Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Battered but not lost...

I am drawn to the past and romantic eras that have been frozen in time.
I often look back through films, words on a page, items housed in glass cases deep inside museums and through faded photographs to admire and fantasise over bygone moments that always appear so much more glamorous than the present. I often wonder will people look back and think this of us and of the world we are shaping today, shaped yesterday and will shape tomorrow? History isn't just made up of facts but also of fiction, often an elaboration of what we desire it to have been. We choose to forget the mundane and the boring. 

Literature aids our fanciful imaginations and today I dug out my copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises , having already started it I was determined to immerse myself back into a generation lost in Twenties Paris & Pamplona. 

The look of the Twenties has been set in stone and is so distinguished within the world of fashion.
Books allow you to stretch your imagination, deciding for yourself what characters look like and how they dress without any rules or restrictions, just some guidance from the author.
The character within the book, Brett Ashley, is such a liberated woman with two divorces already under her belt, sexually promiscuous, she is unable to commit herself emotionally to the antagonist Jake and other men who lust after her. She is native to the Parisian nightlife and the primary social butterfly within the book although a lost and lonely little girl sometimes subtly reveals itself through small cracks in her personality. 
This publicity shot of Kay Francis for the 1934 film, Mandalay, I believe fits perfectly alongside Hemingway's description of the Circe, Lady Ashley.


Absent from the surrounding company and carouse, captivated by her reflection longing for a way out and a transformation of present society to a world where she can break free from this rigid exterior and performance and display her true emotions the beau monde had forced her to closet.
What I love about the Twenties youth is how they rejected the generations that came before, abandoning antecedent attitudes and freed themselves of prior constrictions of youth.
This Kate Moss for Topshop flapper dress adorns my wardrobe but I have just been unable to wear it despite owning it for a couple of years now (the label is still attached). It is one of my most treasured items but the length just makes me feel so fraught with unease that I haven't been able to wear it outside the confines of my bedroom walls. 
I hope one day to build up the courage and embrace the spirit of Twenties youth, pump it through my veins and step out in this coruscating number and maybe even indulge in the Charleston.
Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 12.00.35


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