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The Golden Twenties

The exhibition is devoted to the dazzling 1920’s. This is the time described in “The Great Gatsby” novel. The centre of attention of the exhibition will be shoes in Art Deco style complimented by trademark bright clothes of the 20’s – slim dresses decorated with beads and rhinestones. The 20’s – the childhood of the 20th century; a glittering, miraculous time when it became clear what the new century would look like. Jazzmen, dancers, freakish flapper girls, movie stars, writers, artists – all of them were captivated and seduced by this newly-acquired freedom. The icon and celebrity of this time was the American writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald; he masterfully and ironically portrayed the turbulent lifestyle of this decade in his novel "The Great Gatsby": "I like big parties. Everything happens there in an intimate manner. You can never feel solitary at small parties."

The insatiable desire to enjoy life, have fun and dress in a dazzling style was largely due to the enormous changes and shocks caused by the First World War. While Europe was still licking its wounds, America came to the forefront as a world power – a country of skyscrapers, an enormous amount of money and a vast variety of consumer and hedonistic lifestyles; a country which believed in inexhaustible possibilities for enterprising people. Rich Americans provided work for Parisian jewellers and designers of clothes of high fashion. Despite the era of prohibition, they still drank cocktails, whisky and champagne in indecent quantities and danced throughout the night. The belief in a bright future and the advance of technology, the ever-increasing pace of life, large-scale construction, avant-garde art – all of this broke into the daily life of large cities along with sounds of jazz music and car horns. It also embraced women with freedom they had never had before. Significantly, the women of the USA received the right to vote in exactly 1920.

This sparkling period reflected itself in art and fashion in the elegant, though relatively short-lived, Art Deco style – one of the most beautiful pages in the history of 20th century design. The most characteristic silhouette of the 1920’s was straight with a lowered waist; however, the costumes of the first half of the decade were still quite conservative, but in the second half of the 1920t’s skirts rapidly became shorter and occasionally exposing the knees. So now legs stepped into the spotlight .Consequently, shoe design developed rapidly. The design of the shoes of the 1920’s offered a dazzling variety of colours, shapes, materials and decorations, including heels with artificial jewels reminiscent of sophisticated art. The Charleston and other popular jazz dances raised serious demands on the durability and functionality of shoes: shoes had not only to be wonderful to look at they had to be comfortable to wear. Consequently, the design of shoe was often complicated - a typical feature of the shoes of the 1920’s was the variety of straps.

THE COLLECTION: The unique exhibits at the exhibition include items from the collection of Nazim Mustafaev, a passionate shoe collector and experienced organiser of exhibitions. This exhibition will be the premiere of his collection in Europe. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the wonderful costumes and shoes that have been exhibited at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. The collection has thousands of pairs of shoes with accompanying accessories as well as a variety of wonderful costumes – real masterpieces of sewing and embroidery. Nazim Mustafaev has revealed that he likes the fashion of the 1920’s more than any other period. "A collector is a human, someone who has his own favourite colours, periods and designs. My weakness is the 1920’s – a period of ostentatious, dazzling richness which is reflected in both shoes and clothing."