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Vivian Wang

Deco Queen

Cast glass, stoneware, citrine 156K, crystal, and gold leaf on steel base, 30.5"h x 14"w x 14.5"d, Item No. 19044,

Several years ago, I visited Shanghai where I was delighted and fascinated by its stunning Art Deco buildings, many of which line the seaside area of the city known as the Bund. During Shanghai’s golden age, the 1920’s through the 1930’s, the city saw the construction of many exquisite exteriors and interiors that were heavily influenced by the European Deco style. Even today, Shanghai has the richest collection of Art Deco Architecture in the world. 

The Shanghai Deco style, a mix of traditional Chinese and Western Deco, shaped not only the architecture of the city but heavily influenced its fashion as well. It was my inspiration for DECO QUEEN. 

To my eye, Art Deco is a showcase of extreme opulence and sleek structural shapes. The patterning is geometric and the “ideal” human form is lean and elongated. The greatest influence on the Shanghai Deco style came not only from the French and the English who moved there in the 20’s and 30’s, but also from the popularity of American movies. 

DECO QUEEN portrays a woman drenched in the ultimate extravagance and splendor of the Deco era. Her costume, resplendent with gold and jewels, represents an over-the-top Deco style. The upturned collar was a popular trend at the time. Her bodice appliques and all-over patterns are all rendered in Deco’s geometric shapes. The gold leaf and embellishments epitomize Shanghai’s Golden Era. Her hair style was influenced by the very well-known American entertainer who performed in France in the 30’s, Josephine Baker.