In opposition to the floral, curvilinear and recharged modernism of the Art Nouveau from the belle époque previous to the First World War, the art decó rose to become a more stylized modernity, linked to jazz, to the short-skirted flappers, to the first race cars, to the soviet construction, and in general, to the dynamism inherent to the decade of the 1920's. Its official birthplace was Paris, within the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (April-October 1925), where the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens -who would later become the first President of the Union des Artistes Modernes- built the Tourism Pavilion. Like a modern apostle of art déco, Mallet-Stevens became interested in cinema and some of his collaborations with the Frech director Marcel L´Herbier became exemplar and resulted in films like L'inhumaine (1924) and Le vertige (1926), movies that wreaked astonishment in their time. Just to point out the sophisticated scenery of L'inhumaine, we need to remember that Mallet-Stevens was in charge of the all the external scenarios, but it was the cubist painter Fernand Léger who made the laboratories, Pierre Chéreau was in charge of the furniture while Lalique, Puigforcat and Jean Luce provided the decorative objects, Raymond Templier the jewels, and Paul Poiret the wardrobe. An unusual combination of talents aimed at building scenic environments based on the division of labors in agreement with what the painter Charles Dufresne meant when he said "the art of 1900 belonged to the realm of fantasy, the one of 1925, to the age of reason".
The preferred materials of this new aesthetic were steel, glass, ceramics, noble woods, and ivory, while its canon was a geometric elegance based on simplicity. Its environments were somewhat related to futurism, cubism, to the music of Igor Stravinsky and the stylized figure of Josephine Baker, who enjoyed a great success in the scenarios of the time. Hollywood studios, always vigilant to European fashions, made their technicians study these innovative films arriving from Europe with attention, even though they were rarely premiered in public movie theaters. This way, art déco arrived to studios of the capital of the movie business and to its sceneries with representations of luxury hotels, apartments of millionaires, or to the choral performances of its musicals, while in Chicago and New York elegant skyscrapers where being built with steel and glass, as requested by Mies van der Rohe. The irruption of art déco into the film industry goes in parallel with its maturity as sophisticated art in the "Happy Twenties", which will come to an end with the Great Depression. But before this, its influence would reach the fascist Italy and their movies called "of white phones", whose actions normally took place in luxurious bourgeois environments full of amorous entanglements, and even some Spanish comedies filmed in the years prior to the Civil War. In summary, although art déco was originated in Paris, at this point it had become an international style and a universal canon of elegant aestethic.
In 1925 in Paris, the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs was inaugurated, where among other things the creations of Sonia Delaunay o Rodchenko where shown, from the most imaginative to the most functional. This was a key moment for the launching and visibility of the so called art déco, as the essential idea was to prepare sophisticated products, frequently of premium class, fabricated in series, as it was the case of the alliance of Delaunay with Mertz & Co, the Dutch department stores that decided to manufacture her designs.
In this context, fashion would have a key role, especially among those "New women" who, being more free and conscious about their role in world, also sought for new ways of being represented. As a matter of fact, these women aspired to dress in fashion, a fashion that had little or nothing to do with strict codes of dress of their mothers and grandmothers. It was a free and imaginative fashion, sometimes inspired in the exotic, the Russian Ballets, or the vangard movements. These productions, fully inscribed in the spirit of the déco, would be the ones to also revolutionize the scenery of these "New women" who decide to dress in déco, and thus, to get dressed in modernity. Fill their houses and lives with that new spirit that has much of artistic.
The conference will focus in the aesthetic changes in fashion and in consume, its relationship with the "New women" wearing their hair a la a la garçon, tube dresses, and using new representation strategies, following a trail that will lead us to all the great designers like Schiaparelli or Sonia Delaunay herself.
This conference proposes a planetary trip through the art déco. A movement with its epicenter situated in Paris in 1925, and specifically in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs, when déco crystalizes in France through a number of architectonic, plastic, and graphic works. It is also worth highlighting the things done on other fields like furniture, stained glass, fabrics, or tapestries. These are the years of Louis Barillet, Cassandre, Da Silva Bruhns, Sonia Delaunay, Jean Dupas, Elena Ízcue, Pierre Legrain, Tamara de Lempicka, Robert Mallet-Stevens, the Martel brothers, Jean-Charles Moreux, Georges-Henri Pingusson, François Pompon, Michel Roux-Spitz… In that Paris is where the Spanish illustrators Eduardo García Benito, Carlos Sáenz de Tejada, and Tono will succeed. During the period between wars the French déco is pushing and becomes very visible, specially in the field of civil architecture -with the formalization of the set of buildings created in Paris for the Exposition of 1937, some of the located in Chaillot hill- and in the religious field, without forgetting about the microcosmos represented by the great steamers. In literature, Paul Morand would become to example of art déco.
In United States of America, déco would become streamline mainly in New York -remember the Rockefeller Center- and Chicago, but also in Miami and the West Coast. The international expansion of déco is documented through the path of some of its capitals, and apart from those already mentioned, we have to add in Europe the cities of Madrid -with emblematic examples like the Barceló cinema and the Europa cinema created by Luis Gutiérrez Soto, or the Capitol building of Eced and Martínez Feduchi-, Barcelona, San Sebastián or Valencia in Spain-although I will also speak about other Spanish peripheral populations like Alicante, Almería or Pamplona-. Also London and other british cities, Berlin and other German cities, Rome and Milan in Italy, Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, or Bucharest in Romania; in Africa we find Tangier, Casablanca, Dakar or Asmara; in Asia Ankara, Shanghai or Hanoi; in Latin America Mexico, La Habana, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro…