Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pavlova please

Anna Pavlova2
'Anna Pavlova was an instantly reconisable face in early twentieth-century media. She travelled all over the world and featured widely in the national and local press, but she waas also regularly seen in illustrated theatre, fashion and society periodicals. Always well turned out and charismatic, loved by the camera as well as by her fans, for twenty years Pavlova's image was used to sell everything from cosmetics to pianos. She was one of the first icons of the twentieth century.'
Anna Pavlova collage2 
Anna Pavlova 8 Anna Pavlova1Anna Pavlova collage Anna Pavlova 9 Anna Pavlova4 Anna Pavlova5 Anna Pavlova collage1  Anna Pavlova 7

I was very excited to see that Anna Pavlova will be appearing in ITV's Mr Selfridge on Sunday! In honour of this I have finally gotten around to doing a well overdue Anna Pavlova post.

She is one of my main style icons but there are so many reasons as to why I love Anna.

Yes she did indeed have a (very yummy) dessert named after her and yes she did have pet swans, she is the epitome of the 'Fairy tale' ballerina! She single handly changed the way that London viewed Ballet dancing and was loved by the masses for her personality as well as her dancing, she really was one of the first twentieth centuary icons.
She was very openly a huge animal lover and particularly fond of birds and that just makes her even more special in my eyes.

 When Anna was on her death bed she was told that she could have an operation that would save her life but leave her unable to dance. It is reported that she said "If I can't dance then I would rather be dead". The story goes that she died just after her 50th Birthday clutching her costume from The Dying Swan.
Anna Pavlova collage4
Photo's from my Instagram:@aharemofpeacocks
She was recently celebrated by the BFI with a series of showings of her dances and footage of her travels. I managed to attend one which included some absolutely lovely home videos, filmed by her and her colleauges. It really showed off her true beauty and grace and to my delight her animals featured in there quite a lot too.

I also could not resist the ' Anna Pavlova Twentieth Century Ballerina' book. All the photo's and extracts from this post are taken from it and I can't recommend it enough. Its so stunning.

I am intrigued to see how they will portray her in Mr Selfridge and will be glued to the television on Sunday night. I also have some exciting Mr Selfridge related local history to share with you very soon.

In the mean time I will leave you with an extract from the book on this very subject, as well as the original picture of her 'Anna Pavlova' Selfridges window, don't say I never treat you!

Anna Pavlova window

'So she tried on hats...flitting from one glass to another...moving her head and body to try the effect of some particular chapeau in half a dozen dainty poses. Selfridge's millinery department ceased to be a shop; it became a studio, a stage on which moved the most graceful figure in Europe, and the assembled attendants composed an admiring audience, though compelled to silent applause.'
Daily Mail 1911


  1. Hats and Headpieces Heaven.

  2. I adore her! My eyes well up every time I watch her dying swan rutine..

  3. Charming post, thanks so much for sharing the pics, they are wonderful.

  4. I love this post! I had never heard of her before mr selfridge (I feel like I was lacking in vital historical style knowledge) but I am now inspired do some research on her.

    Thank you
    Brogan x

  5. Stunning images and great inspiration.


  6. Lovely post :)
    My first recollection of anything Pavlova related were these two drawings of her dancing in the Calouste Gulbenkian Modern Art Museum in Lisbon. I must have seen them some good 25 years ago when my Mum used to take me to the museum but for some reason the poses stuck with me. Thank you for reminding me of it!

  7. Love the snaps of her with the swan wrapped round her shoulder :)

  8. Beautiful pictures! Might have to get that book. Thank you for the tip! :) I'm a dancer myself, but in 2004 I injured myself so badly I had to live the next 7 years with chronic pain. No painkillers helped, and I thought I would never be able to dance again. So I understand why Anna chose to die, instead of getting the operation that would have saved her life, but making her incapable to dance. If you live to dance, you die when you lose that ability - even if you're still physically alive. For myself though, I managed to work away most of the pain, and recently managed to get up on a stage again! I will probably never be able to fly through the air in the splits again, but I decided to use my knowledge in ballet, and mix it with burlesque. So now I'm a burlesque ballerina! Haha! I'm back to life! Now I just need to get a swan. I wonder what my cat would say about that?... ;) xox

  9. Anna Pavlova was such an amazing woman! I love these inspiring photographs, she was one of the all time greats.

  10. Sigh....swooon.....just amazing. These photos are beyond glorious and what a life story!!!

  11. I came here looking for photos of the original Selfridges window, as it seemed to me the one portrayed on the series didn't look much impressive at all. Seems I was right.


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