At this point everyone should have seen the grandiose trailer for the remake of the film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, the Great Gatsby. The sneak preview entices the viewer to experience this Hollywood Babylon, the fantastical, party-fueled world of the 1920s American dream. Ok, so maybe the Kanye West and Jay Z song at the start of the trailer was a bit anachronistic, but the message in their track ‘No Church in the Wild’ fits amidst Gatsby-esque debauchery and the lack of rules that manifests itself in response to the pursuit of upper-class ideals.
As Kanye West himself, Gatsby is a style maven of sorts, who can forget the section of the book where Gatsby recklessly tears through his collection of finely tailored English shirts? Despite this break down of the highbrow sartorial status that Gatsby possesses, the novel does speak volumes for style. One can only imagine the guests at Gatsby’s gold coast home, dressed to the nines, enjoying cocktails and living as if in a dream going from one fete to the next. There is something romantic about this ideal; perhaps the fact that it never is actually attainable makes it all the more interesting.
According to economic trends, as prosperity grows women’s hemlines get shorter, a sign of the times notable in the 60s and parts of the 90s, but perhaps most iconically in the 20s. Flappers were free and scandalous, and soon stylistic mavens for a new sort of philosophy and way of dressing. With their decadent, almost baroquely beaded dresses, kitten heels, short haircuts, and long strands of pearls, these women were a shock to the older set who had never known anything but conservative dressing.
For fall 2012 designers looked to several past influences to incorporate inspirationally into their collections. As women now have a permanent and powerful place in the workplace, dressing for success is all the more commonplace. [thanks 80s!] A long way from the flapper’s evening gown, the power suit is yet another signet of how dressing expresses the place of women in society. Just because women are now working, doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. Hey, supermodel Anja Rubik is editor in chief of her own erotica themed fashion magazine; girls can basically do what they please!
It seems as if these two stylistic elements have forged together creating a meta-moment for eveningwear. Shoulder pads, sequins, mini dresses, and bright colors. The night cat of 2012 is essentially a product of the flapper of the 1920s and the power-suit wearing corporate lady of the 80s.
The trend can be spotted at celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe’s Fall New York show, Ralph Lauren, Reem Acra, Philosophy di Alberta Feretti among other designers.
What’s better than a cocktail dress that is footloose, fancy free and a bit nostalgic? Everyone is going to have to see the Great Gatsby film, if not simply for Leo Dicaprio, see it for the set design, the social gatherings and of course the clothes! Fashion icons Gemma Ward and Carey Mulligan play elegant 20s chicks and the harrowing storyline aside, it definetly looks to be a visual treat. Just try to catch on to the message that Gatsby gives off about appearances, the American dream, extravagance, and holding things in high esteem.
Dust off an old copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic and enjoy some beach reading this Memorial Day weekend, plus gain some style inspiration via good old-fashioned escapism. Plus, you’ll feel beyond cultured when you actually understand Fitzgerald’s view and message beyond the dapper characterization brought to life by the ever-alluring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.