SCAD Fash Museum to Celebrate the Roaring ’20s With New Exhibition

Modern is often a tossed-around and tough-to-define term, but the Savannah College of Art and Design is trying to narrow that scope with a new exhibition titled “Entering Modernity: 1920s Fashion From the Parodi Costume Collection.”

When the exhibition debuts on June 21 at SCAD Fash Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta, there will be more than 60 works by designers, who didn’t shy away from experimentation with their creations.

More from WWD

Coming on the heels of the end of World War I and the global upheaval that ensued, that era led to a postwar boom with many finding prosperity and new opportunities. With the economy on the rise, some members of the middle class enjoyed a more comfortable standard of living. Another significant societal shift was the women’s suffrage movement which gave way to American women securing the legal right to vote. The Roaring ‘20s were also a time of speakeasies, glamour and societal shifts. Cue “The Jazz Age,” the high-flying times that “The Great Gatsby” author F. Scott Fitzgerald famously coined in one of his other works.

Fashion, unquestionably, played a leading role in all of the 1920s revelry, thanks in part to the stylish flappers, who were among the first to embrace the new more relaxed silhouettes that would define a key evolution of fashion. Visitors to the Atlanta museum will see up close cocktail dresses with chic layers and the period’s signature dropped-waist hem that were geared for more enhanced movement like dancing. And while the 100-year flashback might seem antiquated to some, many economists and style watchers considered the post-COVID-19 boom to be similar.

Announcing the show, SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace said that visitors will be “dazzled” by the eveningwear and accessories “fit for a night at [fictional character Jay] Gatsby’s from legendary designers Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin and Jean Patou. One century later, these culturally important garments continue to resonate and inspire.”

In addition to Vionnet’s “Flame Dress,” there will be Lanvin’s Robe de Style, a wedding gown by Poiret, and signature looks by Mariano Fortuny and Henriette Negrin, among others. The exhibition at SCAD Fash has been curated by Francisca Parodi, founder of the Parodi Costume Collection, and Gonzalo Parodi, director of the Parodi Costume Collection, in partnership with Rafael Gomes, creative director of SCAD Fash museums. Founded in the mid-1960s, the Parodi Costume Collection is dedicated to conservation, research and education. Items in the Miami-based archive can trace key points in fashion history from the mid-1800s to the late 20th century.

Parodi said of the SCAD Fash project, “Together, we aimed at a deeper narrative that exposes the evolution and complexities of garment design beyond conventional representations of the decade.”

Best of WWD