1920s Jazz Age Fashion and Photographs

Things to do, Exhibitions
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1920s Jazz Age Fashion and Photographs

The 1920s, neatly bookended by horror and catastrophe, was actually a pretty nice time – as long as you weren’t poor of course. It marked a seismic shift in the social status of women, and this change in women’s lifestyles is brought perfectly into focus if you look through a sartorial lens. New styles of dress were designed not just on fashion’s whim – ‘it’s all about the ankle, darling’ – but because social change demanded it. Structured as a day in the life of a (very busy) 1920s woman, with prettily painted backdrops behind the mannequins, this exhibition puts clothes in context; a crisp white tennis outfit shows how active women were becoming, and dresses with fringing to exaggerate movement highlight the importance of dance. Women in the ’20s were outward-looking; Chinoiserie jade-green beading and dragon-embroidered PJs show society’s fascination with the Far East, as do the Japonisme landscape scenes on a devoré evening coat.

Fashion gives us snapshots of history: fur was made stylish in the UK by Russian immigrants, so an ermine-trimmed coat is as much about refugees fleeing revolution as it is glamour. And sequins were made popular because they looked like the gold coins found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, unearthed in 1922. Described by curator Dennis Nothdruft as the ‘decade of accessories’, handbags were vital and not just to dance around in the jazz club: it was the first time that young women had a real sense of freedom, leaving behind their constraining Edwardian homes, which meant that they needed something to schlep their lippy and fags around in.

It’s a dense show about a complex decade, but happily a lot of it can be communicated via the medium of some stunningly beautiful garments. Miriam Bouteba


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An enthralling ensemble of the pure elegance of the 1920s decade during the Jazz Age of the 20s through the fashion and the beauty of the photographs at The Fashion and Textile Museum.

The Fashion and Textile Museum has never let me down with their exhibitions. I find them to be the one of the best inspirational museums for their use of fashion and textile.

This exhibition hasn't let me down, I absolutely fell in love with it the minute I started to see the garments on display.

It was related to the flappers of the 20s.

I also saw garments that were by Miuccia Prada, if I am not mistaken, they were the garments used for 'The Gatsby' film which also reminds me of the 1920s jazz age where women were free and knew how to have the best time of their lives. They knew how to party. This was the decade where opulence was the true beauty of inspiration. The silhouettes were almost an outrage during this decade. The looser fitting dresses, the higher hemlines of the skirts and the corsets were a no more elegant item.

To me this exhibition showcased the best of women's 1920s fashion and how they presented themselves to the society.

They were allowed to be free, to be themselves and wear a much comfortable silhouetted outfit. Luxurious, glamorous frocks filled the gallery space of the exhibition.

It was rather boyish in my eyes. It had the straighter lines, less structure and form of the women's body.

Women were able to move in a way where they could wear an androgynous robe and still look feminine.

It was all rather pretty and decorative, but it also had its enchantment side to the more evening garments where flare was a must.

Women were definitely free and they did dance a lot. The garments showcase that thoroughly in the exhibition.

Thinking about that, the 1920s was an absolute blast for fashion. It definitely was a decade of huge movement, whether it being in the garments, in the photography or even in the people. It was an unforgettable era, where women changed the world for a very good reason.

With this in mind, this decade in some way changed the way women dressed. They were able to wear what their heart contented. The elaborate collection of accessories are truly phenomenal. All of the tiniest details are incredibly important in this exhibition, the handwork involved in the garments are beautiful.

My most favourite year of the 1920s if I was to choose would possibly be 1925. That was when Gabrielle Chanel came into the picture and created the three piece suit. That fit on the body was an exquisite cut.

The hemlines of the skirt were below the knee during this time. That was a key inspiration for me in my work.

Experience the era for yourself in this captivating exhibition.

Enter and let yourself be free.


Love MD.


If you’re looking for something to do over the Christmas period that doesn’t involve a) devouring a tin of Roses whilst avoiding the coffee creams, b) estranging yourself from your siblings as day 3 of the Monopoly game kicks in or c) watching every Christmas special that’s ever been recorded through eyes gently glazed over with Baileys, then dust off your outdoor shoes, crack open the front door and head down to Bermondsey where the 1920’s Jazz Age Exhibition is currently running until January 15th 2017.

This is a lovely little exhibit in a sweet little museum that I’d never been to before but will definitely be checking out again. Nowhere near as impressive in stature as the V&A – a place I could happily live in TBH – but still boasting a fantastic space filled with gorgeous outfits and accessories, this is a show for anyone who ever felt they were more ‘House of Elliot’ than ‘House of Kardashian’. With over 150 pieces of clothing on display as well as photos & magazines, you’ll get a glimpse into how the women of 20’s lived and what they wore to weddings, dance clubs & the beach amongst other things as their style evolved dramatically. FYI, I’ll fight you for the dark gold lame drop waist gown and the baby blue day dress, both of which I’d wear without question today!

The museum is open until 8pm on Thursdays making it the perfect, post work, pit stop with a girlfriend and the tickets are less than £10 making it ever so slightly bargainous especially for the new year when everyone makes a resolution to do more in the city they live whilst discovering simultaneously how poor they actually are! We have a reputation in this city as possessing the best museums & galleries in the world and I truly believe it’s important to support the slightly smaller ones as well as the bigger ones – I’d urge you to pay this place a visit before the 20’s pass you by.


This is a really delightful exhibition, with some good displays of clothing and wonderful vintage photographs and artefacts. I was taken on a lovely journey of the jazz age and learned quite a lot about the period and how it influenced the fashions and fabrics of that time.

I felt it was particularly information (I always have a lot of questions!) and I found that everytime I posed a question (to my friend.....), I found the answer on the next panel......this made me very happy.

A great exhibition, however I do think it's quite a niche subject matter, so I think they'd be best off lowering the entrance price to encourage more people to drop in - at least off-peak during the week. We were practically the only people in there on a Tuesday afternoon. With so many exhibitions happening in London, many of them free, plus this not being on the main thoroughfare, I would say that the entry price is too high.