A Mag Called Zelda

By: Joel Marino

The best part about this summer’s blockbuster adaptation of The Great Gatsby... was when it ended.

Seriously, that flick was an overblown mess—a bombastic Jazz Age epic that somehow forgot to include actual jazz. Anyone looking to relive the glory days of the 1920s is better off heading someplace else. Like, say, the pages of Zelda, a biannual magazine that’s the perfect guide to turn-of-the-century fashion, style and culture, sans dizzying Baz Luhrmann montages. 

The publication is the brainchild of Diane Naegel, a New York fashion designer and flapper aficionado who sadly passed away in 2011. Since then, the publication’s been maintained by close friends committed to keeping alive Naegel’s passion for the vintage subculture.

And that dedication extends beyond the journal’s pages. Sure, its latest issue is filled with such novel content as a dapper men’s style guide, a remembrance of Jazz Age humorists and a drinking tutorial. But the editorial team also works hard to bring the glitz and glamour of the Prohibition era back into the real world.

For starters, their site has an astoundingly thorough vintage shopping guide. There are links here for national resources as varied as vintage-style photography, old-timey haberdashers and flea markets selling authentic retro accessories.

Then there’re the events. This group has left its mark on vintage-lifestyle happenings across the Big Apple, from running a booth at the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party to collaborating on burlesque revues and drinking nights with Wit’s End, a social club also started by Naegel.

Sorry, DiCaprio. These guys are the real deal.

Joel Marino is a NYC-based freelance writer and editor who enjoys traveling and saying “I told you so” as much as possible. When not writing, he spends his time on a never-ending quest to find the perfect empanada.