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Being Glamorous In Tough Times

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

This is my invitation for you to take a step into the house of the past.

  • Imagine looking good as a Czech girl in Nazi Bohemia, 1943

  • Imagine looking good as a Caribbean girl in the Great Recession, London, 2009

Here is my conversation with the images that tell their story.

Archive: a historical collection of e.g. dresses, documents, paintings, film magazines just to name but a few.

This project focused on the ‘fashion archive’ from an image-led perspective. It investigated notions of the ‘staged’ moments and evidenced through fashion.

This topic, lectures and archive visits inspired me to look at my childhood and especially my relationship with my grandmother Hana. She was my friend, supporter, influence and inspiration. I spent lots of time with her as a child and loved talking to her about her childhood and also looking at the photos in her photo albums and imagining the staged moments and the stories behind the photos. We could discuss those moments and memories for hours.

After visiting the London College of Fashion archive and observing and analysing Katherine Baird’s explanations how she manages, creates and where and who donated e.g. clothes, shoes, magazines, photographs, make-up with practical examples and demonstration I realised that I can use my grandmother photos as a young woman from the forties as my primary research. I understood the connection between the clothes, photograph, stories and the meaning of it.

The analytical approach to some of my grandmother’s photographs from the 40’s brought me to an interesting conclusion. One of my close friends and also a university peer Suzanne has always unconsciously reminded me of my grandmother. There is something which connects these two women. They both have style and charisma and something else which I still have to explore. Suzanne has been always fascinated by the 40’s and 50’s style and she is the real example of a woman who knows how to wear this kind of clothes. I told her about my grandmother’s passion for fashion and clothes making. I brought back some clothes from my grandmother’s wardrobe for Suzanne and all of the pieces ‘fit like a glove’. That is astonishing coincident.

I decided to interview my grandmother and also Suzanne and ask them about the style and in my grandmother case what was the main reason for dressing up. In her time the only excitement or self expression was through clothes because it was a very difficult time during the Second World War in the Eastern Bohemia.

I decided to recreate the mood and the style of my grandmother Hana’s staged photographs and use her original clothes which she gave to Suzanne so she can relive the style of the 40’s.


Muzeum bratří Čapků, Male Svatonovice, Czech Republic - Hana Kroulikova with the Museum director Eva Hylmarova in 2015. Photo credit JK.

Statue of the Čapek brothers and the Kroulik brothers in Male Svatonovice, Czech Republic. Photo credit JK.

Josef Čapek and Karel Čapek collaborated on several creative projects just like I have done over the years with my brother, hypnotist, Jakub Kroulik.

For example, Josef invented the word "robot", which was introduced into literature by his brother, Karel Čapek.

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