Vintage, what a passion!
The flapper girl loved all that allowed her to be and feel free in her behavior.
Louise Brook, the diva of silent movies adopted the short hair cut à la garçon that every woman copied. The short bob emphasized the sensual curve of the neck, while the facial features under a cloche hat were enhanced with a well-studied maquillage. The flappers girl loved very red lips and nails, lunar skin, very long eyelashes, marked the eyes with a smoky black eye liner and completed the look with long pearls necklaces. She loved to wear short dresses above the knee, showing them off for the first time in the history of fashion. Designers Coco Chanel and Paul Poiret, in Paris called “Le Magnifique” liberated women from corsets or other body traps and put them in chic sexy gowns.
This past Halloween I was invited to a 1920’s party. The house was so beautifully staged in that period style that I felt prompted to write about how to reproduce the same style in today’s home.
In Europe, the 1920s’ style had a different name in each country. It was Liberty Style in Italy, Art Nouveau in England, Style Guimard in France named after designer Guimard, Modernism in Spain, Secession Style in Austria and Youth Style in Germany. Regardless of how it was named, Art Nouveau flourished between two World Wars and it was a celebration of youth style and liberation from fussiness and constrictions. Key words to describe 1920s’style were simplicity, functionality, efficiency and cleanliness of lines and forms. Colors choices of that time are so modern even for today’s living:
Black, White, Ivory and Gray for the neutral palette, Nile Green and Navy Blue for the cold palette, Canary Yellow and Mandarin Red for the warm palette.
Steamer trunks with travel labels in lieu of coffee tables, Oriental rugs for the living room and scenic prints on the walls, legendary beasts as accessories and floral art glass were all the rage, along with subjects of lavish birds, flowers, insects and femme fatale details. Abstract lines and shapes were used widely as a filling and mixed in with all subjects.
The new concept of open spaces was born with the Bungalow Style architecture, which essentially was the new style home for the middle class, small but functional and comfortable. To create a visual effect of larger spaces, rooms opened up into each other, kitchen into family room and into dining and to avoid a cluttered look most of the furniture was built-in, such as bookcases, breakfast nooks, sideboards, china cases and window seats. Furniture was made to last and with sturdy luxurious woods such as mahogany and cedar and was designed in simple lines and simple carved details.
As you see, the 1920 ‘s style fits so perfectly in today’s living. Keep it simple and clean. Built-ins will substitute many furniture pieces that generally stand on the floor, allowing you to free floor space. Keep all the shapes linear, but splurge on accessories and sexy lamps to create several light points to suit every mood. Emphasize colors. Combine rich hardwood floor with retro chic’s bold wall colors and contemporary forms to achieve a fresh cheerfulness and whimsy. Reproducing with paint a typical 1920’s wallpaper motif is an easier alternative to wallpaper that might not exist anymore. Complete the décor with ornamental glass work on doors and divider panels; some metal/chrome features like sinks on chrome legs, or fireplaces brass façades; mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers and graphic art.
The 1920’s style is very current and conducive with my living. I like stylish décor nobody has, I like to set moods with attractive period pieces and I like to surprise people visiting my home. How about you? Tell me what is your style, I can reproduce it ritzy and spiffy without taking away your comfortable life and any of your habits. Ciao,
Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an interior designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian born and true to her origins, her design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She provides only the best workmanship and design solutions.
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