Exhibit Review: Jazz Age

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Jazz AgePut on your dancing shoes, because it’s time for a splendid party back in the age of jazz!

The fashion museum of Hasselt, Belgium, has once again delighted fans of vintage fashion with this exhibit, Jazz Age, covering the rise and height of the roaring 20s, as well as the end of the era where the 30s started to sneak in.

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

The set-up was rather topsy-turvy, starting at the second floor without a very clear start and end point, which meant that people often wandered through parts in the wrong order. Luckily, each visitor was given a very comprehensive guide, that clearly explained the corresponding pieces. Even if you did go about it in the wrong order, that didn’t really matter because of the clear sections and the way the exhibit was presented. Outfits were presented on mannequins, either grouped in display areas or in display cases, often with videos of movies from those times playing in the background, accompanied by Swing Jazz, setting a perfect atmosphere for the feel of these beautiful pieces.

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

Jazz Age is not only a perfect opportunity to see pieces from the 1920s and 1930s pretty up close, but also to see garments made by the great designers of the Jazz Age such as Coco Chanel, Jean Patou and Paul Poiret.

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

Another nice touch was the section of “modern flappers” where 15 silhouettes by contemporary designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Dries van Noten. Creations inspired by the era, but all made between 2001 and 2014, are on display here, including a piece by Prada made for Carey Mulligan that was worn in Baz Luhrmann’s movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

It was absolutely no secret that both the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the most recent movie version were an inspiration for this exhibit, be by the use of the title as the catch-phrase for it, as well as the deco linework that was so prevalent in the movie poster, that was inserted cleverly from time to time in some of the areas.

Aside from the many garments, there were also several display cases with shoes and accessories, design sketches, fashion magazines and store catalogues from the time.

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

There’s only one downside to this particular exhibit and that is the limited amount of menswear on display. And agreed, the dresses from that era were a sight to behold, but still, it would have been nice to see more than one token outfit in not even every single room and a few bits and bobs in only a few display cases. But that aside, it was really a wonderful set-up, and the museum truly did a fantastic job!

Jazz Age - Roaring 20s

The great general variety in the exhibit and the wonderful installations and presentation in the total, makes that Jazz Age is an absolute must for everyone that loves the era. Be quick though, as it only runs ’till March 13!

For more of our photos, click here.

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