‘Fabulous Flapper’ exhibit in Sea Cliff is treasure trove of style that still inspires

The exhibit at the Sea Cliff Village Museum includes original dresses, hats and jewelry worn by Long Island flappers.

Bob Doda

Mar 20, 2023, 9:35 PM

Updated 399 days ago

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In the roaring 1920s, the flapper look was all the rage among young women across the U.S. The style these trendsetters launched is showcased in the Sea Cliff Village Museum's latest exhibit, "Sea Cliff's Fabulous Flappers."
It includes a treasure trove of original dresses, hats and jewelry worn by Long Island flappers.
“What the flappers were really all about was fun,” said Courtney Chambers, from the museum. “They wanted to…go out to bars, they wanted to dance, they wanted to smoke cigarettes, it's really about the equality of social life and these dresses reflected that.”
How did the flapper come to be? World War I had sent women into the workforce in droves — empowering them with paychecks. In 1920, the passage of the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, inspiring a more independent mindset.
It led to women ditching the corseted dresses of the Victorian era for looser, low-waisted attire. They sported bobbed hair and showed a little leg. The avant-garde look gave them freedom of movement to drive, dance and play sports.
Victoria Bjorklund lent several of her grandmother's garments to the exhibit, including an elegant ermine-trimmed coat and a few party dresses.
One of the most famous flappers was Katherine Kraus Baum – a socialite and trustee of the New York Audubon Society.
“She expressed herself through her clothing and I think she wanted to look au courant – modern with whatever the era was,” said Bjorklund.
More than a century has passed since the world met the flapper, but the iconic style and spirit of independence continue to inspire.
The exhibit will run until May.


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