1950s

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It is difficult to define a specific style to attach to the late 1940s/1950s. The intensification of travel and trend for exotic holidays, the global influences introduced by the television, and the creative vacuum of World War II all contributed to the aesthetic confusion seen in post-war years. The general desire to erase the austerity of wartime was, however, universally felt. In many ways this led to an evolution of the styles seen throughout the 1930s and 40s rather than a stark new fashion. The influence of fantasy became one of the dominant themes of the period, and in continuation of the trend at the beginning of the 1940s for large bird brooches, many gem-set stylised birds, exotic animals, domestic pets and whimsical characters emerged. This was also a product of the renewed move towards naturalism and, along with the animal brooches which had been created, floral motifs regained favour. This was no better shown than by the renewed popularity of Van Cleef & Arpels’ invisibly-set flower head brooches which had been created before the war. The main evolution worth noting during the 1950s was the move from vast polished metallic surfaces to more intricate rope work, mesh or pierced lattice-work designs, often with tassels, as championed by Pierre Sterle´ and Marchak.