The 21st century take of the shimmer, shine and glamour of the 1920s style is definitely my favourite trend to appear from S/S 2012 collections. As a student of history the roaring twenties is one of my favourite eras. It was the prosperity decade defined by a rise in consumerism, technological breakthroughs and the growth of the entertainment industry. The sophisticated 'flapper girl' became the new woman of the decade and with the new woman came a new style. The striking, drop waist feminine dresses teamed with lace, sequins and pearls gave the new woman a dark and mysterious edge.
It seems that 2012 is all about the revival of 'The Golden Age' in cinema with another Great Gatsby movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and also in the return of the silent movie with the release of 'The Artist', a period piece set in 1927, directed by Michel Hazanvicius. The fashion world too, has embraced this revival seen in S/S 2012 collections of Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti and Marc Jacobs. Each individual collection celebrated the Gatsby decade, awash with both twenties and thirties influences from design gurus such as Gabrielle Channel, Madeleine Vionnet and Callot Soeurs.
In 1974 when Ralph Lauren was a new company, Mr Lauren designed the costumes for The Great Gatsby film. Almost 40 years later, Mr Lauren has revisited the 1920s and designed a modern day collection for Daisy Buchanan, a character from the F Scott Fitzgerald classic.
Like most other designers, Ralph Lauren ditched the staple black colour of the twenties flapper dress for pastel colours more favourable to spring, particularly baby pink, turquoise and daffodil yellow. The collection kept the fur bowas, throws and cloche hats of the decade whilst adding a modern edge with platform wedges, palazzo trousers and suit detail in certain items.
All in all, the Ralph Lauren collection stays pretty true to the decade. Though I do adore certain items of the collection, particularly the floaty white drop waist dress with silver detailing at the neck and waistline, the fact that the collection sticks almost too rigidly to the clothing of the twenties gives it less edge and definition. The Ralph Lauren collection in many ways is almost a regurgitation of the clothing made for the 1974 film when the label was in it's teething stage.
Gucci's creative director, Frida Giannini, is expert in creating wearable but edgy collections that evoke that effortless glam rock feel that we all associate with the label and this twenties inspired collection does just that. Giannini stays true to the colours of the flapper clothing in the period with black, white and gold dominating the collection and also to the drop waist style and all important fringing that many of the other twenties inspired collections were missing.
The shimmer and glamour of the period was kept alive in these pieces with beaded and sequined Art-Deco detail, which was enhanced by the addition of fur accessories.
Yet, Gucci left it's signature mark on the twenties inspired collection with the promiscuous and rebellious rock and roll feel in the transparent fringed skirts and neck lines cut to as low as possible. The occasional splash of a bold green in the geometrical shapes on certain items added to the edge and strength of this seductive collection.
Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti is the master of romantic dresses and what better time for a romantic appeal than Spring. The collection kept with the drop waist line and chiffon style of the twenties flapper but took the traditional above the knee length of the flapper dress and extended it with midi to full length dresses. This collection too, unlike that of Gucci, left the dark shimmer of the flapper dress in the twenties and replaced it with floral prints and pastel blue, nude and rose petal pink colours enhancing the springtime romance feel the collection evokes.
Personally I find that, though this collection is beautiful, it is not striking enough in it's interpretation of the flapper look and at times is too subdued for the extrovert style of all the S/S 2012 catwalk trends.
Marc Jacobs too jumped on the bandwagon of the twenties revival with his ultra modern scifi take on the era. His drop waist, often translucent, dresses were fringed with an unusual array of textures from organza, plastic and silicone. It is the type of collection you want to see up close, try on and feel with your own hands.
Jacobs was the most experimental in his revival of the Gatsby decade not only in his use of materials but also colours and accessories. In keeping with the sixties colour blocking of last season, Jacobs collection was filled with clashing electric blue, blood red, gold, emerald green and mustard yellow. The cloche hats were replaced with head wraps and hair bands and the delicate stiletto heels were replaced with large statement, two tone loafers.
This collection marked the return of classic and daring Jacobs tailoring, building on old fashioned pieces with brave 21st century finishing.