Why is the Great Gatsby so memorable? The film adaptation of the 1925 novel by the same title captures the over-the-top opulence of that era; rich fashion and beautiful designs in everything including the furniture and the cars. The jazz age of the 20s was a time for the good things in life. A new generation with the hope of changing the world after the war looked to change many things including fashion and design. Art Deco was at the forefront of these changes, touching the way design was done in fashion, art, furniture, and even machines.
The Great Gatsby movie aptly captures the hedonistic party life and roaring 20s fashion. The gents in three-piece suits, and the ladies in flapper dresses and fur coats. The ballrooms are ornately decorated in with gold, luxurious carpets, and wall rugs. The Gatsby mansion in the film alone took about 14 weeks to set up and decorate.
Art Deco was perhaps the biggest design trend in the 20s and 30s fashion. It is differentiated with its luxurious materials like silk, gold, silver, rich woods, Persian rugs, premium leather, precious gemstones, and the very best in everything. Even while using the best of materials, Art Deco design was notable for its use of clean lines and geometrical shapes. Art Deco fashion took on the same concepts with rich wool suits for the gents as seen on Gatsby and his buddies, and the beautiful decadent jewelry worn by the ladies. The gold and black palettes run in much of the film’s background.
The dressing styles for the ladies in the Great Gatsby capture the flapper style very well. This was an extension of the Art Deco fashion popularized by designers like Coco Chanel. The rectangular frock like dresses was borrowed by the cubist influences of the Art Deco. The jewelry is also Art Deco-inspired; wraps of bangles made of wood and Bakelite, diamond earrings, and the layered necklaces.
One of the most stunning outfits by the main actress has a sparkling headpiece made of silver and sequin threads. This is matched with a fur coat made of rich brocade silk, extensively patterned with abstract motifs. The headpiece itself is part of the Egyptian theme that was a big part of the Art Deco movement. This came from the interest sparked by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, with all its riches in gold, precious stones, and other hallmarks of opulence and luxury.
The sartorial sense of the gents is awesome. It was rare for a man to wear a suit in a color other than black, blue, grey, or white. But Gatsby’s characters are not shy to strut in pink linen suits, silk shirts, and gold collar bars.
It is difficult to picture the 1920s without Art Deco. It was more of a lifestyle than a fashion trend. The clothes were in this style, people lived in houses designed in Art Deco architecture, and even used household appliances and cars designed in this style. The Great Gatsby’s portrayal of haute couture, glamor, beauty, and good life captures this lifestyle perfectly.