“Bernice bobs her hair” – The Watermelon Flapper Dress

What a wonderful experience vintage fairs are – in fact I am convinced they are good for the soul. I always get that childish anticipation that I’m going to find a real hidden treasure – although typically the price tag is too high!

So at the London Fashion & Textile Fair I unearthed this sorbet flavoured flapper dress from Velvet Atelier and they let me take a few shots of it. The detail on the edging is exquisite – the sleeves have geometric angles and edged in black beads with beads running down vertically around the sides of the dress.

Judging by the slightly balloon shape of the dress around the waist, it must be early 1920s, rather than the later more typical boyish jazz age dresses.The shape is very similar to these gorgeous illustrations from “Art Deco Fashion” – which are also incredibly vivid in colour and cut and from 1922.



The colour is almost impish – like something out of Midsummer’s Night Dream but it also made me think of the intrepid Bernice in Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice bobs her hair”. Let me tell you about Bernice…Bernice tantilizes the boys with her threats to cut off her hair – quite a social scandal at the time. Egged on by her malicious cousin she goes ahead:

With her chin in the air she crossed the sidewalk, pushed open the swinging screen-door, and giving not a glance to the uproarious, riotous row that occupied the waiting bench, went up to the first barber.

“I want you to bob my hair”

The first barber’s mouth slid somewhat open. His cigarette dropped to the floor.


“My hair – bob it!”

Bernice realises that she has been tricked by her cousin, who has set her up as a social disgrace to the family and to the community – and a serious slur on her marital prospects. But Bernice, always the trooper,  merely chooses an appropriate travelling outfit and cuts off her sleeping cousin’s pigtails as she absconds into the moonlight:

“Huh” she giggled wildly. “Scalp the selfish thing!”

Where would have Bernice taken residence? – somewhere as colourful as her personality – an unmade bed with satin eider-down from a never ending party and an opulent bathroom to comb her avant-garde locks!

(Images from Elle Decoration – a long time ago!)

I am seeing My Week with Marilyn tomorrow – so expect a Some Like it Hot inspired blog next….


  1. Ooooh I love that flapper dress. Such amazing attention to detail. That Velvet Atelier looks like the kind of place I could get lost in!

    It’s so funny to think that a bob haircut could cause such a scandal.

  2. Well I grew up and am a little like Bernice. Went to Melbourne years ago with bright red, very long curly locks….rocked into a barber in Fitzroy….sat on the red leather chair….and said I want a ‘1950s flat top please’. The barber did a great job! Arrived home with razored flat top….hubster was shocked…but liked it. Me too!

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