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Shifting the paradigm: Lecture series focuses on the Roaring ’20s, a decade of changing social and artistic inhibitions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This year marks a century since America started its war with alcohol, jazz was king, women threw out their corsets while simultaneously winning the right to vote and across the globe, the Art Deco movement flourished, influencing many

Drawing of lady’s 1920s fashion. Photo courtesy The Rijksmuseum

facets of life, including architecture, advertising, fashion and furniture design.

The Albuquerque International Association is hosting a lecture series on the Roaring ’20s the second Sunday of each month throughout the year. The nonprofit group aims to enrich the lives of local residents by hosting lectures that focus on various cultural aspects from around the world.

Founder Marina Oborotova said the 1920s continue to affect life today.

“It was a unique time,” she said. “In art and culture, it was a groundbreaking period.”

The next talk will take place Feb. 9, and will focus on performer Josephine Baker, who was often referred to as the Black Pearl and the Creole Goddess. Baker was an African American singer who began turning heads in 1925, when she traveled to Paris to perform in “La Revue Negre,” a musical show featuring dancers and musicians.

Tiffany Florvil, an assistant professor of European history at the University of New Mexico, will give the talk, which will focus on Baker’s contribution to the cultural landscape of Europe and how she helped bring a new understanding of African Americans. Baker rubbed elbows with other well-known Parisian figures from that period, including Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. She was the first African American to star in a major motion picture and became involved with both the French Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement.

The lecture will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the UNM School of Architecture

Josephine Baker, a United States born performer who built her life and career in Paris during the 1920s. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

George Pearl Hall Auditorium.

The March lecture will focus on the pioneering fashion designers of that time. During the 1920s, women parted ways with the confining fashion of the Victorian era and the age of modern dress began. Waistlines were dropped, necklines lowered, hemlines raised and corsets forfeited.

Fashion historian Cassidy Zachary will lead this talk. Zachary has worked as a costume designer in film and television, founded a fashion history blog and co-wrote a book on fashion. Zachary said although a few designers were men, many more were women, including Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Paquin and Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon.

“Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon is perhaps most famous for surviving the Titanic,” Zachary said in a statement. “But she was also responsible for revolutionizing fashion at the dawn of the 20th century, one of a handful of pioneering fashion designers who designed corset-optional clothing for the modern woman.”

The talk will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. March 8, also in George Pearl Hall.

“This series is bringing the world to Albuquerque and honoring that groundbreaking decade,” she said. “It was a time when they parted from existing traditions.”

Other topics in the series include “Jazz Meets Classical Music,” “Innovations in European Film,” “Jazz, Race and The French Avant-Garde,” and “Les Ballets Russes.” The series will culminate with a gala on Nov. 1.

The cost for each lecture is $20 for nonmembers and $15 for members, with a 20% discount for early registration. Students get in free with identification.

For a complete list of lectures for this series and more information, visit

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