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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
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The Age of Elegance: Fashion in the 1930s

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0281
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$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Top Hat, 1935

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire embodied the grace and elegance of the 1930s in fashion. A woman in a sleek gown draping over her form, on the arm of a man in impeccably tailored black tie epitomized the glamour of the age. Despite the hardships and devastation of the Depression, much of the population aspired to the style and beauty that they saw on the big screen. For less than a quarter, anyone could immerse themselves in the fantasy of a streamlined luxury ocean liner, mingle among the stylish penthouse set, play roulette in Havana, or travel on the Shanghai Express with Anna May Wong in her dragon-embroidered gown.

It was the modern age, when fashion design matured, leaving behind the hoydenish flapper and turning to a more feminine silhouette. Designers such as Vionnet and Adrian began to employ the bias-cut on their fashions, revealing every curve of the female body. Men were also broadening their sartorial vocabulary while they admired the Prince of Wales and Clark Gable.

Join design historian Elizabeth Lay as she shares the stories and images of the age, considers fashion influences, and examines the new ideas and new methods of fashion construction that emerged in the 1930s.

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