The Roaring Twenties have returned big time — you’ll find echoes of the hedonistic decade in fashion, the arts and in glamorous dining. So now is the time to jazz up your home with a splash of art deco in your décor.
- © Rex features
For inspiration, consider the wealth of recent film and theatre projects reviving the era: Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan are starring in the much-anticipated remake of The Great Gatsby (in cinemas from December 26, 2012); and West End theatre is getting in on the act with a revival of Singin’ in the Rain, set during the Hollywood transition to talkies in 1927.
Plays, such as Hay Fever at the Noël Coward Theatre, recall the age of the smart country house party, while at the same theatre, Gatz: The Great Gatsby Uncut, will open from June 8, putting every word of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel on stage.
Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping has been transformed into a Twenties speakeasy until May 19 for an immersive adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with theatergoers invited to dress in period costume and participate in an evening of jazz-age entertainment.
Some of the capital’s coolest hotspots have drawn on the Twenties for style ideas. From speakeasy-style bars Whistling Shop and Nightjar, both tucked away in Shoreditch back streets, to the intimate booths in Soho’s Milk & Honey bar, the Prohibition vibe is hot news.
At the Royal Institute of British Architects’ restaurant in Portland Place, customers can enjoy lunch in a light-flooded room that is so on-trend Twenties, with sumptuous semi-circular banquettes, wood and marble floors, and full-height windows. Or why not spoil yourself in Mayfair with a cocktail at Claridge’s? This stunning, classic art deco hotel in Brook Street has architecture that epitomises the image, with polished, curved carpentry complemented by silver-leaf ceilings, green glass chandeliers, Lalique panelling and red leather seats.
Art deco lovers adore the foyer of the former Daily Express building in Fleet Street, which can be visited during Open House weekends. In its newspaper heyday it wowed visitors with its silver snake stair handles and richly decorated walls of chrome and Vitrolite under a spectacular fan ceiling — all commissioned by influential press baron Lord Beaverbrook.
Art deco was indeed the style of press barons, ocean liners and the movies, with new electric lighting, fast cars and fast bars, cocktails and a promiscuous attitude to consumption. It seduced homemakers then — and it is doing it again today.
Get the Twenties look at home
It’s easy with a fantastic selection of Twenties-themed interiors available to suit varied budgets. But keep key points in mind when picking your pieces. Pay close attention to the shape and fabric of your chairs. From its Primrose Hill studio, Somerville Scott based its latest upholstery collection on American TV hit Boardwalk Empire. Its Floradora and Sazerac swivel chairs are named after Twenties cocktails and the deep-purple and orange colours and opulent textures make more than a nod to the era.
The works of design pioneer Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier, are back in the hotseat with reproductions of the 1928 LC7 Swivel Chair (£462) and the 1928 LC8 Stool (£295) bestsellers at Iconic Interiors.
Choose dark, moody, luxe colours for your walls. Nono’s Deco Fabulous wallpaper is fun and fitting. Geometrics, a sultry flock with a fan motif, shimmers with subtle gold accent dot detail. For a cheeky touch try FiFi, featuring prints of a Twenties pin-up girl (£60-£100).
Angular chrome and glass lighting, which is etched, sandblasted or enamelled, is a must. The Ferruccio Laviani Tati Table Light at Conran (£381) or the Arzak art deco ceiling light at Period Style Lighting (£240) fit the bill.
A bargain buy is the M&S Half Moon table lamp (£59). Another signature addition to art deco fittings is glass adorned with nature motifs — a modern take is the Charlotte Tiffany pendant from Very (£32).
Seal the makeover with the right accessories. For just £49.99, Argos’s art deco-style fan-shaped wall mirror is quintessential. And Bouf has a great selection of vintage posters based on Twenties adverts, from Aristoc stockings to Cyma watches (£14.95).