Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The House of Eliott: 1920s fashion inspiration

[All images my own, taken as screen grabs from ITV3].
Recently on British television, we've been treated to a re-run of a cult period drama involving two sisters who establish their own fashion house during the 1920s. The House of Eliott involves quirky costumes and sharp dialogue as the duo navigate their way through the ups and downs of the industry. As the above image demonstrates, the long hemlines and ever-present hats are actually quite relevant to today's style - maxi skirts have become the staple choice for many women, whilst headgear is perfect for A/W11-12, whether it's a bowler, a trilby or a cloche hat.

Beatrice Eliott, the older of the sisters, is seen here rocking a pre-Gaga feathered headpiece and a sheer dress. Much of the fashion house's early success comes from wearing the clothing to society parties and getting it noticed by potential clients. It's basically the 1920s equivalent of subliminal advertising.

Younger sister Evangeline (known as Evie) opts for a velvet halterneck dress and a metallic floral headband. Because of the age gap between the pair, with Evie being 18 and Beatrice being 30, we get to see how fashion can transcend age boundaries and how flexible it can be.

Ignoring the not-very-1920s lipgloss, this image is a great example of period dressing. Evie's high neckline is typical of the time, as daywear still contained a lot of references to Edwardian trends and often involved covering up. Her floppy hat, with its striped band, gives a nod to the tricorn shape but has been updated in soft black fabric.

Did I mention they like hats? Beatrice's statement piece is this matte black choice, which she's paired with a blazer and a pinstripe satin shirt. Her use of tailoring shows that she means business and it emphasises her determination to survive in a masculine world.

Long live the strong fashionable female!

To get the look on the high street, try these:

  • Topshop is great for hats and hairpieces. Last year it had a popular range of woolen turbans that were worn by Kylie Minogue. This year there's plenty of floppy 70s styles (think burgundy and tan) and some knitted headbands.
  • Galibardy has plenty of intense jewellery that will make a statement, whether it's a cocktail ring or a vintage-looking necklace. Wear with satin and loose hair.
  • Marks and Spencer currently has a brilliant black pleated maxi-skirt in its Limited Collection that would work well with a tailored white shirt and hobnail boots, if you want to give a nod to early 2oth century dressing.


  1. I love this tv show, really amazing, I british tv shows. I love Downton Abby too :).

  2. It's a great show - glad you like it too! Downton Abbey is another of my favourites - I'm completely addicted.

    Polly x


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