the quiet of the Victorian era was replaced with the horns of the gilded jazz age that led couples to speak easies to drink and do the Charleston. If you've read The Great Gatsby, you know that the characters were smack in the middle of that era. They were posh and had little to do, but drink gin and change clothes and move from one intrigue to the next.
Naturally, wedding gowns followed suit during this new age and stuck to the styles of the day. From the flowing lace, straight sheath style, creative bejeweled head pieces and veils, any dress from this era can easily be picked out of a line up of dresses from other decades.
Art Deco Details
Art Deco was a design that took over every type of art and industry, from textiles to furniture, visual arts to architecture. If you've seen the Chrysler building, you've seen art deco. It's a style that you can spot immediately - like the fashions - once you know what to look for. Tiffany lamps, towering inlays, gold and black in combination and lots of abundant repetition of patterns. Art deco looks architectural even when it's mimicked in fabric or on a poster for cocktails.
Maybe like many of us, you were swept up in the tidal wave that was Downton Abbey, The gowns of the Crawley sisters, all Ladies and the daughters of the fictional Earl of Grantham - were in keeping with this style and they were elegant to say the least. While they were all fashionable in their own way, Lady Mary "carried the day," as it were. Glance at the slideshow above and you'll spot details that can be found in her dresses.
Lace & Baubles
Lace was a big deal not only for wedding gowns but for evening dresses for the upper classes. Cut outs, beadwork, crystals and architectural details in all colors were sewn into gowns. Any transparent spot on a woman's evening gown made it provocative without being overtly naughty.
The Wedding Gowns
These wedding gowns are slightly more demure versions of their bright jazz-age counterparts worn for going out. It's her wedding day, after all. The structure of wedding gowns remained fairly simple and like a column - with no big poofy skirts with hoops underneath. Where brides were able to really shine and show some elegance, personality and imagination, were in the head pieces and veils.
Veils were made into caps, covered with lace, beads, sequins, pearls, tulle and sometimes diamonds. Some brides chose head bands with jewels or flowers and skipped the veil and these pieces made amazing statements as well.
We're in a new century with new views and some new values, but brides will be brides and whether the gown is a throwback to another time or completely new, flashing back to see what came before is a great way to get inspiration.