An affection for the music of Gershwin and Cole Porter has morphed for me over the years into an interest in most things Art Deco and that period between the wars which at least from a distance seems fascinating and shocking. It is impossible to imagine the scale and devastation of collective grief and massive social change after the First World War. In the design that emerged, the geometry of clean lines, circles against squares and curves against straight. In dress style for women, constraint abandoned for clothing that flowed lightly over the body, shoulders exposed and when means allowed, distinctive patterns traced in exquisite beading. In music and dance, thrilling new beats.
Napier in the North Island of New Zealand is world famous as a town replete with Art Deco design. Each year, enthusiasts gather for the exciting crush of the Art Deco festival when the town celebrates and the throng of visitors frock up to relive the glamour. I wasn’t there for this special weekend, but did lots of wandering about anyway, took the guided walking tour and generally soaked up the atmosphere.
While there I also did a day trip of the surrounding wineries. The generosity of New Zealand wine makers and the relaxed atmosphere of the trip made for an intoxicating combination. I was glad to retire for the evening (aka collapse languidly) in my Art Deco styled room in my Art Deco hotel in my Art Deco town.