Art Deco Fashion

One of the major artistic influences of the 1920s and 30s was Art Deco Fashion.

Click here to buy Art Deco Fashion items at bargain prices

The Paris fashion industry at that time was worth 2.5 billion francs in exports and merited its own pavillion at the Art Deco Expo dedicated to "La Parure", a word which invoked ornamentation and beauty.

Three major Paris couturiers were on the board of organisers, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Paquin and Paul Poiret and they ensured that the displays of fashion, accessories, jewelry and perfumes were a "tour de force" of luxury, refinement and exoticism and earned their place amongst the highest forms of decorative art.

There was a fusion of inspiration between artists, painters and designers. The painter Sonia Delaunay's shop at the Expo displayed fabrics and clothing designs in her dazzling Cubist and geometric motifs. While the fashion designer Paul Poiret decorated three exhibition barges floating on the banks of the Seine with his comfortable Art Deco living spaces.

Fashion by Paul Poiret,Illustrated by Georges Lepape in Les Choses de Paul Poiret,1911. From Wikimedia Commons

The arrival of Serge Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes in Paris in 1909 had transformed French design. The Oriental splendor of Leon Bakst's set and costume designs led to fashion designers such as Paul Poiret introducting the brilliant oranges, bright blues and greens into their increasingly exotic garments.

Evening Coats by Paul Poiret, Illustrated by Paul Iribe in Les Robes de Paul Poiret,1908. From Wikimedia Commons

By 1914, Jean Worth, head of one of the longest-lived haute couture houses in Paris commented that "the sweet reasonableness of the previous generation had been forgotten... It seems to synchronize with the growing restlessness of this age, an age of fast motors and flying machines and feverish craze for excitement and distraction". In esssence, the age of Art Deco Fashion. This outpouring of visual splendour gave rise to a new breed of fashion illustrators such as Charles Barbier, Paul Iribe and Erté who brought the fashion magazine into the realm of fine art.


Magazines such as the Gazette du Bon Ton and Art Gout Beauté were true works of art influenced by the avant-garde painters such as Matisse and fauves, the exoticism of Gauguin and the Japanese prints which had been exhibited in Paris in the 1880s and 1890s. The backdrop to the garments were as important as the clothes themselves and depicted a theatrical world of opulence, luxury and the glamour of Art Deco.

There are lots more pages on this site about the fashions of the 1920s and 1930s including pages on the makeup and accessories of the era. Have a look at the links below, or browse through the tabs on the left hand column. Don't forget to learn about the Bakelite jewelry which was so popular at the time.

Art Deco Compacts

Art Deco Cigarette Cases

Check out my favourite picks of Art Deco Fashion from Ebay USA, UK and Australia. First read my Safe Buying Guidelines and you will have every confidence buying fabulous 1920s and 30s fashion online.






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