Glamorized, mythologized and demonized – the women of the 1920s prefigured the 1960s in their determination to reinvent the way they lived. Flappers is in part a biography of that restless generation: starting with its first fashionable acts of rebellion just before the Great War, and continuing through to the end of the decade when the Wall Street crash signalled another cataclysmic world change.
Nancy Cunard, Diana Cooper, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka were far from typical flappers. Although they danced the Charleston, wore fashionable clothes and partied with the rest of their peers, they made themselves prominent among the artists, icons, and heroines of their age. Talented, reckless and wilful, with personalities that transcended their class and background, they re-wrote their destinies in remarkable, entertaining and tragic ways. And between them they blazed the trail of the New Woman around the world.
Nancy’s Story is extracted from Judith Mackrell’s acclaimed biography, Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation.