As long as I can remember I have had a fascination with the 1920s. This decade was quite an extraordinary period of history. A war had just been won and our country was celebrating, high on easy credit and moonshine. Freud was rediscovering our sexual natures as human beings. Women's fashion was also extraordinary at this time. Skirt hems became so short that they not only exposed the ankle but occasionally even the bare knee. Women tossed aside their corsets and embraced the sensual androgyny of drop-waist gowns and cut their long locks in favor of bobbed hairstyles. They were no less womanly for setting aside these feminine conventions, instead they felt free to embrace their vital sexuality in a way never before seen.
While I was perusing Life According To Celia (the highly enjoyable blog of my former wedding gown client) I came across some images that capture the themes of this era so strongly and beautifully from the book Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston. This work is definitely one I will be adding to my collection.
It is especially fitting now as the last of the Ziegfeld Follies girls, Doris Eaton Travis, passed away just a week ago on May 12, 2010 at the age of 106. She had this to say of being one of Ziegfeld's Girls:
“It was beauty, elegance, loveliness,” Mrs. Travis recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 2005, “beauty and elegance like a French painting of a woman’s body.”