All That Jazz
In the exhibition, “A Rakish History of Men’s Wear,” I tackled the issue of music as a key factor in the development of street fashion. Twentieth century casual sportswear took many cues from hip hop. If you walk the short round through “Art Deco Design: Rhythm and Verve,” you’ll find you don’t want to escape from the twelve-minute tape loop of music in the gallery.
Therein lies a genuine clue. The toe-tapping quality of 1920s syncopation filtered right into the realm of fashion. Jazz babies, flappers—their garments go with the beat of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Milton Ager, and Jimmy Johnson. There’s an irrepressible quality to the various dances of the period, whether the Black Bottom, Texas Tommy, or the Charleston. Even the musicals that many of these songs were derived from have expressive titles: “Girl Crazy,” “Runnin’ Wild,” and Lady, Be Good!” If you want an honest background to the role of popular music, here is one choice among many. One of the most revisionist studies available is a British history, From blues to rock.
Imagine my delight when I discovered a blog with ambitions as big as the music of the times. Octavine Illustration: Celebrating Art Deco, Travel, Music, Illustration, Handmade Craft & Calligraphy aspires to recreate images and ideas from the Art Deco style. Cara Buchalter deserves kudos for creating a living, active dreamspace.