Causing a Flap – Rebellion in the 20th Century
Studio: Western Half
Here we get a fun look at two eras of revolutionary change in fashion: the Roaring 20s, following World War I, when women dared bob their hair and raise their hemlines, and the late 60s when hippies wore tie-dye, girls wore miniskirts and go-go boots, and blue jeans became fashionable, not work clothes.
Geocities.com says that “the typical flapper was a young woman who was often thought of as a little fast and maybe even a little brazen,” and “The central phenomenon of the flapper era was the worship of youth”; the twenties was the beginning of fashion’s obsession with youth.
An elegant beaded flapper gown, shoes and handbag have been loaned by Darren Winston, along with the gown’s original dress shop box. A risque wool bathing ensemble, circa 1908, from our collection is displayed next to Miss Emily Hopson’s circa 1970 ready-to-go-at-a-moment’s-notice beach bag containing 2 bathing suits, 2 rubber bathing caps, 2 pairs of beach sandals, a short terry cloth robe and a towel. A paper dress in perfect condition, recently donated by Connie Sanders, hangs on the wall.
In ancient Egypt, styles changed slowly over hundreds if not thousands of years. In the past century, fashion trends emerged more quickly, first changing dramatically decade by decade, and now at such a dizzying pace that for more traditional manufacturers, who plan production over many months, a trend may have completed its cycle before the “goods” reach the store. With TV, the internet, and cell phones, trends can be transmitted instantly and globally. What is outrageous and rebellious today becomes standard and outdated literally tomorrow.
Designers and manufacturers who must always be on their toes and on the alert for the next big fashion, have resorted to repeating designs, making retro fashion and vintage clothing another trend. (We have one thrift shop in Kent, which serves both as a used clothing and vintage fashion resource). Teenagers may be seen sporting bell bottoms much like those that their mothers wore in the 70s (while their mothers may shun such garb, as they lived through the original go-round).