Gatsby 1920s black Feathered Headband Commission

The 1920’s were an exciting time for headwear, they gave us intricate headbands, art deco tiaras and the ever popular closh. It’s no wonder that the glamorisation of the 1920’s wild parties and fun adventures has allowed the era to maintain its opulent influence over fashion today. Literature and film really keep the style of the era alive.  Television and film in particular have kept our love affair alive over the decades with such features as Bonnie and Clyde (1960s), Bugsy Malone (1970s), The Cotton Club (1980’s), House of Eliott (1990’s) (I often find myself wondering what the Eliott sisters would do), Downton Abby (2010), and my particular favourite for authentic 1920’s style and atmosphere: Boardwalk Empire (2010). These titles are just from the top off my head, there are plenty more to fuel our adoration of 1920’s style. Arguably one of the most influential stories responsible for championing the roaring 1920’s style is F. Scott Fitzgerald’sThe Great Gatsby. Originally released in 1925 the first film was made in 1926, followed by 1949, 1974, and 2013 versions. I have no doubt the Great Gatsby will be reproduced in future decades, keeping 1920’s style admiration alive.



The opulent glamour of the Gatsby tale is massively appealing and it is no wonder that it is a fantastic theme for a costume party. I was very excited recently when someone got in touch with me and asked me to design and make a headpiece for her to wear to a Gatsby themed party. She had originally seen the piece that I had made back in 2003 for my own 1920’s costume party (see here), and really wanted a piece that was completely black but still had sparkle. After some initial sketches we decided on a classic black band with feather detail at the front. She had really wanted to add some beaded details at the front to create a ‘princess’ style so I strung a selection of faceted beads (for maximum sparkle!) and draped them across the front of the band. It is worth knowing that my mannequin heads are smaller than a human head so the beads sit just above the eye on a person.


It was also requested that the feather part of the piece could be detachable so that it could be worn separately on other occasions. I love it when customers ask for pieces to have dual functionality. Not only is it a fun challenge for me, but I know that the piece will be worn more and the customer receives more for their investment. For example this piece is essentially three different pieces; it can be worn as a black beaded band alone, as a feather clip or as the complete feather band.   


My customer had mentioned to me initially that she love sparkle and black lace, so I made sure both were incorporated into the design. I used a black applique piece of lace at the front of the feathered part and use as many Swarovski and faceted beads that I could which created a beautiful shimmer of sparkle as the piece moved.  


It was the customer’s preference to have the band elasticated, so I added some beads next to the elastic to echo art deco lines and add some interest to the back of the piece.    


The beauty of using a headpiece to define your costume is that you can wear contemporary clothes and let the headpiece do the talking! In this instance the customer was planning the wear a simple contemporary maxi dress with 1920’s influence, so she was able to wear an intricate headpiece to set the tone of her look.  

I welcome your costume enquiries, afterall a bespoke costume headpiece is true Gatsby style!



New Years Eve Party 1929

Above: Myself and Al at the party

Over the summer I had the pleasure of throwing a huge party in celebration of my birthday. Not my usual sort of blogging material but this birthday party was an extra special one and I had to share it with you. The theme was 1920s “waving goodbye to the 20s” (I’ll let you guess my new age), and the party was set in prohibition America on New Years Eve 1929... yes we did see the New Year in at midnight with a projected vintage movie countdown and champagne, but that wasn’t the only surprise for the guests during the evening. 

I relish the role of hostess and my aim was to give my guests a complete 1920’s experience. 



I hand drew and printed my own invitations and incorporated some art deco inspired patterns…

Above: Invite Front


Above: Invite centre 

Above: Invite Back


Above: The secret speakeasy location and password was written on a little note and added to each invite  

The Setting

The party was going to be set in a speakeasy so I needed somewhere special and hidden. I was extremely excited when I discovered “The Empty Shop” in Durham city centre. Carlo, who co-runs Empty Shop, was so accommodating and helpful. I can’t recommend the venue enough, be it for an exhibition, event or party (have a gander at their website to find out about what they do, as there is too much to mention on here!).

Of course I had to hand draw some wall hangings to set the scene…




...and painted a canvas with glowing lights to brighten up a dark corridor...



…and I set up a casino...



...where you could gamble with "Jollars" (you can make your own online at Money Festisite)...



…and I hand painted a 1920's car for a photo booth... 





…and filled the dance floor ceiling with streamers and balloons...

…and created a pictorial time tunnel for guests to pass through once they had given the password to the bouncer (Al) at the entrance





The Little Touches

To fit with the speakeasy theme, all the drinks were served in either jam jars or brown paper bags...


I chose to serve traditional 1920s snacks and a local company, Hume’s Snacks, made a delicious selection of sandwiches- peanut butter and jelly, ham and cream cheese with mini porkpies (I did my authentic 1920s food research!). I couldn’t resist building a champagne pyramid of party snacks (excuse the blurry pic) 


My friend Jennifer made me the hugest Birthday Cake! (Note the Ostrich feather and pearl table decorations)   


The Entertainment

For some authentic 1920's drama I staged a faux speakeasy raid by a mob of gangsters. The mob of gangsters were played by my comedy sketch group "Heavy Petting" (I have no idea why we are called that). They ushered all the guests into the dance room with their plastic machine guns and then shot Al (it was “fat Al’s Speakeasy”) for not paying his hooch bills. Al did a very convincing death from one side of the room to the other. The mob then made us all play party games- Pin the Feather on the Flapper and Pass the Parcel.    

Above: The Gangster Speakeasy Raid 

Above: The Gangster Speakeasy Raid 

Above: Pin the Feather on the Flapper Party game 


Above: My friend Heidi being a fantastic cigarette girl handing out packets of chocolate cigarettes (while wearing a Libertarian pill box hat of course!)

Above: my friend Mark came up with a great party game where you had to guess what the 1920's slang was that he stuck on you.  

Above: Dancing the 1920's Charleston


The Clothes

And finally what we wore! Everyone looked wonderful. I can't fit everyone on here so here's just a few...


Above: I made my own 1920's style headdress

Above: Beaded detail on my 1920's repro dress from Blue Velvet Vintage in America  


Above: I decorated a pair of vintage shoes with Swarovski crystals 

Above:  A surprise gift from my mum; Art Deco earrings from Cavenish Jewellers in York

Photos courtesy of Sylvian Greumach, John Louis Higgins and Amy Stephenson (plus me!)

Hope you have enjoyed your little insight into one of my parties!





One of my oldest friends got married last weekend and I had the great honour of holding the Chuppah for the ceremony.  It was the first Jewish wedding ceremony that I had been to and it was so personal with lots of tear-jerking moments that it has become one of my favourites. The great advantage of holding the Chuppah is the fantastic view you get of the ceremony. I got to see the breaking of the glass close up! 

And of course the wedding gave me the perfect excuse to try out one of my new hat blocks!

Here's what I made...





Mazel Tov!