Putting on the Ritz – frocks, feathers and fabulous Art Deco fashion

This month, more than 40,000 people will dust off their spats, get out their pearls and gather in Napier to take part in the annual Tremain’s Art Deco Festival. The five-day Festival runs from February 14 to 18 and with 250 events on offer, there are plenty of opportunities to dress to impress!

What is Art Deco style?

Art Deco is generally regarded as being the period or movement from the early 1920s until the outbreak of WWII in 1939. It was a time marked by enormous social and economic change, and the emergence of women’s lib and improvements in technology all adding up to a new, more modern way of life.

For women, flappers, silver screen goddesses and sportswomen are your style icons, always inspired by luxury and glamour. For men, think suits, vests and pleated pants. And for everyone, hats are the quintessential Deco outfit accessory.

If you’re stuck for something to wear or are confused about what constitutes Art Deco style, don’t panic, help is at hand. Napier has many costume hire and Art Deco clothing stores that will be only too happy to help you ‘put on the Ritz’ with 1920s and 1930s panache.

Charleston Chic in Tennyson Street’s Masonic Hotel building has racks of Art Deco clothing and accessories for the most stylish of men and women. Whether you need a trilby or a fedora, beads or sequins, a dress or a suit, they have everything you need to do Deco in style. (Lee-Ann Freeman, owner of Charleston Chic pictured left)

Decorum Deco Attire in Hershell Street is a vintage clothing store known for its beautiful Deco inspired fashion including hats, dresses and accessories to ‘Deco’ any outfit.

Lily Maude Art Deco Hire is located at Elaine’s on Emerson, 76 Emerson St. Open from 29 January to 23 February, it’s where you’ll find bespoke Deco inspired fashion.

The Napier Antiques Centre on Tennyson Street is a treasure trove of Art Deco clothing and accessories sourced from around the world. Check out their range of beautiful beaded Gatsby dresses, with each bead having been lovingly sewn on (store pictured right), their huge display of gorgeous jewellery and their selection of menswear (pictured below).

The Art Deco Shop in Tennyson Street has accessories and hats galore for men, women and children.

Green Revolution in Hastings Street is a second-hand clothes store that also stocks footwear and accessories for women. Delve through the racks for some Art Deco inspiration.

The Recycle Boutique in Dalton Street often has pre-loved vintage and Deco treasures on its racks at affordable prices. See Mandy and the team to put together a full look head to toe (store pictured above).

The Napier Central Store, at 74 Hastings Street is where you’ll find dresses and mountains of accessories suitable for an Art Deco event.

Chris Wiig in Emerson Street has an amazing selection of Art Deco menswear including boater hats, bow ties and a huge selection of blazers to dress up any dapper man (Chris Wiig, right, pictured in store).


Words by Sarah Cameron – www.sarahcameron.co.nz
Photos by Florence Charvin – www.fotographiebyflorencecharvin.com