Circa Gatsby….

From the July 1921 issue of "The Designer and The Woman's Magazine"
“The Designer & The Woman’s Magazine” July 1921 @ The Gilded Times

During the summery heat of 1921, Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan were flickers in Fitzgerald’s eyes. His beloved Zelda was pregnant for most of that year. Undoubtedly by this time in July, she had started to yearn for the days when she could again fit into the silky, slinky attire such as what appeared in this fashion magazine from that year.

According to more than one account, Zelda Fitzgerald liked gold colored dresses….

“There is a tendency for longer skirt lengths…”

Those words in the caption to this fashion illustration address the glowing gold frock, to the far right. That new length was the latest fashion criteria for that year, the caption reads.

It was advised to follow sage Parisian style and simply add a longer, top layer to dresses. A matching tunic made from four, hand-embroidered panels would do the trick. It should reach several inches below the skirt’s hemline, and therefore satisfy trending lengths that were both en flux and de rigueur around that time.

“A bit of embroidery makes all frocks chic, even in so simple a design as this.”

The tunic’s leaf motif was executed eyelet fashion. The raised silk floss embroidery outlined many peekaboo holes. Instructions were given at the back of this magazine as to exactly how to do the hand embroidery at home.

All three designs in this illustration were made from silk crêpe de Chine or shantung. Cotton is mentioned as a possibility, but only in passing…and with a bit of a sniff.

It was the sheer, silk georgette blouse, worn by the model to the far left in the illustration, that made that ensemble come together. This was a seductive yet “practical summer mode.”

“The colors selected frequently make this combination suitable for the formal affairs of summertime.”

Accessories were equally divine with an embroidered, silk sun umbrella, bakelite bangles and creative, couture hats.  The shoes were all dyed to match the tunic’s embroidery, or the colors of the dresses.

The golden dress is topped off with an ear tickling cloche. No, it’s not fur. The hat was entirely covered with the down taken from a black swan. Ahh, these were the dresses ripe for Daisy….

“Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. “They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the think folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.”

 Chapt 5, pp 118-119 “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Original text & photographs ©2014 Julia Henri
Please use citations and references to The Gilded Times.

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The Gilded Times

Journalist. Photographer. Illustrator.

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