The Jazz Age


Normally it takes me ages to write a blog but I enjoyed this exhibition so much, and I took so many photos, that I thought the best thing to do was share them all with you.

The Jazz Age is currently on at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey, within sight of The Shard. I’ve blogged about it before when I went last year for the Liberty in Fashion and hands-on couture session, and I came to the previous exhibition more recently about Italian brand, Missoni, which was also excellent. What I enjoy about visiting here is that it’s small size belies the quality of it’s presentations. It’s packed with beautiful clothes that you can get really close to and appreciate the details. It also offers a wide range of courses, interest and training sessions because of it’s links to Newham College, London. Why not take a look at the schedule?

The Jazz Age exhibition features not just garments but photographs and artefacts from the era too, giving background and context. Even in the entrance foyer there are several costumes from Baz Luhrmann’s film version of The Great Gatsby, as designed by Miuccia Prada and worn by Carey Mulligan.

MiuMiu shoes worn in the film The Great Gatsby
Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby

As you go in you’re given a lovely little facsimile of a news sheet which gives you an outline of the text in the show as well as a timeline of the changing fashions from 1920 to 1929. In a side room at the beginning are continuously running snippets from silent movies illustrating the clothes in context.img_0213


From here on in it dress after dress!

Beautiful velvet and brocade, with fur and fringing.
evening stoals and capes


Day dresses featuring loose shapes and dropped waistlines in sheer fabrics with ruffles, pin tucks.

Light, unrestrictive day dresses with beautiful details.

I like to think I look this chic with a tape measure around my neck…
Women began to have a lot more freedom with more daring styles and fabric choices.
more light cotton dresses, several of these had the most beautiful cut-work and embroidery details.
skirt details


‘Russian’ embroidery and cut-work…I love the red necklace too!
A selection of various evening gowns from across the decade, the centre gown could easily be worn now and look super-stylish.
I always dress like this when I do the dusting, don’t you?
Mesh, net and tulle were very popular for diaphanous evening gowns as well as velvet, satins and taffeta.

Brown isn’t an obvious colour for an evening gown but when it’s chocolate with this beautiful diamante detail, that lifts it out of the ordinary.


The dress on the right had beautifully finished hooks and press studs to secure the leaf-detail around the shape of the body-the couture finishing on these dresses was exquisite.
silver lame
Two more fabulous evening ensembles, ‘Russian’ embroidery and fur trims were a recurrent theme.

I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of dresses and outfits on show are at the very highest end of the fashion spectrum but I think that’s only to be expected because many ordinary day dresses probably haven’t survived, and they won’t have included many of the finer details that these garments do.

There is also another room, as well as throughout the exhibition, containing photographs by leading photographer of the time, James Abbe. They are stylish and beautiful and very fashion-forward, even by today’s standards, and feature many leading stars including, Mary Pickford, Rudolf Valentino, Clara Bow and the infamous Dolly Sisters. They are well worth a look.

I must stress that this review is entirely my own opinions and that I purchased my own ticket for the exhibition…I’ve simply become a big fan of the FTM and I urge you to go and see for yourself…you could combine it with a visit to Borough Market nearby-foodie heaven!!

If you’re interested in historical costume from the slightly more recent past then you’re bound to enjoy this exhibition. It’s an era when women were suddenly freed from the constraints in both clothing and life-style after the end of WW1 but it was an era that also ended abruptly in 1929 with the start of the Great Depression.

I hope you enjoy it

Happy sewing


4 thoughts on “The Jazz Age

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