In May last year, director Baz Luhrmann dazzled cinema audiences with his opulent interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. To Luhrmann, capturing the unbridled hedonism of the ‘roaring Twenties’ meant embracing the opulence of the era at every level of production, from draping his cast in authentic clothing from the Prada fashion archives to splashing out $105 million on lavish sets that required months of construction.
The extravagant project paralleled the glittering excess of the prosperous interwar period depicted in the film, and reignited public interest in the tastes of the era and the striking Art Deco design that characterised it. Television, too, has played its part in a growing interest in the movement, with antique jewellery expert John Joseph putting a growing demand for engagement rings of the era down to “the popularity of Downtown Abbey”. Add to this the fact that Eltham Palace, the former childhood home of Henry VIII and renovated in Art Deco style in 1933, draws an average 60,000 visitors a year, and it seems that this much-loved aesthetic is as popular today as ever.