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Art deco chic features prominent dress designers between the wars

It's an era known for its enduring elegance, its linear symmetry and its stylish modernity – and now some of its most stunning women's fashions go on show at the Museum of Vancouver's Art Deco Chic: Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars.

Co-curated by fashion historians and meticulous collectors Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke, the show features creations by some of the most prominent designers of the time, including Chanel, Lanvin, Vionnet, Patou, and Schiaparelli – whose styles are enjoying a renaissance thanks to white-hot films and TV shows such as The Artist, Midnight in Paris, and Boardwalk Empire.

But they're not all imports; locally-made items include a black beaded gown worn to the opening of the Commodore in 1929, and a red and gold lamé evening dress that depicts the battles of the Trojan War.

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Others carry wonderful tales, such as the slim skirt and jacket worn by a young American astronomy student the day she met Einstein; an Elsa Schiaparelli wool-crepe coat that features brass buttons designed by Salvador Dali; and a coat owned by a Bavarian actress who later moved to the U. S. and married a Polish count.

Of course not everyone at the time lived that large; so the show also features more modest items such as a stylish navy polka dot dress made in 1927 by the Aurora Dress Company of Vancouver.

Art Deco Chic is at the Museum of Vancouver until Sept. 23 (museumofvancouver.ca)

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