Putting on the Ritz - A 1925 Halloween

by Derek Holser, Tastemaker in Residence

It was a year to remember, and for some, a year to forget.

On June 6, the Chrysler Company was founded. On October 1, Mount Rushmore was dedicated. On October 13, Margaret Thatcher was born. On March 18, the Tri-State Tornado hit Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people. On November 20, Robert Kennedy was born. On July 18, Adolf Hitler published Mein Kampf.

The year was 1925. And on April 10, F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby.

For better or worse, The Great Gatsby has come to symbolize and define an era in American history, an era known as The Roaring Twenties. Fueled by economic inequalities (of a much starker disparity than is currently bemoaned in today’s America), a full-scale prohibition on alcohol (and its unintended consequence - the rapid increase in underground nightclubs, prostitution, gambling, and other vices), and a widespread fascination with glamorous fashion driven by the introduction of “talkies”, motion pictures with sound, the year 1925 was, if anything, a decadent and debaucherous time for the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Such was the influence of the formal style that Mr. E.B. Craft wore a tuxedo to work on his talking movie machine, the Vitaphone:  

Nearly 90 years after Mr. Craft dressed like a penguin to demonstrate his invention, one of his successors in the craft (pun intended), Baz Luhrmann used a 30th generation Vitaphone (or something similar) to dazzle moviegoers with an over-the-top (does Baz do anything but) retelling of the sordid life of Jay Gatsby, played deftly and adroitly by Leonardo DiCaprio.

“Here’s mud in your eye, old sport.”  

“Here’s mud in your eye, old sport.”

 

Of course, the Luhrmann film was as much spectacle as story, with dazzling costumes and stunning sets, trumped-up palaces and free-flowing keggers. It was the absolute distillation of the perceived prohibition-era life for the 1%.

It was a retro-show, in this era where retro is hip, and vintage is a way of life. And while I’m sure the costumes from The Great Gatsby were very popular last year, what better way to demonstrate your retro-ness in the mini-cycle age of fads in which we now live than to go Gatsby for this year’s Halloween. How avant garde! How original!

So, with Leo and Carey Mulligan as inspiration, I encourage you to select your Halloween attire from the Fitzgerald Collection (if only that were a thing), and party like it’s 1925. The best part of all, if you pick up your wardrobe from one of the examples below, the quality is so divine that your attire will still be wearable on that biggest gala of all. The 100th Anniversary of Mr. Fitzgerald’s opus, in 2025!

Or try vintagedancer.com, where the full compliment of Gatsby style men’s wear is detailed:

And, if you happen to be in Beirut, here’s the perfect destination to show off your 1925 style! 

Yes, that’s right. Beirut. 

1925. It’s still all the rage!