egyptian-art-deco

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Welcome back to FRIDAY FASHION FACT! Fact one: I love fashion revivals. They are flat-out my favorite part about fashion history. I find it so interesting to discover why one time and culture appealed to the people in another era so much. Sometimes it is something deep and sociological, and sometimes it’s just something simple, straight forward, and fun. Which brings us to today’s topic!

People have been attracted to ancient Egypt for centuries, and understandably so. It was a powerful civilization with unique arts and architecture. And of course, the fact that it is so ancient fills it with mystery. Egyptian influence began to creep into decorative arts in the 18th century, when Egypt became the hot spot for European explorers. They commonly brought back antiquities, which were then emulated by European artisans. When Napoleon came into power, he launched a campaign in Egypt geared at strengthening and extending his empire. This led to full on Egyptomania, with Egyptian influence moving beyond just the decorative arts, and into architecture.

Throughout the 19th Century, Egyptian influence never fully faded from arts and architecture, but it rarely made its way into fashion. In the 1920s, though, that all changed nearly overnight. In November of 1922, Howard Carter and his team discovered King Tut’s tomb. It contained gold and riches beyond anything anyone could have imagined. The frenzy was instantaneous. Across the globe, reports of the splendors were all anyone could talk about. For the next several years, thousands of relics were excavated. They were detailed in countless newspapers and magazines, then immediately replicated in arts, architecture, and fashion. Egyptomania had returned with full force.

Often times, the influence was very subtle. The crisp lines and geometric patterns common in Egyptian styles blended perfectly with the Art Deco trend which had been steadily on the rise since about the end of World War I. Yet it was not uncommon for Egyptian imagery to be directly recreated in fashion. Hieroglyphs would be printed onto gloves and parasols, delicate bead work trimmed evening gowns, and elaborate jewelry imitated that found in the tomb.

The obsession faded by the end of the 1920s, once the novelty of the uncovered antiquities had faded. Yet the interest in Egypt never fully went away, its influence still makes its way into fashion every few years.

Have a question about fashion history that you want answered in the next FRIDAY FASHION FACT? Just click the ASK button at the top of the page!

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Art Deco Illustrated Presentations 2014

“Theodore Kosloff & Cecil B. DeMille Meet Madam Satan” / MADAM SATAN

Saturday, March 15 - 2:00PM Egyptian Theater

Dance critic Debra Levine brings new insight to Art Deco favorite MADAM SATAN (MGM, 1930, dir. Cecil B. DeMille), zeroing in on the early talkie’s bizarre and exceptional “ballet mécanique” that takes place in a zeppelin. Levine has researched the director’s 40-year friendship with Theodore Kosloff, a Ballets Russes dancer who acted in more than thirty silent movies, most directed by DeMille. DeMille’s consultations with Kosloff concerning MADAM SATAN, on the cusp of the Depression, resulted in the dancer’s appearance as “The Spirit of Electricity.” Levine will share the back story of the development of MADAM SATAN’s inimitable movie-musical sequence. Following is a screening of MADAM SATAN. Part of Hollywood Heritage’s Centennial Celebration of the Lasky-DeMille partnership.

Illustrated presentation by dance critic Debra Levine. Actress Mary Carlisle to appear in person at the event.

The presentation will last approximately 60 minutes with a question and answer period. MADAM SATAN will start at approximately 3:10 PM following a short break after the lecture. Screening format: 35mm.

Co-presented by the American Cinematheque and the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles with support from the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation.

TICKETS

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1930s Vintage Glamour Day - Makeup, Fashion and Film

Saturday, May 31 - Doors open at 11:30AM Egyptian Theatre

A screening of VOGUES OF 1938, Hair & Makeup Demos, Ice Cream Sodas, Vintage Displays, & Marsha Hunt In Person!

Art Deco Illustrated Presentations 2014

Presented by the American Cinematheque, Besame Cosmetics and the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

11:30AM: Doors will open at for make-up demos and tips by Bésame Cosmetics, an ephemera exhibit of items from the vintage cosmetics collection of Joan Renner of The Vintage Powder Room, quick vintage “how-to” hairstyling tips from Sandra D, 1930s dress display by Paper Moon Vintage and old fashioned ice cream sodas for sale (cash only) from C.K. Farnsworth!

12:45PM: “The Modern Face: 1930s Beauty with Bésame Cosmetics” (60 min.)

Gabriela A. Hernandez, CEO of Bésame Cosmetics and author of Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup, will give an illustrated presentation focusing on the feminine beauty trends of the 1930s, a pivotal decade for the cosmetics industry, that ended with the onset of WWII. Women saw themselves as modern and sophisticated, and looked to cosmetics to enhance this image of beauty. Onscreen, the greasepaint of the silent film era became outmoded and Max Factor introduced Pan-Cake makeup with the 1937 production of the rarely-seen Technicolor extravaganza, VOGUES OF 1938.

The Bésame Cosmetics line evokes the bygone era of elegance and glamour when compacts were as important an accessory as designer jewelry for a night on the town!

The lecture is followed by a 1930s fashion show and an introduction to VOGUES OF 1938 by Los Angeles historian Marc Chevalier.

2:00PM: Film Screening of VOGUES OF 1938.

Gorgeously filmed and costumed, with first-rate performances and a sparkling script this romantic comedy –set in 1937’s New York City– has it all: high fashion, a winsome runaway bride, The Cotton Club’s singers and dancers, snobs of all stripes laid low, hazardous rollerskating tricks, and Max Factor’s makeup magic … all in glowing color. Don’t miss the chance to see this nearly forgotten film on the big screen!

Truly a feast for the eyes, this musical (an Oscar nominee for Best Art Direction) makes stunning use of Technicolor to show off some of the most beautiful costumes of the 1930s. Runaway bride Joan Bennett leaves wealthy Alan Mowbray at the altar to become a model, eventually falling for fashion designer Warner Baxter. As a rival designer, Mischa Auer is an absolute delight.

After the film, actress and model in the 1930s, Marsha Hunt will sign copies of her book The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and ‘40s and Our World Since Then in the lobby. Books for sale at $50 (cash or personal check only). TICKETS

S… Spain

Casa Judía de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Photo by Beatriz Servent

One of the more unusual Deco structures I’ve ever come across.

Check it out on Google Street View.

Bad translation of explanation on Flickr:

Located at 20 Street Castellón, this is a property built on 1930 by Swedish architect, born in 1895, Guardiola Juan Martinez, who is known for his “House Xinesa” of Barcelona. Attached to the art-deco movement, is inspired by a historicist movement in its neo-Egyptian language. 

This building is called The Jewish Home for the Star of David that shows on the lintel of the door. 

Behind the Bullring.

Egyptian Theater, Dekalb, Illinois
Photo by Terrence Faircloth 

Gorgeous “Egyptian” Art Deco.

From Flickr:

Art deco theater building with glazed terra cotta ornamentation in DeKalb, Illinois. These lavishly decorated theaters were referred to as “Popcorn Palaces” by those who appreciated the style.

P.S. Now that I am freed from the alphabet, I can do things like post a ton of photos in a row by one photographer. Which you will see me do now…

Sequin jacket with Egyptian motifs, 1923. Hand-beaded lurex, unknown maker. V&A

In 1922 Howard Carter uncovered the tomb of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun … spectacular jewellery, chariots, furniture, alabaster vessels and the gold mummy mask. The objects sparked enormous popular interest in all things Egyptian. Imagery such as lotus flowers, scarabs, hieroglyphics, pylons and pyramids appeared in many forms of decorative arts, as can be seen in this exquisite evening jacket. V&A