CHAP Spring 21, out now, looks back at the Roaring Twenties and compares that thrilling decade to the 2020s.
There has been much talk recently of the imminent dawning of a golden, post-pandemic cultural explosion in the arts and a return to the hedonism of the Roaring Twenties that came just after the First World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic. Our new edition delves into this first flowering of music, dance, literature, art and cinema of the 1920s, starting with the force of nature that was Josephine Baker, who took Paris by storm in 1925 as an exotic dancer and went on to serve the nation as a Resistance agent during WWII, earning her the Croix de Guerre, Medal of the Resistance and 21-gun salute at her funeral in Paris in 1975.
The dawn of nightclub culture began in London in the Roaring Twenties and Chris Sullivan, himself a noted Soho nightclub impresario in the 1980s, describes the arrival of flappers on the London scene, taught to dance the Charleston by a visiting Louise Brooks in clubs like Cave of The Golden Calf and the Cafe de Paris. The Bright Young Things paved the way for all the subsequent denizens of the underground shebeens of Soho and Mayfair, aided by the copious amounts of cocaine available on every street corner.
Sartorially, the 1920s left a lasting legacy on the world, from straw boaters to boating blazers, co-respondent shoes and spats, not to mention the absurdly wide hems on Oxford Bags. CHAP Spring 21 provides everything one needs to know about how to achieve the Roaring Twenties look and where to acquire each clothing item. We also meet Japanese menswear designer Kazuki Kodaka, whose brand Adjustable Costume purveys an ever-expanding range strongly influenced by the 1920s. Grey Fox Blog‘s David Evans meets two style experts who explain the influences on fashion of global events leading up to the Roaring Twenties, and what we can learn from them about the future of our own era’s fashion.
Our main interview is with Patricia Highsmith’s first biographer Andrew Wilson, who assesses the writer’s continuing influence in the centenary of her birth in 1921. Another burst of artistic energy that flowed out of the 1920s was the British Modernist movement, spearheaded by Eric Ravilious, tutored by Paul Nash during the 1920s at the RCA, and we take a wander around the Sussex countryside that formed the subjects of many of his paintings.
Vintage Egyptologists John and Colleen Darnell outline the many ways in which 1920s fashion, architecture and interiors were influenced by ancient Egypt in ‘Pharaohs and Flappers’, illustrating the point by wearing 1920s wardrobes in the Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, New York. Our antiques section examines how Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland created Bakelite, the ideal new form of plastic that went on to adorn the wrists, necks and fingers of every 20s debutante from Berlin to Los Angeles. Our German correspondents report from the heady heaven of Boheme Sauvage, a German party night devoted entirely to the Roaring Twenties.
It is no superlative to assert that critics, scholars and fans all agree that the Marx Brothers were among the funniest and most influential comedians of the 20th century, and while their influence on fashion was thankfully not so huge, we celebrate all their achievements in the new issue. We also meet the doyenne of Talking Pictures TV, who reveals her continuing passion for bringing the golden age of cinema to British television screens for free, against the might of other more expensive television platforms purveying less agreeable entertainment.
Other home entertainments covered are drinking and eating, with a round-up of the best non-Scottish single malt whiskies and instructions on how to make a soufflé with nerves of steel. We have more book reviews than usual, including the third instalment of Rupert Everett’s salacious series of memoirs and an Agatha Christie homage.
All this plus Anna May Wong (above) the first Chinese actress to break into Hollywood, a user’s guide to hotels, should one ever be able to visit one again, Chappish video game Bertram Fiddle, an interview with 2020’s British Sewing Bee winner Clare Bradley, The Chap Tarot, reader’s Sartorial Lockdown discoveries and a brand-new advice column Ask The Chap.