A few weeks ago (I'm terrible at updating this blog, I know!) I did an impromptu shoot with my partner, Mark Charade. As I'd borrowed some pieces from Pearls and Swine for another shoot, I thought I'd get the most out of them and do a 1920's inspired look.

Not only did Mark photograph and retouch these gorgeous images, but he put together a beautiful experimental film - see below!

Anna Swiczeniuk - Pearlescence from Mark Charade on Vimeo.

1920s Style on the High Street: Skullcaps

Image on the right from Rubylane.com, left from Salonofthedames

It's no secret, I adore 1920s and 30s fashion. But, unfortunately, I'm far too poor to buy genuine vintage pieces. 

Elaborate clothing and accessories from the early 20th century are usually rather rare, and being kept in such good condition for almost 100 years means that they usually remain in the hands of collectors and dealers that really know their stuff! And quite rightly too, as they need a lot of TLC!

I also saw vintage prices skyrocket during the Gatsby trend, which appears to be only just dying out again. And that's all well and good, but what happens when you want to recreate a 20's style without spending £100s? 

As you can see above, I'm focusing on the fitted skullcap style headgear. Everyone else seems to think that flapper headpieces begins and ends with a piece of shiny fabric worn across the forehead and a feather. This is a decade of opulence, and I'm sorry to say, but that cheap costume-store head-band doesn't fit the bill. 

But you don't need to spend a great deal on more authentic pieces in order to pull together a fabulous flapper look. Just a bit of creativity!


1. Silver Hair Chain - River Island // 2. Hair Brooch - ASOS // 3. Black and Gold Earrings - New Look // 4. Deco Shaped Earrings - River Island for ASOS // 5. Black Crystal Headband - River Island 


A few of the high street/online chains have recreated some beautiful art deco inspired pieces (particularly River Island's last autumn collection, oh my) at a fraction of the cost. Some even sell pieces (like 1 and 5) that can be your starting block. Here's a few tips!

1. Make use of the shape of headbands and chains that cover the head like the skullcaps above, and add earrings (3 or 4) or brooches (2, and you can use normal brooches too) to add more decoration. 

2. The vintage pieces use dangling ornaments just above the ears to give a little extra dazzle - and who said earrings MUST go in your ears?

3. If you are feeling even more thrifty, use some fabric (something sheer or patterned would work well) as an extra detail underneath the headband/chain so it sits flat against your head. Hand sew to the edges of the headband and cut away the excess. 

4. Visit your local haberdashery and buy up some beaded trims, fabric flowers or motifs to add onto your new headpiece! 


Book Review: The Teleportation Accident


My boyfriend bought me this book, along with Beauman's first novel, Boxer Beetle, which I read first (and enjoyed enough to go straight onto this). I have to say, I highly enjoyed The Teleportation Accident and look forward to reading it again in a year or so! It was funny (in a very dry way, which I love), unique and remarkably well-written. It would have to be, to have such an arsehole of a protagonist.

Loeser is "a total prick", as described in the first paragraph of the book. His main drive throughout the novel is sex, and he ends up following a girl from Berlin to America upon the assumption that the effort he is making doing so will be bound to get her in bed. He spares little interest in his friends left behind to the mercy of the Nazis (at one point tearing up and discarding a letter from a Jewish colleague describing his recent fearful altercation with a Nazi guard), and yet you still feel drawn to follow his story.

This book is often described as a genre-bender, and indeed it is, but also a distortion of time. Although each chapter is set in a specific place and specific time there are small details (such as ketamine being used in Weimar Berlin) that are deliberately used to make the reader feel like time is moving somewhat differently in this novel. Much like The Great Gatsby it makes use of lavish settings of empty people, all trying to impress each other and climb the social ladder. It's anachronistic in this sense, that it could easily be set in the modern day (much like Gatsby, which I can only assumed Baz Luhrman attempted to convey with his hideous film soundtrack - no, I still haven't seen the film), with modern-day party-goers gurning away.

Without giving anything away, trust me when I say the plot twists and turns in bizarre and hilarious ways, reminding me a little of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Don't look into the specifics, just read it.


Book Review: Carter Beats the Devil


The copy I read appears to have my boyfriend's face on the cover (no, really, it's a combination of two old photos of him!)


Lately I seem to be reading books based in the same time period, pre-1930s. This is due to my (borderline obsession) interest in the turn of the century, and particularly the 1920s. It seems like such a fascinating time for so many reasons, in many different aspects of society. From the feminism of flappers to the technological advances that made moving image possible.


Carter Beats the Devil is a wonderful example of this era of change. The book takes you back to a lost era of magic, when vast and elaborate stage illusions were all the rage, and before magicians became so stereotypically cheesy that all I can think of is Gob Bluth. A time when magic DID confound and amaze and technology followed suit.


Doing it wrong: Gob Bluth.


This was Gold's first novel, released in 2001, although I feel it has somewhat of an anachronistic writing style. I wouldn't be surprised if this were written in the 40s or 70s, it's almost irrelevant when it was written, that's how well it takes you back in time. The story itself is written like a caper, bordering on unbelievability as Carter cheats death again and again (and not just onstage), with a climactic finale.


The book must have taken a tremendous amount of research (indeed Gold explains this in the acknowledgements), as it is partly historical. The only issue is knowing when the history moves into fantasy, but there are a few nice little nuggets for those that can catch them (such as Carter meeting the Marx Brothers while they are performing on the vaudeville circuit as a sketch troupe called "Fun in Hi-Skule", which they had actually performed). 


Another thing I have to say about this book is that the female characters, although mainly existing as love interests for the male protagonist, are not damsels in distress. The first of Carter's loves is exactly the opposite, known for beating up the male performers in the troupe if they try to get fresh. The second, without giving too much away, would probably have been written by a different author as weak prey. Although this character has suffered at the hands of men, she is a fighter (not necessarily physically), which is considered unladylike by her peers. 


I'd definitely read more novels by Glenn David Gold, and upon further research it seems that he has only written one other novel, Sunnyside.... Which just so happens to be about Charlie Chaplin, so you can bet that's next on my reading list!