The Roaring Twenties (around 1920-1930) were in many respects a fascinating decade. This was a time of radically new styles in both fashion and music, and with the privations of the First World War still fresh in their minds, people were eager to travel, play sports and generally have fun. Dances with new rhythms like the Tango, Charleston and Foxtrot quickly became all the rage, while the saxophone, banjo and trumpet heralded the age of the dance band and jazz. Lyrics, moreover, could now be witty, cheeky or just plain silly. Nor did music have to be live. After all, this was also the age of the gramophone, shellac records and new radio stations, thanks to which music could be heard at almost any time of day.
Meanwhile, fashion designers were busy lending women a new look with dresses that were shorter than ever before and loose-fitting enough to show off the wearer’s suppleness and spontaneity. The show presents clothes for a wide range of occasions from travel, leisure and everyday wear to festive dos such as afternoon tea, cocktail parties and an evening at the dance hall. Add to these the many accessories, fashion plates, gramophones, sheet music, and musical instruments from the museum’s own collection and it is impossible not to be captivated by the upbeat mood of a period of extremes with its own distinctive buzz.
With its array of dresses, accessories, gramophones, sheet music and musical instruments from the museum’s own collection, the show provides an enthralling insight into a period of extremes.