The art of dressing: fashion and portraits in the Twenties Hattie Hawksworth takes a look at depictions of fashion by photographers, painters and illustrators from the Twenties through to the Fifties. Some images featured influenced the way women dressed while others are just a fantastic reflection of the mode du jour. This time: the Twenties. Christian Schad- Sonja 1928 German born Schad painted this picture titled Sonja in 1928. Not much is known about the sitter, other than that she was a secretary- she appears unaccompanied in a ‘fashionable’ café, and even at the end of the Twenties this would have been seen as risqué. Sonja’s appearance is interesting firstly because of her very short hair typical of the period. She appears almost androgynous, save for the presence of the carefully painted corsage on her shoulder, and her dress is simple, almost severe with the typical high neck. The uncovered knee and sheer chiffon are ‘flapper’ details showing the recent drastic changes in women’s fashion. In Sonja Schad illustrates the new look of the Twenties woman who displays independence through adopting boyishness. But there is also an undercurrent of female sensuality- depicted in the flower, and exposed limbs. 2 Responses Sarah May 3rd, 2009 Nice inspiring article ! Incidentally, I’ve just seen the Coco Avant Chanel film. It is about the early life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and the path that led her to open her first shop in 1910; but it also does a good job at showing what it was like to be an avant garde convention-defying women in these times. Thank you for talking about Nancy Cunard in the article, she was indeed most stylish. Reading your article has prompted me to try and get my hand on some of her poetry !