What does the discovery of King Tut’s tomb have to do with the fashion of the 1920’s? Everything! The discovery of King Tut became one of the major influences of fashion, art and design in the Art Deco period.
On November 4, 1922 Howard Carter and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon discovered ancient Egyptian tomb that had lain undisturbed for over 3,000 years. The discovery of tomb of the boy King Tutankhamun and the mysteries inside created one of the biggest cultural events of the 20th century.
Egyptomania & ‘Tut’mania swept the world in the 1920s after the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. The designs of Ancient Egypt became one of the major influences on the Art Deco style. Ancient Egyptian motifs were quickly integrated into fashion, makeup, architecture and Hollywood. Fashion designers incorporated Egyptian Colors, patterns, and jewelry into the fashions of the 1920’s. Businesses eager to cash in on the latest craze marketed everything from soap to eye liner with Egyptian images.
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The pyramids, warm, shifting sands, palm trees. We all romanticize ancient Egypt. I became fascinated with Egypt as a kid, when I saw the 1932 version of The Mummy with Boris Karloff. I loved the scene where they went back in time and explained how his love for Princess Ankhesenamon led to his horrible fate.
Although not the first time in history when the west was consumed with all things Egyptian, it was the 1920s where this love of Egyptian history was most intense.It all has to do with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. In 1922, Howard Carter
When archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, it set off a global firestorm. The beginnings of the decade’s Egyptomania started five years earlier with Cleopatra starring Theda Bara. Bara’s transparent, wispy costumes became iconic at a time when fashion was turning away from corseted silhouettes.
While King Tutankhamun took the world stage in the press, he also took over in the fashion world. In a February 25 article in the New York Times, one fashion guru pronounced that America was in a better mood to produce styles than Europe due to World War I, and this year the American shows were dominated by Egyptian fashions.
It was the archaeological triumph of the 20th century – and Carter recognised its significance at once. But recording his initial thoughts later that night, he did not foresee the extraordinary impact that this “vanished civilisation” would have on the civilisation of his own time.
Fashion inevitably looks to history to interpret and re-interpret previous fashion trends. At the recent SAG Awards, I noticed 2 Egyptian-influenced dresses, worn by Toni Collette and Nicole Kidman: As I’m never content to stay in the current era for long, let’s go back 100 years to trace a century of Egyptomania….
For centuries, Ancient Egypt has held the fascination of the public and continues to inspire artists and designers alike. With the discoveries of Egyptian tombs, and the treasures within, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the exotically opulent lives of the Pharaohs were beyond anyone’s imagination.
This is the second article in my 1920s Week series. On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the first of sixteen stone steps that led down into the tomb of Tutankhamen, a minor pharaoh of ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Tutankhamen, only nine when he came to the throne, died in his late teens…
It may not boast glittering treasures from ancient Egypt, but a new Tutankhamun exhibition shows how the discovery of the boy king’s tomb in 1922 had a huge impact on popular culture across the globe. It was one of the one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century.
From ‘secrets of the sphinx’ magic shows to pharoah romance novels, Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 kicked off an Egypt craze in the 1920s and 30s. Now 21st-century visitors can walk like Egyptians at the Ashmolean’s King Tut exhibition in Oxford until 2 November