Night Life - A Fashion Exhibition of the 1920s and 30s, Ripponlea House, Melbourne


I recently visited Night Life - A Fashion Exhibition of the 1920s and 30s at Ripponlea House in Elsternwick.  I just adore clothes from this era, so I was so excited to hear about this exhibition, which features clothes worn by Melburnians during the 1920s and 30s.  As the title of the exhibition suggests, it is all about eveningwear.  For this reason, Ripponlea House was darkened inside, with the windows covered over to create darkness and shadows to show off the fashion as it was meant  to be seen.  One of the early explanatory cards stated that it was actually frowned upon to wear sparkly clothes in the daytime at that time. 

The exhibition begins in the drawing room with 1920s eveningwear, and there are sparkles, bugle beads and tabers aplenty: 





In the next room were lots of accessories, including some very beautiful shoes:



I did the rooms a little out of order, and the next room I viewed featured 1930s eveningwear.  In the 30s, waistlines reappeared, and beads and sequins were replaced by lace and textured fabrics.





Wouldn't you just love to have this cocktail cabinet in your house:




I then walked back into the 1920s for another look at its sparkly, drop-waisted styles: 









Apparently societal standards were a little different in the 1920s:


I then ventured upstairs, where fireworks were the inspiration for the motifs in the clothing:


The next room showed more 30s fashions, with florals and colour coming to the fore: 




The exhibition cards explained how the fashions of the 30s inspired some fashions of the 70s, with examples of 30s (pink) and 70s (blue) fashions side by side:


You can see that the 70s dress is inspired by the 30s dress in the floaty fabric, cap sleeves and frills.  In the 1930s, artificial silk (rayon) also came into favour.




There was mention of the bias cut gowns that were popular at the time:



Here is a mannequin taking a load off in her 30s finery:


The house was decked out with "fireworks" on the upper floor to complement the fashions:


And what soiree would be complete without a bottle of champers:


So take your hat off, grab a drink and enjoy these gorgeous fashions:



192 Hotham St
Elsternwick VIC 3185

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