I’m reading The House of Eliott at the moment, a story of two sisters in 1920s London who establish their own haute couture fashion house after their father dies and leaves them virtually penniless. It was also a TV series that aired on BBC in the early 1990s, and I remember then as now being completely hooked by both the drama and the clothes.
If I had to choose another era in which to live, based solely on the fashion of the time, it would be the 1920s – the fluidity of silhouette, the accessories (furry stoles, feathered headbands, evening gloves), the intricate embellishments and the cute cropped hairstyles were so chic. Of course, that was if you lived upstairs rather than worked downstairs.
There’s a subtle 1920s thread running through this season’s collections. Stella McCartney injected a hint of flapper-style chic to her runway show in the form of lace camisoles and ankle-length skirts, while Dries Van Noten embraced elbow-length gloves, feathered neckpieces and metallic embroideries. The 1980s may be this season’s strongest sartorial reference point, but if you favour elegance over irony, these twenties-inspired pieces may appeal to you too.
I always associate knife pleats with flapper-style fashion. The metallic blue shade of this Zara skirt adds another layer of retro charm to the piece.
Layer this blush-hued top over a midi skirt and add some navel-length pendant jewellery, and you’ve got a contemporary look that subtly references the sophistication of the twenties.
Although this camel coat is styled in a very urban fashion, picture it with a pleated midi skirt and a faux-fur scarf and you’ll start to see a much more retro look emerge. The slightly cocoon shape is very characteristic of this early twentieth century style. Keep an eye out for overcoats in tweeds and subtle plaids with low V necklines and furry collars.
Holding shot Stella McCartney AW16. Photograph by Jason Lloyd-Evans.