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Dress your way through the 20th century with ‘Any Human Heart’

Has anyone else been watching Any Human Heart on Channel 4? It’s a four part TV drama based on the book by William Boyd that tells the story of one man, Logan Mountstuart, living through the 20th century, coming in touch with all the main event and major real historical figures (sort of like in Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, if anyone has read that). The cast is very starry, with Jim Broadbent, Matthew Macfadyen as the old and middle aged Logan, Gillian Anderson as the Duchess of Windsor and loads more well known faces.

It’s definitely worth watching if you can (not sure if Channel 4’s digital streaming service 4OD is available outside the UK?), the story is brilliant as is the acting, and the settings and wardrobe rival anything on Mad Men. And given that this is a frivolous fashion blog, the clothes is what I’m going to talk to you about!

Logan has an ‘eventful’ love life and the periods he lives through are very much defined by the women that he is with, each of whom has a distinct and strong personality, reflected in her style. I have picked out just three, and chosen some clothes that each character might have worn, because they are excellent vintage inspiration!



Lottie is Logan’s first wife, who we see mainly in the 1920s and early 1930s. She’s an Earl’s daughter, extremely posh and wearing lots of sparkly party dresses with flapper headbands, finger waves in her hair and big red lips.




Freya, the love of his life. He meets her in the late 1930s and she gets killed in the second world war. She’s not rich (she works for the bbc) and is often seen ‘repeating’ clothes, and always with the bow brooch she’s got on in the picture. Her style is simple and natural but elegant, and he hair is usually down and in soft waves.




Gloria, his outspoken American long term lover, married initially to his successful friend and then to an Italian Count. As a socialite and trophy wife, she’s got a super glamorous, but also quite conservative, upper class style. We see her mainly in the 1950s and 1960s and then again in the late 1970s.


Hope you enjoyed that!

Images via here and here. Vintage ribbon clip art by pugly pixel.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • poet 13 December 2010, 5:42 pm

    Sehr inspirierend… v.a. das "Gloria-Set" passt gut in den Winter!

    die Poetin

  • sacramento 13 December 2010, 9:22 pm

    I have taken down the name and see if I can get it for this Cxmas. I love the way you have shown us the Characters plus your choice of clothes for them, sop clever.
    What a delightful post. I have enjoyed it sooooooooooooo much

  • Style Eyes 13 December 2010, 9:46 pm

    Love these outfits. I wish I had time to watch this.

  • She is Sara 13 December 2010, 11:23 pm

    I love these sets and I really wish that we had that show here in Michigan!!! It looks awesome 🙂

  • Franca 14 December 2010, 8:38 am

    thank you all!

    Ceri – I know, it's quite an investment of time with the four episodes. But I really loved it and am probably going to read the book as well!

    Sara – have you tried 4OD? it's the TV channel's digital streaming service – i'll clarify that in the post! I'd be interested to know if it works outside the UK – I know the equivalent thing for the state broadcaster, the bbc iplayer, doesn't.

  • Laura Connell 14 December 2010, 3:12 pm

    I don't watch TV but I am OBSESSED with UK films even though I am North American. Every time I watch one it is so good. The people look normal and have normal situations. (Although the one you describe here looks more glam). I also love the accents. I just wonder why American films insist on showing something so far removed from real life when real life is the most interesting and moving thing of all?

  • Franca 14 December 2010, 3:40 pm

    Laura – I know what you mean, though this programme isn't so much about normal people. Logan is a very real, flawed person, but he finds himself in extraordinary circumstances all the time, like he meets Ernest Hemingway a few times, and is sent to chaperone the Duke of Windsor. In the book there's more histroical figures as well. There's a scene where he gets a a chance to work with jackson pollock and thinks its all a load of rubbish apparently.

  • The Frog's Eyebrows 15 December 2010, 9:49 am

    Those outfits are beautiful! I'm going to watch the series over the holidays.
    In answer to your question, 4OD and the BBC's iPlayer don't work outside of the UK. I blame the BBC for making such lovely shows and then forcing me to illegally download them.
    Are there any other vintage related shows coming up on UK television? North American shows rarely focus on quality like yours do.

  • Franca 15 December 2010, 9:54 am

    Jen – I don't know for how much longer they'll be making great shows, cashstrapped such as they are. I can't think of any other vintage related shows. There's been a few costume dramas but I'm not into pre-C20 things much, so I wouldn't really know what was any good