Hollywood Style: Boardwalk Runway


How 1920s fashion is inspiring both fall TV screens and spring’s designer runways.

Mad Men’s so last year when it comes to capturing the  fashion zeitgeist. Betty Draper-inspired frocks may still dangle on department-store racks, but Europe’s Spring 2011 collections are trending away from curve-hugging mid-century dresses. Instead, luxury labels from Louis Vuitton and Prada to Balenciaga and Chanel are reaching deeper into American history for inspiration. Their newest fashions showcase such Prohibition-era looks as lavish beadwork, dropped waists and loose, low necklines.

In Hollywood, no one is showcasing this trend better than John Dunn and Lisa Padovani, costume designers for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. One of the fall’s most highly-anticipated shows, the early twentieth-century drama is fast gaining attention for its style quotient.

“I love this period because it’s about clothing that enhances and caresses the body,” Dunn says. “The 1920s was the last time in history when everyday people could wear clothing that was handcrafted and beautifully embellished.”

The show’s two female leads, Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) and Margaret (Kelly Macdonald), not only are competing for the attention of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) but also are fierce fashion rivals as Margaret’s social status climbs and her beaded-gown collection expands.

With Mad Men fading away until July, Boardwalk costumers are hoping to take the reins and continue inspiring fashion worldwide.

“Recently, runways have been pretty structured; not a lot of print or detail work,” Padovani says. “I anticipate this trend coming back big time with beaded chiffon dresses and gowns. It’s feminine and very sexy.”

Watch your back Joan Holloway, there are some new fashionistas in town.

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