Phoenix Art Museum opens Modern Spirit. Fashion of the 1920s

Phoenix Art Museum presents Modern Spirit. Fashion of the 1920s, an exhibition on view September 22, 2012 and runs through February 10, 2013 in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum. Featuring more than 40 ensembles and accessories by more than a dozen iconic fashion designers including Gabrielle Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet and Jean Patou, the exhibition provides a stunning overview of the decade’s creative and revolutionary garments that continue to impact fashion today

Phoenix Art Museum

The 1920s is the earliest historical period that defines how clothing appears today. Leading fashion designers Chanel and Vionnet embraced women’s new freedom by creating garments with innovative cuts in fabrics that established modern fashion. In 1925, for the first time in recorded history, dresses that revealed the knees were acceptable in fashionable society.

Modern Spirit: Fashion from the 1920s is drawn from Phoenix Art Museum’s nationally acclaimed fashion design archive and private collections. In addition, the exhibition will also feature original silent film footage, a commissioned original soundtrack of period music and Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines from Phoenix Art Museum’s extensive archives. The dramatic installation places fashion among the architecture, decorative arts and an automobile of the era providing a comprehensive context to the design, culture and literature of the time.

Fashion of the 1920s reflects the jazz era’s exuberance and elegance, and the works featured in this exhibition expand on the breadth of the decade beyond the traditional notions of the flapper to reveal the tremendous range of individuality and styles of the decade. From stunning examples of art deco styles and beaded eveningwear to perfectly proportioned daywear to elegant and freeing leisurewear and sports-inspired styles, this exhibition lends insights into the fashions that resulted from women’s increased range of roles in society.

Founded in 1966, Phoenix Art Museum’s fashion design collection is notable for its quality and comprehensiveness and is comprised of more than 5,000 objects of American and European men’s, women’s and children’s dress and accessories dating from the late 17th century to the present. The Museum organizes three exhibitions a year in the Kelly Ellman Fashion Design Gallery featuring objects from the permanent collection as well as international fashion houses, collectors and museums. Phoenix Art Museum is one of only a handful of art museums in the country with a long and continuous active fashion program.

To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call the 24-hour recorded information line at (602) 257-1222.

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