An Era Revisited

The opera-length gloves and other lady-like details favored by fashion designers this season embody the style and glamour of a bygone era—a time when divas embraced a very different set of fashion values. Femininity in that era combined grace and elegance and was worlds away from the see-through fabrics and how-low-can-you-go necklines of recent times. A return to that elegant styling is refreshing for today’s woman and good news for today’s jewelry retailer.

The year ahead holds promise that fashions of the ’30s and ’40s (think Veronica Lake) will return to favor, thanks to the rediscovery of such styles by today’s fashion designers and the power of several pop-culture influences.

When Hollywood icon Katharine Hepburn died this year, fashion magazines delved into the archives, offering tributes to her acting as well as to her personal style. (Hepburn was recognized as a key influence in making man-tailored pants and suits a feminine statement.) Events such as her death and the resulting widespread media exposure of her 1930s and ’40s style have the power to reawaken both women and designers to the appeal of fashion from a bygone era.

Perhaps more importantly, Hollywood great Martin Scorsese has a new project in the works—The Aviator, an epic film chronicling the life of Howard Hughes during his heyday in the 1930s. Starring such high-profile celebs as Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, and Gwen Stefani, the film has the potential to seriously influence fashion and design. Just as Moulin Rouge spawned a rediscovery of the bustier and chandelier earrings, The Aviator, with its period costuming, holds a similar power: We may see modern women and designers embracing dresses, clinging fabrics with graceful necklines and draped silhouettes, shoulder pads, gloves, brooches, and even rose gold.