Want a little bit of glamour without too much fuss?
Look no further than this season’s playful ode to the jazz age.
If you were a “flapper” in the 1920s, you probably spent nights at speak-easies dancing to jazz music and smoking cigarettes. You were a symbol of the liberal attitudes that followed the end of World War I. You were most likely part of the women’s liberation movement, and the clothes you wore reflected all of this.
Gone were the restrictive corsets and voluminous pantaloons of Victorian-era fashion – instead, you adopted softer bodices and “step-in” underpants, and wore dresses that were easy to dance in: shorter hemlines, drop-waisted, loose fitting, and embellished with beading or embroidery.
Later, in the ’30s, Hollywood reimagined the flapper style for the silver screen and, instead of beadwork and embroidery, opted for fringing, a relatively inexpensive and time-efficient way for costume designers to achieve the flapper look en masse. So, while fringing wasn’t actually popular during the ’20s, it does capture our idea of the decade – the excess and rebellion – even more effectively than beading or embroidery. And, given the Western world’s current sociopolitical mood and subsequent need for dancing and excess, it is fringing that has captured the mood of fashion this season.
It’s a fun, feminine accent for your party frock – fitting for the busy festive season – and lets you feel like you’re playing dress-up without looking like you’ve raided your childhood fancy-dress box. One minute you’re a sleek silhouette and the next, with a little movement or shimmy, you’re at next-level frivolity.
Vanguard designer duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Australian label Romance Was Born have given the look their own dynamic spin for their Resort 2018 collection. “We were looking at disco and, in particular, the influence of the 1920s on a lot of disco culture,” Luke says. “The sequin fringing is our interpretation of melding these two eras. We’ve always been drawn to a more relaxed fit and that’s something we’ve always loved about the ’20s. So other than our fringing, we’ve also included pyjama suits, tiered frills and lace godet hemlines, all of which speak to the ease and movement of both eras.”
A well-placed piece of fringing creates a statement in the way that a high-impact piece of jewellery, or a handbag, or a pair of shoes can do. The longer the fringe, the bigger the impression you are going to make. But a softer treatment can work too. London-based designer David Koma’s Resort 2018 collection is a modern take on the shapes and motifs of jazz-age fashion, with ostrich feather frills taking the place of beaded fringing and a largely black-and-white palette creating a dramatic base.
Fringing was also on display at Chanel’s Resort 2018 presentation, which took place in Paris amidst this year’s turbulent French presidential election. As Karl Lagerfeld said of the collection via Chanel’s Twitter account: “To create the future you have to pay attention to the past.” Cheers to that.
Keep reading to infuse your wardrobe with the spirit of jazz…
ROMANCE WAS BORN | Razzle Dazzle Fringe Top
GINGER & SMART | Java Fringe Heel
ELLERY | Lottery Fringed Sleeve Wrap Top
CARLA ZAMPATTI | Platinum Lame Farrah Scarf
CARLA ZAMPATTI | Platinum Lame Farrah Sarong
OSCAR DE LA RENTA | Classic Short Tassel C Earring
ROMANCE WAS BORN | I Feel Love Fringe Top
AQUAZZURA | Wild Loafer Flat
STELLA MCCARTNEY | Suzanne Fringing Dress
ALEXANDER WANG | Flared Skirt with Satin Fringe Detail
STELLA MCCARTNEY | Edith Fringe S/S Top
Words by Natalie Walton. Photography by Jesse-Leigh Elford. Styling by Lara Turnbull.