With costumes by Prada, The Great Gatsby is kickstarting the Twenties fashion revival. Stephanie Smith celebrates decadence.
Tomorrow sees the release of The Great Gatsby – and not a moment too soon. The High Street has been waiting, anticipating, fully briefed and prepared, for what seems like decades – well, since the Christmas before last at least – with racks and racks of the most wonderful Deco-inspired creations all ready to go, so we can all make like Daisy Buchanan, draping ourselves in satin and dipping ourselves in beads, feathers, sequins and fringing.
The delayed release of the film (it was originally due out last December) means that these Gatsby-style gowns have been hanging around for quite some time now. Fortunately, the mesmerising decadence of the Jazz Age is a theme that is so fabulously inspirational and elegantly wearable, it has a life all of its own. So it is that Deco luxe has continued well into spring/summer 2013, to coincide happily with the eagerly anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann’s cinema retelling of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and British actress Carey Mulligan as the married and wealthy object of his dreams, Daisy.
Deco will receive another shot of life this summer, thanks to the film. What with this being a Luhrmann extravaganza, fabulousness of costume is a given, and Carey Mulligan certainly looks as if she is having great fun in the stills, while DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire are groomed and dressed to perfection. There surely has been no era quite so elegant as the 1920s, especially for men. A tuxedo rarely looks the real deal unless accompanied by slicked-back hair, the shiniest of shoes and a faint air of world-weary wistfulness and boredom.
More than 40 costumes have been designed for the film by Miuccia Prada, who was approached by Luhrmann’s wife, production designer Catherine Martin. Martin says they did not want to replicate every detail of Roaring Twenties’ fashion, but rather translate Fitzgerald’s “visceral modernity”. Prada used her own archive as a starting point – the “chandelier” dress from her spring/summer 2010 collection was reinterpreted as a dazzling gown for Daisy.
From what we have seen, the outfits look perfect for an unreliable British summer, opulent and striking, but versatile, with fur collars to add when it gets chilly, and the luxurious but cosy layering of bejewelled overdress over silky slips – an excellent idea and one that deserves to be copied throughout this summer and forever after.
Indeed, it is this blending of decadence and elegance with practicality and wearability that has ensured that Deco and Jazz Age looks have been copied by the High Street. Take a look at Miss Selfridge, which is leading the way with its selection of embellished Twenties-style dresses, while Coast captures the essence with its Patience gown. And if it’s authenticity you’re after, don’t forget the vintage shops.