Tomas Alonso’s silver tea service (photo by Craig Dillon)
Although Art Deco reached its apex of influence during the Interwar period, its rich colours, bold geometries and lavish materials (such as sterling silver and ebony) have never really disappeared from fashion.
It is, essentially, timeless. But every once and a while, our collective fascination with the movement’s decor and architecture reaches a new fever pitch. Like right now. The resurgence is the direct result of Baz Luhrmann’s blockbuster adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby (the sixth such adaption of the 1925 novel, which comes out this Friday). Suddenly, everyone wants an air of the Jazz Age, in their clothes (think shimmering flapper skirts) and in their decor.
During the Victorian era, hand-blown, intricately patterned glass was a stylish sign of wealth. European aristocrats and American tycoons used it to transform their salons into jewel boxes, lining the rooms with gleaming vases, goblets and treys.
But, similar to carriage making and shoe cobbling, the craft fell out of favour in the early 20th century, when more modern, steam-lined luxuries came into fashion. In the US, there were over 1,000 studios working with cut glass during the 1800s. By 1908, there were only 100.
The sad fact is that I can not, under any circumstances, afford to buy a house in Toronto. I can barely afford a new pair of runners or wine with dinner. Yet, like a tween girl (or boy) with fantasies of being whisked away by Justin Bieber, I can dream. And I have a serious real estate crush at the moment. It’s a peaked-roofed, brick Victorian row house in Kensington Market, with a garden in the front and bright, clean-lined interiors.