When I say ‘1920s style’ I don’t mean full-skirted dresses like this.
|1925 Callot Soeurs dress|
I mean the archetypal, straight-up-and-down, beaded ‘flapper’ dress.
|Front, side and back views of 1928 silver beaded dress, Alexandre Vassiliev collection|
This is beautiful, but it would be impossible for me to replicate all the sequins and beading. Also, I want something which has movement when I dance in it.
|1920s fringed and beaded dresses, Alexandre Vassiliev collection|
The pink dress has the most amazing long beaded fringe down the front, with three different shades of pink beads, going from pale to dark.
|Long, shaded fringing|
It was my birthday recently, and I was lucky enough to get the book “Fashion” from my mum and dad. Covering 3,000 years of fashion history, this is definitely a ‘tome’; it is massive, and heavy, and absolutely stuffed with illustrations. Happily for this particular project, it has a whole section on 1920s dresses, including the 1925 Edward Molyneux “Reptile” dress, and a detailed double-page spread of a 1925-28 Reville and Rossiter fringed and tasselled dance dress.
Unfortunately, however beautiful long stands of beading look on a dance dress, they can easily get tangled: I once spent the better part of an entire dance show backstage, trying to untangle another dancer’s long-fringed beaded hip belt! So instead of fringing, I’m looking for something which moves, but won’t get tangled, like this.
|Voisin dress, c1925, V&A|
The two dresses below have a similar outline to them, with rows of beaded motifs hanging separately from the main dress, and this is the look I’ve decided to go for.
|1925 beaded dress, Philadelphia Museum|
|1920s Paul Poiret dress, Metropolitan Museum of Art|
I’ll base the pattern on the 1925 dress in Janet Arnold’s “Patterns of Fashion: Volume 2”, not that there is a lot of complicated pattern drafting involved.
Finally, I also want an Egyptian theme for the dress, partly to go with my Assuit shawl. There was a craze for Egyptian-inspired designs after discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, so this is in keeping with the period.