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Art Deco dressing tables were quite different from those that went before. Although from the 1920s or 1930s, my dressing table is quite a traditional shape, but it has the typical deco walnut veneer which was common in those years. Mine came from the north of England, a bit of a backwater as far as style went, though things were slowly changing. In the highly fashionable cities such as Paris, London and New York, the bedroom was being transformed. The new designs of the 20s and 30s will become the antique dressing tables of the future, so it will be good investment if you pick one up for a good price now.
Dressing table shapes became more geometric and asymmetrical. They might have a stepped form, or a huge round mirror. Fan shaped mirrors became common, as well as geometric patterns etched onto the glass.
But many designers were being even more adventurous. Paul Frankl, of skyscraper furniture fame, made a black lacquered table with chrome trim and a semi-circular mirror. His furniture was aimed at the trendy apartment dwellers who had flocked to live in the high rise Deco icons which had come to dominate the New York skyline. His vintage dressing tables are now extremely expensive and fetch thousands at auction.
Even red dressing tables were highly desirable. These days, mirrored dressing tables are being made, based on Art Deco ideas, which are incredibly over the top and blingy and glamorous.
The skyscraper design by Paul Frankl for dressing tables often involved low drawers with two or three levels, and a tall rectangular mirror. Materials would be gorgeously textured veneers such as maple or sycamore, with perhaps a black enamelled trim. Black ebony veneer would be trimmed with brass or ivory (replaced by Bakelite later on in the 1930s) to create contrast and emphasise the linear form of the piece.
You can pick up an Art Deco Dressing table pretty much anywhere at the moment and they can be very affordable. So many people have small bedrooms these days, that they can't find the space. I've only just moved into a house where I can have a dressing table for the first time in my adult life, and it's a joy. Somewhere to display all my gorgeous Art Deco and Bakelite jewelry, and my lovely mesh bags. The Art Deco dressing table below is displayed in a shop window in Napier – the Art Deco town in New Zealand, But they can be picked up in charity shops, online or at local auctions.
Many people are painting them for that shabby chic look, or making something totally new and creative out of them - a fashion which I believe has been entitled “upcycling”.
For more inspiration, check out:Decolish Home > Art Deco Furniture > Art Deco Dressing Table
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