By Elizabeth Gracen:
As I'm sure you've noticed, I have a "thing" about the 1920s. One of my nicknames ("Flapper") was given to me by a dear friend, Ippolita Douglas Scotti, after she witnessed me ask for a "flapper haircut" from a barber in the hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence, Italy, in early 2000. With my new sassy cut that the barber deemed a "Charleston," Ippo promptly gave me the name, and it stuck. A few years later, when I was trying to figure out a name for my film company and online magazine, another great pal did not hesitate in suggesting that it simply had to be Flapper Films . . . and Flapper Press.
It goes without saying that my Instagram feed is full of old photos and historical references, and let's just say that there are a lot of Flappers in there. THE FEED is a monthly deep dive into the fascinating curations on Instagram and the creators who make them from all over the world.
This month we interviewed the wildly creative Marcelo Ruanova, artist and curator of @1920aesthetic!
EG: Marcelo, your Instagram feed, @1920aesthetic, is just glorious. For a Flapper like me, it’s just the bees-knees. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
MR: Thank you so much, and thank you for asking me to be in your blog. It’s such a pleasure to let people know me better! I live in Mexico, and I’m in my fourth semester of high school. I live with my parents. I also have a twin sister and a lovely dog named Cholula, who I love so much.
I like to collect old 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s, and I also collect gramophones. I also love collecting antiques and 1920s film memorabilia like signed pictures and magazines. I play the piano, so I also collect old sheet music with some gorgeous covers! Actually, I am now trying to give my room a makeover and decorate it all 20s—so I have some serious collecting to do! I also like to draw and sometimes post some drawings on my stories.
I typed up some lyrics of a Josephine Baker song from 1934 and made this drawing of Josephine.
EG: Your curation is vast! When did you start creating your Instagram feed, and why do you choose the images you curate? Why are you focused on the 1920s?
MR: Well, I started cause I got inspired by other accounts that posted musicals or Hollywood-related things. I thought that it would be fun to make an account and post things that I would like to see—that I don’t see others post. I created my account in November of 2018 and started by making some collages of the aesthetics of the 20s, hence my username. I mainly like to post just pictures that I find aesthetically pleasing and that I love and haven’t seen posted before. I also like to inform people about many things, like films that aren’t so talked about or dances and photography and other things.
I am so focused on the 20s 'cause I have such a huge passion for the aesthetic and glamour and just everything about that era. It literally is my life, and I want to share that passion with the world and just show people how amazing the 20s were and maybe spark an obsession like mine!
EG: I followed the link to your YouTube channel. What a lovely discovery. I adore the Café Life in Paris footage. Please tell me about your channel and what you hope to achieve with it?
MR: Thank you! I really should post more in there! Aww . . . Café life in Paris is one of my favorites. I adore finding footage and editing it and adding music that I love. It’s so fun! I mostly use it for listening to music or personal use, but I also started posting music and videos that I edit or that I haven’t seen up that I feel everybody should see. Now I'm planning on posting my record collection too. I also have some playlists of music I love, and people can listen to them for their pleasure and also for 1920s parties!
EG: Where do you find your images and footage?
MR: It is so fun to choose what I am going to post because when I have nothing to do I like to browse in the depths of Google and Pinterest for countless hours—that’s where I find all those gems.
EG: Are you active on other social media platforms? Do you like the Instagram platform?
MR: I mainly use Instagram, but just last year I started a Tiktok account with the same name. I’ve been a little lazy, but I want to post lots of short and interesting videos that I hope spread my love for the 20s and some amazing content that I’ve been planning all this time. I think Instagram is a very fun app to use, it’s a great way to reach out to many people because almost everybody has it.
EG: Now that we are once again in our “20s,” what do you think we could learn about the aesthetic and romance of the 1920s?
MR: I think what we should learn from it is to enjoy life to the fullest and have fun and be positive. I know that we’ve been in quarantine, but just back then, they were coming out of the war and the Spanish flu pandemic—look at all the fun they had once it was all over! We’re just starting the 20s, and there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the new twenties and just make the most out of life and be more carefree. Female empowerment was very big in the 20s, and I think women should keep fighting for equal rights all around the world and keep doing stuff that empowers them.
EG: Do you have a passion for another era in history? Do you have other accounts that we can follow? What are your plans for @1920aesthetic?
MR: I do! I also really love the 40s! I just love Hollywood in that era and all those amazing stars and movies and music, it’s just amazing! I also have an account for the Andrews Sisters (a sister singing trio from the 30s–40s) 'cause I also love them and their music with such a passion.
My plans for @1920aesthetic are to keep growing and spreading my love for the 20s and to just keep making people happy and sharing new things. I hope to branch out and do more with my knowledge and account—perhaps a book in the future or something exciting. I have so many ideas!
EG: What a wonderful passion! Thanks so much for sharing your curation with The Feed here at Flapper Press. Please tell our readers about some of your favorite Instagram images.
This first one is Anita Page, 1929. it is my absolute favorite picture of Anita because
she looks so so gorgeous, and it was the first picture I ever saw of her
and immediately fell in love with her.
This is a portrait of Lady Idina by Cecil Beaton for Vogue. It’s such a gorgeous picture and that art deco background and her dress, everything is just marvelous!
Tallulah Bankhead by Cecil Beaton for Vanity Fair (1931), I’m a huge fan of Beaton! That background and the glass ball and Tallulah are gorgeous!
These are advertisements for the pelonas from Mexico City. In Mexico, we used to call flappers pelonas ("bald women") because of the short hair they wore. Mexico was very conservative and would bully flappers with advertisements saying that it’s bad to be modern and smoke and have short hair and dance those crazy 20s dances.
The first picture is my favorite cause it’s so funny. They put past, present, and future and it goes from 18th century style to 1928 and then a crazy flapper in the future
with her long cigarette holder and almost no hair!
This is one of my favorites—Berlin, 1929. I am very proud of that little collage I made of things I love about Berlin in 1929, like records, stars, dances, etc.