Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New post for the FT: Art Deco

My latest blog for the FT's How To Spend It is on Art Deco jewellery. Researching this particular topic was an absolute delight and as I was writing, thousands of images sprang to mind. The following pictures act as a kind of illustrated appendix to my original blog for the FT. 

Oil paintings by Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka, whose 'soft cubism' style of painting became strongly associated with Art Deco:

The Sleeper, 1932

Portrait of Madame M, 1930

The dramatic shadows and contours of her paintings continue to inspire fashion today: 

Cutler & Gross look book

The artist at work. Note the outfit!

The silk gowns of Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès were very popular at the time. Their bias-cut designs created a new, liquid silhouette. Their dresses were worn by Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. 

Two Vionnet gowns, 1930

Madame Grès gown, Vogue 1933

Maggy Rouff gown with smoked crystal cuff, 1934

Lelong gowns, c.1930s

Accordion-pleated gown, c.1930s

Marlene Dietrich

Joan Crawford

Tallulah Bankhead

Jean Harlow

Claire Trevor

Carole Lombard

Clark Gable & Constance Bennett 

Rita Johnson

Betty Grable

Everett Marshall & Dolores del Rio 

Dolores in a sequin gown

I visited the Bentley & Skinner shop on Piccadilly to look at their selection of Art Deco jewellery. My wire-haired dachshund came along for the ride, although she went to sleep as soon as the sparklers came out for a closer inspection. Obviously not as much as a magpie as her owner! 

In-house jewellery experts Rachel Warner and Amanda Frost had kindly pulled out a beautiful edit of their most striking pieces, including this brooch by Cartier: 

Art Deco brooch by Cartier 

You can view this brooch in their online boutique by clicking on this link. I also spotted some beautiful Art Deco engagement rings at Bentley & Skinner, including this very unusual diamond plaque and black enamel ring. 

The Great Gatsby has inspired an entire collection at Tiffany & Co, with models draped in sublime 1930s-inspired gowns:

Liu Wen for Tiffany & Co

An exhibition of Art Deco make-up boxes and miniature clutch purses - mini-audières or nécessaires - opens at Goldsmiths Hall at the end of this month. A book accompanies the display, 'Ultra-vanities: Bejewelled make-up boxes from the age of glamour' by Meredith Etherington-Smith. 

We have an exquisite Art Deco-inspired dress currently in stock at Juno Says Hello. Floor-length black tulle embellished with thousands of crystals. To view this gown in our online boutique, please click here. To browse our range of Art Deco dresses, follow this link

Dress from Juno Says Hello 

Dietrich was famous for her beautiful hands

Loretta Young

Miriam Hopkins

Crawford as Letty Lynton, 1932

Kitty Carlisle

Dorothy Lamour

Lilyan Tashman with her pals

The heroine of the age: Greta Garbo

Garbo nursing a Chambord martini

Jean Harlow in fur, satin and diamonds

Irene Dunne

A young Lucille Ball, c.1930s

To read my FT blog on Art Deco gems, please click on this link

The adventuresses of the 1930s were every bit as glamorous as the movie stars. I've just finished reading Beryl Markham's autobiography, West With The Night. One of the most fascinating women of the era, Beryl was the first woman to fly solo from across the Atlantic from east to west. 

As well as a pioneering aviatrix, Beryl was the first female racehorse trainer in Africa.  She married three times and had an affair with the son of George V.  Hemingway was so envious of her writing in West With The Night that he said 'I am completely ashamed of myself as a writer'. Her description of flying through the African skies at night made me wish I was a pilot. If you're looking for a holiday read - or simply escapism - this is the book. 

My next post will be on something much noisier than jewellery - vintage motors. Mercury Cougars, Mercedes SL 280s, Thunderbird Convertibles and the incredible women who drove them. Buckle up... 

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