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March 19, 2012

Revisiting Gatsby

Still from 2012 Remake of The Great Gatsby

When I was reading the Great Gatsby in high school, one of my all time favorite novels from one of my all time favorite authors, it was the ’70s and as I turned the pages,  I was wearing Elsa Peretti’s sculptural cuff for Tiffany & Co. which  I received for my sweet sixteen to match the long swirling open heart pendant she had designed.  I was pleased to learn that Catherine Martin, costume designer for the 2012 Baz Luhrmann remake of the 1974 film, (based on the book and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan) had raided the archives of Tiffany & Co., which signifies each decade so well.  Martin went to the renown house to recreate the platinum, diamond and pearl jewelry that evoked the era of opulence of the elite social set.

While reading the book, I wished I was I was dancing the night away at one of the parties on Long Island in a shimmering cocktail numbers that shimmied when I moved. I loved being transported away to a different place and time, due to my preadolescent sleepovers at my grandmother’s house when we’d dress up in a mix of her long strands of glass beads, tassel earrings and authentic art deco bracelets while she taught me the Charleston and we pretended ginger-ale was champagne, which we drank out of her best crystal.

I am a big fan of authentic art deco jewelry and the less costly costume versions mixed together as well as the roaring twenties fashion –beaded and slinky slip dresses, handkerchief hemlines and the more dramatic fringe styles

It also isn’t surprising that the international spring runways were filled with 1920’s inspired looks, from the more geometric patterns at Caroline Herrera to the prohibition silhouettes at Marc Jacobs, the speakeasy styles at Marchesa and the pull-out -all -the-stops modern revivals of the Jazz Age at Ralph Lauren.

Lauren, in a sense, played homage to himself since he created costumes for the for the 1974 adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel for the big screen when he outfitted Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

His show was chock full of swinging earrings, elongated chains and pearls and feminine dresses, brimming with the right accessories–cloche hats and small headdresses.

The rest of the designers gave us their own takes on flappers and thoroughly modern women a la Josephine Baker, Collette and Coco Chanel.

Fine jewelry designers are creating pieces that range from straight-line bracelets and multiple necklaces to swinging earrings that have various cuts in softer and more geometric forms. Ivanka Trump has a vast assortment of styles for the lover of art deco inspired-styles, as does Penny Preville.   Smaller designers such as Emily Keifer and Sofia Kaman for Kamofie are all getting a little jazzy this season.  I have dusted off my high school copy of The Great Gatsby with it’s yellowed pages and plan on reading it, while sipping ginger-ale in champagne glasses and hanging out in ropes of diamonds and pearls.

Kamofie Earrings

Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Runway

Marchesa Spring 2012 Runway

Ivanka Trump Cuffs

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 runway show

Ivanka Trump Earrings

Still from the 1974 Film, The Great Gatsby

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 Runway

15 Responses

  1. Robin Gromel says:

    Great Story Beth! I too wish I could have been a part of that dazzling era. The jewelry was my favorite, very sparkly!! Maybe I was a flapper in a previous life.

  2. Sara Freedenfeld says:

    I wish we could go back in time, but then there would be no such thing as this lovely blog 🙂

  3. Rebecca Moskal says:

    You’ve inspired me to dust off my copy of Gatsby and read it for the first time in decades! Love the parallels you’ve drawn between modern day and the by-gone era!

  4. emily says:

    Both my grandmothers were born in the 1800’s-late-but they were housewives in their day that are sharp in contrast to us girls today. Sylvia Cassaza and Julia Boden Marquardt made crumb cake and pasta by hand, each finger encrusted with with a diamond ring, salt sugar and flour…. and pearls long around their necks. No sweats that said “Love” stamped on their butt! Always worn dresses-never pants.
    Average Ladies! Ladies today have many advantages but Sylvia and Julia had real feminine style!

  5. andrea hansen says:

    it’s a great era! This style continues to inspire more contemporary designers than any other period – in fashion, design, accessories, architecture and obviously in film as well! Well done Beth!

  6. LOVE my rope of pearls, and my Gatsby! Just reread it after I visited his birthplace in St. Paul, MN. Great story, Beth!

  7. julie says:

    I’m going to dig out my copy for a long overdue re-read! Great story, Beth

  8. Linda says:

    Great read Beth!! Brings back memories playing with Grandma Mary’s jewels.

  9. Allison says:

    Those Kamofie earrings and Ralph Lauren dresses can go on my wish list. Great blog!

  10. jv says:

    I really need to start reading more then just “menu’s”. Never quite got through the Great Gatsby (truant from High School), but I totally dig the roaring 20’s look. Thanks for the great read & keep it coming.

  11. Maureen Freedenfeld says:

    Wonderful book and saw the movie in the theater and on TV several times. The jewelry was amazing and loved that you revitalized the story. My mom is almost 94 and wears earrings and lipstick every day.

  12. danielle says:

    amazing post – one of my favorites. so excited for the movie and the jewels!

  13. bjeweled says:

    Reblogged this on B-JEWELED and commented:

    Back in March, I wrote this post on one of my favorite novels, “The Great Gatsby” and the jewelry/fashions in the remake of the film. Since then “Gatsby-style” jewelry has been written up and shown in consumer magazines, reported on in different media outlets and is being shown at various price levels. I also found out that the film’s release date is being pushed from the originally scheduled Christmas time to the summer. While i have been looking forward to seeing the Baz Luhrmann remake with it’s Tiffany jewels, this gives us all time to stock up on our jazz-age jewelry. So whether you want faux long strands and strands of pearls or the real thing, long deco-inspired earrings and an armful of diamond bracelets–it’s all out there for you to try on and mix into to your own style of thoroughly modern jewels.

  14. moritz glik says:

    I love it!! Really cool!!

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