If I could pick an era and travel back in time, it would have to be the Roaring 20’s. In my through-the-rear-view-mirror perspective, the 20’s is one of the most stylish eras in the
20th Century. Free from the austerity of WWI, the music was intoxicating, the dance moves decadent, and of course, the clothes were to die for. Released from Victorian bustles and constricting corsets, women wore long, lean dresses that mimicked the streamlined architecture and geometric ornamentation of the times.
Art Deco has been a key source of inspiration for the creative set this year. The black and white period film The Artist made entertainment history by winning an Oscar at the 2012 Academy Awards. Baz Luhrman’s anticipated remake of The Great Gatsby movie will also help bring the aesthetic to the forefront. An Art Deco room is one of the styles highlighted in the BEHR® 2013 Trend brochure, out in stores this month.
Art Deco is a highly decorative period of styling that came about after the austere years of WWI. It was the world’s first look at an elegant and eclectic form of modernism. F. Scott Fitzgerald summed it up best when he said Art Deco was developed by “all the nervous energy stored up and unexpended in the War.” In architecture, the style was most often seen in cinemas, dance halls, ocean liners and railway stations. Radio City Music Hall and the Chrysler Building in New York are two excellent examples of the Art Deco style still in existence today.
Decorative motifs were often borrowed from exotic travel and historic styles. There was great interest in archeology at that time, particularly sites like Pompeii on the Italian coast, Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt and Mexican Aztec and Asian or African designs. The sinuous natural curves found in Art Nouveau gave way to streamlined geometrics like ziggurats, sunburst fan shapes and chevron patterns. The sunburst was often found on women’s shoes, radio and clock faces. Other objects like china, lamps, cars, jewelry, watches, also adopted Art Deco attributes in their designs.
What is especially great about Art Deco as a decorating theme is that it works well in small homes and apartments. Living spaces in the 1920s were smaller, and furniture was scaled down to fit these rooms. Homes today are trending towards smaller living spaces, making vintage furniture of this style especially popular.
Color is an easy place to start for an art deco theme. Pastels in shell pink, celadon or mint green are most popular. Neutrals leaned towards the warm side: camel, champagne and gold. Furniture was often dark wood or lacquer black.
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