The Heatley Cliff Art Deco-rate Amy Foster

People have been buzzing about Baz Lurhman’s new adaptation of The Great Gatsby in 3D. Honestly, friends, I was never a fan of the novel in the first place, even less so the movie, even with the spectacular Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. What I am desperate to see is the sets, the costumes, the colors, the hair… the wallpaper.

Here at The Heatley Cliff, we are fans of the Art Deco period. And then some. The 20s, they roared with reason. Women got the vote and used that influence to pass the legislature for prohibition. No, they weren’t uptight prigs (at least not all of them), they were just tired of their husbands spending their paychecks on booze and then coming home and beating the crap out them with little or no consequence. That aside, their clothes began to reflect this new found liberation. Finally, after centuries, they could really move.

It was the dawn of the jazz age, technology, architecture and travel merged – gleaming, chrome-like and aerodynamic.  Discoveries in ancient Egypt were the hip new thing and people celebrated life after so many millions were lost in the first world war. Maybe somewhere deep in their bones they knew what was coming. Art Deco was the calm before the storm of the next wave of war.

Well Amy, you might say, that’s all very well and good and interesting. But hey, I don’t live in a gorgeous English Manor filled with period furniture and hot footmen. I’m not Nicole Richie.  How can I bring a little Art Deco joie de vivre in my life? Well friends, here’s a few tips to bring that lush era into your home and wardrobe.

  • What would Cleopatra wear? It’s true. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb had a huge impact on fashion. Dark lips, Kohl covered eyes (read today’s version of the extreme smoky eye) blunt hair cuts and chunky gold jewelry. The cuff is a perfect example of this.
  • For a more minimal look, think about clothes that remind you of a geometry lesson with abstract lines and asymmetry.
  • For the Gatsby look, find clothes that have fringe, feathers, beads and a sleek silhouette.
  • For a truly sexy look, move forward in time to the latter part of the Art Deco era, into the early 30′s when the silhouette moved away from the boxier boyish version of the flapper and towards Hollywood Regency- backless gowns, lots of draping, bias cut gowns in silk and satin.
  • In terms of decorating your home, think the Empire State Building. It truly captures Art Deco in a monumental statement. Cars, airplanes and boats made leaps and bounds literally, in terms of speed and efficiency. Design reflected this. Anything that is chrome, sleek, rounded and aerodynamic is Art Deco.
  • Try a rug with geometric lines, mirrors with no frames and prints that feature birds (put a bird on it!) especially flamingos. Prints with lilies and palms are also true to the style. Art Deco loves a palm, in fact a potted palm in your house will give it that vibe right away.
  • Also, panthers. They loved a good panther in the Deco era. Who knew?

Click here to visit us at The Heatley Cliff where Sher and I will post lots of lovely pictures for you to see this all in action. Also, check out our new Pinterest board.

Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros

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  1. I love the book and Fitzgerald, and I’m looking for a good Art Deco – Secession dress, hair, makeup for the premier ^_^ And Leo diCaprio is a joke… looks like a little shy boy, not a man!

  2. This article just made me so happy. You are the only person I know of (other than myself, of course) that doesn’t really like the Great Gatsby. whenever I tell people this, I usually get a huge lecture that ends with someone telling me I have no soul because I hate the book. I mean, I’ve read it a couple of times now and have always found it absolutely boring. I, like you, am only excited to see the movie for Baz’s twist in the story and the FABULOUS costuming.

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