Favours and Carnival Novelties
At special events throughout history there has always been the desire to augment festivities with novelties of all kinds, especially at special occasions like New Year and weddings. Toward the end of the 19th century as dances, balls, galas and the new concept of the smart restaurant proliferated on both sides of the Atlantic, special nights were introduced where a wide range of gifts or carnival novelties were given away as souvenirs to make the night special and stand out. Later, these ‘favours’ became indicative of the madcap nocturnal fun and frolics of the Jazz Age and the 1920s.
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The cult of sunbathing
Nowadays, despite health scares, most of us yearn to lounge on a beach in the summer, wear skimpy beachwear, dowse ourselves in delicious smelling oils and sprays and acquire a gorgeous dark tan designed to become the envy of our friends. But it is strange to think that sunbathing is a relatively recent pastime, so when did it really become fashionable and why?
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The ‘Boudoir’ Doll Craze
During the Jazz age, Europe and America were immersed in a ‘doll craze’. By the mid 1920s, all smart women had to have a ‘poupee’ doll and they were seen everywhere. They were not played with but were decorative or used as an accessory and took many different forms with a huge range of styles and costumes.
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Cocktails became a huge fad in Jazz Age Europe as America languished in prohibition. For many, they were regarded as undoubtedly ‘America’s chief contribution to the pleasures of civilisation.’
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The Fascination of Mah Jong
One of the more curious fads that took America and then Europe by storm in the Jazz Age was the Chinese game of Mah Jong – the result of a long history of the West’s cultural assimilation of many aspects of Chinese culture.
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