The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is offering an antidote to the winter doldrums with two new special exhibitions that allow visitors to experience the colorful styles of the 1920s along with exotic, tropical scenes from the heart of the Caribbean.
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Fabulous Flappers: Fashion from the Ellie Laubner Collection and Haitian Art from the Rodale Family Collection will run from Sunday, February 3 through April 14, 2013, with a festive opening party planned for Saturday, February 9, from 6 to 8 p.m., complete with Roaring 20’s themed food, music, and dress-up.
Fashion from the Ellie Laubner Collection
Step into the Museum’s Scheller Gallery and be transported back in time to the fascinating decade of the 1920s, renowned for its energy, excitement, and ostentation.
The clothing, accessories, and jewelry of the period, presented in this exhibition, show off in dramatic fashion the sociological changes taking place during this transitional decade and the liberating role of the Flappers—young women who delighted in defying the social norms of the era by bobbing their hair and wearing short skirts—as American society stepped into the modern age.
Approximately 150 items worn by Flappers and their beaus to beaches, football games, tea dances, weddings, night clubs, and speakeasies will be on display.
- Evening Gowns: More than a dozen shimmering evening gowns dripping with rhinestones, sequins, and beads reflect the sheer excitement and exhilaration of this flamboyant period. You won’t want to miss the exquisite handwork featured on two designer gowns from the houses of Worth and Revillin.
- Lingerie: Learn how the ideal figure evolved from the voluptuous lines of the Art Nouveau period to the boyish figure of the Art Deco era, and discover what women wore to create this new garconne figure.
- Bridal Wear: Observe the wedding portraits of two beautiful 1920's brides and their actual wedding gowns and headpieces adorned with traditional wax orange blossoms.
- Sportswear: Sneak a peek at the risqué California one-piece bathing suit and learn the fate of brazen young flappers who had the audacity to appear on public beaches in these indecent suits!
- Handbags and Vanity Cases: Dozens of handbags made of beads, mesh, and leather will be on display. As flappers emulated their favorite motion picture stars they began to experiment with makeup, creating a demand for vanity cases in all shapes and sizes.
- Footwear: Browse through elegant footwear worn by “well-heeled” flappers. Find out why shoes had instep straps and the connection between flappers and galoshes.
- Jewelry: Marvel at the extensive costume jewelry display that includes long strands of flapper beads and Art Deco-style necklaces. Examine samples of Egyptian-inspired jewelry and learn why it achieved popularity during the 1920s.
In 2009, Ellie Laubner of Allentown donated more than 2,000 items spanning more than 200 years from her private collection to the Allentown Art Museum. Ellie, who has a BS degree in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University, began collecting vintage fashions when her mother-in-law presented her with evening gowns, beaded bags, and eyeglasses. This seminal event inspired a thirty-year quest to acquire clothing and accessories that reflect the styles, events, technology, decorative arts, and the sociological changes taking place in our society. From 1986 to 1992 Ellie taught “History of Costume” and “Color, Line, and Design” at Northampton Community College. She has written two books: Fashions of the Roaring Twenties and Collectible Fashions of the Turbulent 1930s.”
Programs and Events
February 6 (Wednesday): Noon
Walk-through of the FABULOUS FLAPPERS! exhibit, with Ellie Laubner
Museum visitors can join the collector of the fabulous fashions in our FLAPPERS! exhibit as she leads a gallery tour. This casual talk will run approximately forty-five minutes and is free with Museum admission.
February 9 (Saturday): 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Opening Party for FLAPPERS and HAITIAN ART
Join the Lehigh Valley’s art and design crowds for the kick-off party celebrating our two exciting new special exhibitions: Fabulous Flappers: Fashion from the Ellie Laubner Collection and Haitian Art from the Rodale Family Collection. Themed hors d’oeuvres by Karen Hunter and a cash bar will fuel the evening’s festivities. Live music by the Barrel House Brothers—traditional jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. Come dressed in your best flapper or Caribbean island fashions. FREE to Allentown Art Museum members; nonmember tickets are $15. RSVP to 610-432-4333, ext 129, or go to ticketleap.com and search “Allentown Art Museum” events to buy tickets
February 10 (Sunday): 1 p.m.
Ellie Laubner: “Flappers and the Fashions that Made Them Fabulous”
Was there ever a decade in America that was bigger and bolder than the 1920s? Technology, trains, and Model T’s moved the country faster. The first radio networks brought jazz into homes, and the stock market rose like the Flapper’s hemlines. Did fashion fuel this fire or just reflect it? Lehigh Valley collector Ellie Laubner offers her insight into the fashions that allowed the New Woman to brazenly give tradition a cold and often bare shoulder as she moved forward into the twentieth century. Ellie has been on a thirty-year quest to acquire clothing and accessories that reflect the styles, events, and sociological changes taking place in our society. From 1986 to 1992, Ellie taught “The History of Costume” and “Color, Line, and Design” at Northampton Community College. She has authored two books, Fashions of the Roaring Twenties and Collectible Fashions of the Turbulent 1930s.
$5 members, $15 nonmembers. To register call 610-432-4333, ext 110, or go to ticketleap.com and search “Allentown Art Museum” events to buy tickets
March 17 (Sunday): 1 p.m.
Michael Lasser: “ ‘But Oh What Those Five Feet Can Do’—Popular Songs, the Flapper, and 1920s America”
In the aftermath of World War I, Americans decided to lighten up and simply have one heck of a great time. The embodiment of that devotion to carpe diem was the Flapper, who represented all that was new—for women, and about love, sex, and romance. Everything was possible because American women saw themselves as carefree and eternally youthful. The songs of the times captured this upbeat feeling with unerring accuracy, affection, and buoyancy, and give those of us who have come after a feel for what it must have been like before the bubble popped in 1929. Michael Lasser is a lecturer, writer, broadcaster, critic, and teacher. He and Philip Furia are coauthors of the recent book America’s Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. $5 members, $15 nonmembers. To register call 610-432-4333, ext 110, or go to ticketleap.com and search “Allentown Art Museum” events to buy tickets
March 24 (Sunday): Noon – 4 p.m.
Winter Family Festival: “A Roaring Good Time!”
Bring the family to enjoy a 1920s-themed afternoon inspired by our special exhibition Fabulous Flappers: Fashion from the Ellie Laubner Collection. Daddy-O’s and Dolls will be keen on listening in to the Spirit of the Airwaves Players (S.O.A.P.) when they re-create the magic of old-time radio drama right before your eyes! Adults and children will dig the hands-on art projects and music by Grammy-nominated jazz singer Janet Lawson. Winter Festival is part of Free Sundays at the Museum.