Bold Colors…Exotic fabrics…shorter hemlines; 1920's fashion tells the story of a modern woman, one who was just given the right to vote and could earn her own money in a post WWI economy.
Phoenix Art Museum's "Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920's" gives us a glimpse at this complex and exciting era.
We can thank Madame Coco Chanel for simplified cuts; her groundbreaking designs allowed women to move freely and lead a more active lifestyle.
"She was a sportswoman and she designed things that the modern woman could drive automobiles in, go on planes in," said Dennita Sewell, curator of fashion at Phoenix Art Museum.
You only need to look at fashion icons like Kate Middleton to see that many 1920's styles have stood the test of time.
For example, pleat designs are actually something were seeing on the runways. Gucci's Spring 2012 collection featured pieces from their archives exemplary of the 1920s, along with Ralph Lauren, who frequently draws forward this exuberant and modern period.
"This section represents the influence of art and exoticism in fashion in the 1920s. England and France were great colonial powers, influences were coming from China, Africa and other exotic cultures," said Sewell.
The exhibit features undergarments that would make any woman from the 1920's blush.
"The simpler styles required much simpler undergarments than the days of the petticoats and corsets of the bell epoch," said Sewell. "These teddies and corsets were considered quite scandalous and controversial when they were introduced."
The exhibit challenges the idea that the 1920's was simply a time of speakeasies and jazz. From flamboyant monkey hair hats, to streamlined chiffon dresses, these fashions show us that the 1920's woman was independent, energetic and free; traits that will NEVER go out of style.