For those stunned by the glamour of the era and the charm of art deco, and those who wish they could live in the times when the fashion started slowly transiting into less oppressive for women, Fashion and Textile Museum presents the collection that would make even Daisy Buchanan jealous.

1920 jazz age exhibition james abbe
Norma Talmadge, 1922. © James Abbe Archive

Opening this Friday, The 1920 Jazz Age exhibition focuses on sparkling and shimmering trends from 1919 to 1929. Compiling ready-to-wear and haute-couture pieces from the fashion capitals like Paris, Hollywood, London or New York, it reflects the allure of the period following the First World War – and showcases how new silhouettes and styles of clothes were introduced.

The display will consist of over 150 garments, and it’s everything that the main heroine of Great Gatsby, or perhaps Virginia Woolf would wear to tea or past her bedtime: the collection includes signature for the era fringed and beaded flapper dresses and evening wear, printed day dresses, silk pyjamas or modern sportswear with accessories.

The 1920 Jazz Age will also help understand the role of fashion catalogues and magazines for all of the fashionable ladies of the period – featuring the illustrations by Gordon Conway from the Illustrated London News Archive at Mary Evans and photographs by Abbe, Beaton, Man Ray, and Baron de Meyer.

the 1920 jazz age exibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum
Gordon Conway from the Illustrated London News Archive, © Mary Evans

Fashion and Textile Museum offers also a tour to explore the facts and curiosities behind the exhibition items. On the opening day, there is a chance of joining a tour that will give the audience a peek at the background of fashion in the 20s: at 11.30 am and 2pm you can join the guide for a complimentary tour around the display. If you’re not able to join in during the opening day, there will be a chance of being toured around the items every Wednesday and Thursday at 1pm.

Alongside the exhibition, a handful of events will bring Roaring Twenties back to life. Make a note in your calendar for An Air of Abandon – 1920s Hair and Beauty, a talk by beauty experts Caroline Cox and Maggie Norden who will tell the visitors more about the rituals of modernist ladies (20th October 2016), Art Deco Architecture in London talk by Yannick Pucci (30th September 2016), and Jazz Age Gin Tasting (17th November 2016).


Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF. Exhibition opens on the 23rd of September and will be available until the 15th of January 2017, Tuesdays to Saturdays (11am–6pm), Thursdays until 8pm, Sundays until 5pm. Prices (exhibition): £9.90 adults, £7.70 concessions, £6 students, children under 12 can see it for free.

Kasia Kwasniewska

Editor in Chief

Loves reading, watching films, eyeing (and producing) good design, listening to music and stuffing her face with chocolate whenever the opportunity arises. Cooks from time to time, and drinks far too much coffee to be a normal human being. Liked my work? Buy me a coffee!

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