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Flapper Fashion

Sunday, 28 February 2010

flapper fashionIn our time everything is already discovered and invented by someone else, and all we have to do is look for ideas in the past and reinvent them given today's conditions, playing with the ingenious ideas of the great masters. It's no revelation that fashion goes in cycles. And though fashion weeks attract big audience every year, there's no denying the fact that most collections are only recreating fashion trends from earlier periods. 1920s were one of the turning points in the history of fashion which gave 20th century many of its greatest highlights in clothing, jewelry and makeup.

In the 1920s, a new woman was born. She smoked, drank, danced, and voted. She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties. She was giddy and took risks. She was a flapper. The term «flapper» first appeared in Great Britain after World War I. It was there used to describe young girls, still somewhat awkward in movement who had not yet entered womanhood.

The flapper attitude was characterized by stark truthfulness, fast living, and sexual behavior. Flappers seemed to cling to youth as if it were to leave them at any moment. They took risks and were reckless. They wanted to be different, to announce their departure from the Gibson Girl's morals. So they smoked. Something only men had done previously.

Flappers also began taking work outside the home and challenging women's traditional societal roles. They also advocated voting and women's rights. With time came the development of dance styles then considered shocking, such as the Charleston, the Shimmy, the Bunny Hug and the Black Bottom.

Frail and Brave

In addition to their irreverent behavior flappers were known for their style, which largely emerged as a result of French fashions, especially those pioneered by Coco Chanel; and by the effect on dress of the rapid spread of American jazz and the popularization of dancing that accompanied it. Called garconne in French («boy» with a feminine suffix), flapper style made them look young and boyish. Short hair, flattened breasts, and straight waists accentuated the look.

Despite all the scandal flappers generated, their look became fashionable in a toned-down form among even respectable older women. Most significantly, the flappers removed the corset from female fashion, raised skirt and gown hemlines and popularized short hair for women.

The skirt came just an inch below flapper's knees, overlapping by a faint fraction her rolled and twisted stockings. The idea is that when she walks in a bit of a breeze, you shall now and then observe the knee (which is not rouged - that's just newspaper talk) but always in an accidental, Venus-surprised-at-the-bath sort of way.

Strict and Emancipated

The flapper look required heavy makeup in comparison to what had been acceptable. With the invention of the metal lipstick container as well as compact mirrors bee stung lips came into vogue. Dark eyes, especially Kohl-rimmed, were the style. Blush came into vogue now that it was no longer a messy application process.

Originally, pale skin was considered most attractive. However, tanned skin became increasingly popular after Coco Chanel donned a tan after spending too much time in the sun on holiday - it suggested a life of leisure, without the onerous need to work. Women wanted to look fit, sporty, and, above all, healthy.

Boyish cuts were in vogue, especially the Bob cut, Eton crop, and Shingle bob. Finger Waving was used as a means of styling. Hats were still required wear and popular styles included the Newsboy cap and Cloche hat.

Jewelry usually consisted of art deco pieces, especially many layers of beaded necklaces. Pins, rings, and brooches came into style. Horn-rimmed glasses were also popular.

Flappers did away with corsets and pantaloons in favor of «step-in» panties. Without the old restrictive corsets, flappers wore simple bust bodices to make their chest hold still when dancing. Without the added curves of a corset they promoted their boyish look, and soon early popular bras were sold to flatten and reduce the appearance of the bust.

Present day designers occasionally turn to flapper style for inspiration, and the runways of Europe hear the rustling of flappers' short dresses and imagine the era when women went though life to the sounds of jazz holding high their pretty heads with trendy bobs.

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