The Old Avant-Garde Fades

Until 1914, the words “cubism” and “avant-garde” seemed to be synonymous, but there were definite differences among the Cubist artists themselves. In the pre-war era, the Salon Cubists responded in a relatively cautious fashion to the examples of Paul Cézanne, while...

The Dandy of Harlem

By the 1920s, a new character emerged in America, specifically in New York, in the uptown neighborhood of Harlem. The “New Negro” made his and her debut. These New Negroes as the term went were often members of the “talented tenth,” or the highly gifted and...

The Ivy Look

The term “Ivy League” in reference to sports wasn’t coined until 1933 by a sportswriter Stanley Woodward, who said, “A proportion of our eastern ivy colleges are meeting little fellows another Saturday before plunging into the strife and the turmoil.” Woodward had...

Suiting the New Man

Who was the New Man who emerged after the Great War? He was young, untouched by fear, unwounded by trauma; he cast a wary eye towards authority and he disdained the mores and styles of his elders. And, it must be said, he invented his style, apparently putting himself...

Chanel Arrives, Part Two

It was in the 1920s that Coco Chanel perfected her distinctive line for her timeless and simple clothes for women—long and lean, like Paul Poiret’s silhouettes to be sure, but her outlines were scrupulously hard-edged, offset with ropes of peals and studded with...

Chanel Arrives, Part One

How does Fashion become modern, take that step away from the past and stride confidently into the future? As theorist and philosopher, Roland Barthes noted, fashion changes when events shift so decisively in the present that there is no going back to the past. The...

New Woman/New Body

The New Woman needed new clothes. Once they had shortened their skirts and worn trousers women would refuse to be immobilized again. But after the Great War, she literally had nothing to wear and an entirely new wardrobe was invented in a period of a very few years....

New Woman/New Face

She was called the “Flapper” and was known as the New Woman. A product of the Great War, she was of the new generation of women who had been liberated from the past but the upheavals of the War. Her first act of assertion had been to take over the jobs of men, absent...

The New Woman/New Hair

The new woman, who debuted after the Great War had a prewar predecessor. Irene Castle (1893-1969) and American ballroom dancer who performed with her husband Vernon, found that long hair was hot and heavy and incompatible to the athleticism of dancing. In 1915, she...

If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.
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