The History of Nail Polish – 1920’s
We’ve loved every minute of our history of polish series. So much so that we’ve decided to re-visit some decades of the early 20th century previously not covered. We happen to love the energy of the 20’s so it was only natural we’d want to post about them too.
Ancient Timeline Rundown
The story of nail polish began in India during the Bronze Age where they stained their nails with henna, quickly the idea spread to Babylonia where they used kohl for staining different colours. About the same time the Chinese made the trend their own by crushing flower petals to create a wider range of colours. Later, the fashionable women of Egypt made red nails famous forever.
The 1920’s was a time of coordinated and beautifully accessorized outfits. The end of the war brought about the ‘Roaring 20’s’ and a change back to more feminine attire.
Although people continued to stain, lacquer and manicure their nails throughout the years, there weren’t many notable changes until the 20th century. In the 20’s glossy car paint was created which gave one bright lady the brilliant idea of applying it to nails. Around the same time glorious technicolor took over the world of film and the cosmetic industry was changed forever.
The Future of Nails
Looking towards future trends, in the 50’s they wore red, in the 60’s pastels came into vogue, in the 70’s nails went natural or super deep and in the 80’s things went neon. However out of them all, the 1920’s was the most pivotal decade in nail polish since the Indians first stained their nails with henna.
Fashion became shorter, lighter and brighter as fabrics became more luxurious and textures more unique.
The fashion for this decade was highly influenced by progress and it was during this period that fashion and art collided. This fusion encouraged carefully selected fabrics and intelligent colour use. Higher hemlines meant shoes and stockings became far more important in the fashion world and and the frilly embellishments of the 1910’s gave way to sleeker lines and and more subtle accessories. This was a decade that redefined womanhood in many ways, the postwar woman was liberated and a new member of the workforce. Their wardrobe began to reflect these notions while remaining perfectly feminine.
The advent of technicolor really changed the way women viewed cosmetics. The 20’s was a time of bold, daring colour and we recommend classically feminine shades, bold but demure at the same time. Try Perceval, Pretty in Pink, Milano, Fire Red, Cayman Coral, White Cloud to Red Horizon or Sunset. Be sure to check out nail looks from other decades of the 20th century.