Friday, 28 January 2011

Boardwalk Empire and the 1920s

Boardwalk Empire, the new rival to Mad Men in our telly/ fashion love in, premieres in the UK on February 1 on new channel Sky Atlantic. While the '70s are getting all the headlines for spring/ summer '11, the '20s is a strong undercurrent that is set to become stronger as the year progresses.

Whereas Mad Men focused on the '50s and '60s, Boardwalk Empire is all about the '20s so expect flapper dresses, Louise Brooks bobs, long strings of pearls, turbans, feathers ... The series is set at the start of Prohibition in Atlantic City, when selling alcohol became illegal across America.

The stellar cast includes Steve Buscemi (Nucky), Kelly Macdonald (Margaret), Gretchen Moll (Gillian), Michael Pitt (Jimmy) and Paz de la Huerta (Lucy).
Martin Scorsese directs episode one while John Dunn is in charge of costumes. And my, what amazing costumes they are. As the stills from the series show there is style and elegance in equal parts. Dunn had 6000 actors and extras to dress for this series. Each beaded dress is intricately and authentically accessorised with jewellery, shawls, hats and footwear. The team have used original, vintage pieces where they could, although they often started to fall apart on set.
Margaret played by Kelly Macdonald
Lucy played by Paz de la Huerta

Aside from Boardwalk Empire, which is expected to do for the '20s what Mad Men did for the '50s and '60s, there is also a remake of The Great Gatsby in the pipeline. The update is being directed by Baz Luhrmann and looks set to star Carey Mulligan as Daisy. The 1974 film starred Mia Farrow as Daisy and Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby. The novel, by F Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1925 and is considered a literary classic. Read it now.

Redford and Farrow in The Great Gatsby

Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan

Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby

Clara Bow
Many S/S '11 catwalks referenced the period, from John Galliano's flapper dresses (below) to Chanel's feathers and Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton's beaded, shimmering creations teamed with (made to look) cropped hair. The look was a modern update, in the same way that the '70s has been repackaged for a new generation. If you want to get in on the '20s look, watch out for heavy beading, feathers, turbans and headpieces, long necklaces. Look to Clara Bow and Louise Brooks for hair and beauty inspiration and get practising the Charleston.

John Galliano S/S '11

John Galliano S/S '11

Chanel S/S '11

Louis Vuitton S/S '11

Rochas S/S '11

Boardwalk Empire, 9pm, Sky Atlantic from February 1.

All catwalk images from
All Boardwalk Empire images from HBO.

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