Museum of Vancouver’s Art Deco fashion exhibit is downright Downton and glamorously Gatsby-esque

Photography courtesy of Museum of Vancouver
Photography courtesy of Museum of Vancouver

We do say, the Museum of Vancouver’s exhibit “Art Deco Chic: Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars” is well-timed to assuage period piece poppers who have a while to wait for Season 3 of Downton Abbey (to be in the throes of the roaring twenties!) and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby remake.

The fashion exhibit, which runs until September 23, 2012, features some 73 mannequins adorned in frocks from early 1920s through the late 1930s—those fit for tea and tittle-tattle by day and those for accepting marriage proposals by night. There are designs by French haute couture pioneer Charles Frederick Worth, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet and Elsa Schiaparelli. One black Chanel day dress which was featured in English and German Vogue issues in 1928 seems particularly perfect for mourning, Turkish diplomats or otherwise.

The majority of pieces come from the private collections of curators Claus Jahnke and Ivan Sayers. Sayers, who heads up the Original Costume Museum Society, has one of the largest and most extensive collections of privately owned historic clothing in Canada.

The exhibit’s opening party earlier this month saw those younger than Lady Sybil and those as advanced as the Dowager Countess of Grantham bedecked in beaded column dresses and cloche hats. A few guests even indulged in dancing the Charleston. We’d give our inheritance to see Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley shake that kind of leg.

The museum has a number of exhibit-related events scheduled, including a High Tea planned for Mother’s Day weekend. To which the Dowager says, “What’s a weekend?”

“Art Deco Chic: Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars” is on at the Museum of Vancouver until September 23, 2012. For more information visit