Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Jazz Age - Dressing the Part (4)

"Skyscrapers, fast-moving cars, and carefree amusements defined the post-war era. Tired of war and all that it demanded, a cult of gaiety and youth reigned in American society. Gone was the sobriety of wartime. American women looked to Zelda Fitzgerald as the definitive "flapper," Clara Bow and Louise Brooks of the silver screen as "modern," sexually free women. The amusements which had been slightly disreputable before the war — jazz, Freudian theories, makeup, and movies — were now mainstream. Women could vote, pursue careers, and openly assert their sexuality for the first time. They were entering the "Jazz Age" in which "la femme moderne" rejected the prevailing social restrictions over women, their activities, and their fashion. The now old-fashioned Godey’s Lady’s Book indignantly responded that this was evidence that the country needed the corset "physically, fashionably, and morally."

Gabrielle Chanel was the first fashion designer to assert that women could be comfortable and still look stylish in the workplace. She created a revolution by introducing "working-class clothes" into elite society. The "working girl" was glamorized as a woman financially, socially, and sexually independent. Catering specifically to women’s call for simplicity in dress, Chanel cut easy-care fabrics (serge, jersey, and tweed) with straight lines to create a look of understated elegance. American designers copied Chanel’s easily-reproduced styles and sold them in department stores everywhere. High fashion had become fully democratized. Both wealthy and working class women appropriated Chanel’s "look" of informality sporting raglan coats and costume jewelry."

***Fonte de informacao.: PBS

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