An epic story…

Anna Karenina

The film was all that it promised and more. The latest adaption of Tolstoy’s novel, its heroine played by Keira Knightley, has wowed the critics and pleased the plebs. Me? I’m not too sure if the tagline (‘an epic story of love’) fits the on-screen action. I mean, if we use the word ‘love’ really loosely to describe a selfish good-for-nothing slimeball wanting to make a conquest of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, desperate to love and be loved, then yes, I suppose it is ‘an epic story of love’. For me, the real love story was happening off-screen. You have to realise that with Jude Law looking a little worse for wear and pretty-boy Aaron Johnson acting so well as to make me think he was a selfish pig I had little choice but to embark on a love affair with the clothes alone.

Deep red velvets. Beautiful furs. T-h-a-t b-l-a-c-k b-a-l-l-g-o-w-n. Lace finishes. Clusters of pearls and diamonds. Romantic sweeps of taffeta. White gloves.

A moment of silence, please.

Thank you.

There have been more than ten adaptations of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, spanning almost a century and yet there has been no dramatic change to the elegant and feminine nineteenth century clothing worn in each film. The fashion is timeless. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we got some of those Russian classics into our wardrobes and onto our backs this autumn.

With this objective in mind I arrived at The Very Vintage Fair with hopes, dreams and a burning desire in my heart for anything remotely Russian. There were countless stalls, overflowing with pure fashion gold. There were fur coats that Anna Karenina herself would be proud to own and dresses Kitty would wear to a ball. I had to content myself with looking (and waltzing in my head) as I am trying to be a complete bore and save money for courses that promise to render me ‘employable’. (Sorry, fourth-year student blues.)

But it’s not just about fur coats and ball gowns – the easiest way to get a look, any look, is accessorize accessorize accessorize. Think pretty hair slides and earrings, maybe even a pair of gloves.

Note to self in future: get there early for best buys.

If you couldn’t be bothered getting up early on a Saturday (I know, 11AM, right; what were they thinking?) or the very thought of fighting over a pair of shoes with a pumped-up Amazonian fashionista terrifies you (been there, seen that, done that… and did not get the shoes), have no fear. There are online vintage stores where you can browse from the safety of your own home with a cup of tea in hand.

The Frockery, a passionate purveyor of all things vintage, was featured at The Very Vintage Fair and it just might have what you’re looking for. Have a cup of a tea, curl up with your laptop and know everything ‘Anna Karenina’ is a mouse-click away. (Check it out at

So, scour the stalls, search the streets high and low and google madly in the knowledge that your very own epic ‘Anna Karenina’ story of love requires only furs, lace, a dash of sparkles and a little romantic imagination to come alive.


Siobhan Dooley

Image by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer