The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter


Sometimes having a plan fall through can actually lead to a better outcome than executing your vision perfectly. For example, I had rather different image in mind when I was coming up with outfits to photograph this weekend - much more pastoral, with a straw hat and a volume of Goethe and possibly a chicken. For various reasons none of that worked out quite as I hoped, but I’m still quite pleased with what I ended up with.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is a 2017 fantasy novel by Theodora Goss. It’s a bit similar to something like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in that all of the characters are taken from, or inspired by, earlier works, some of which are very well known (Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde) and some of which I had never heard of (Rappaccini’s Daughter? Ok). The main characters, almost all of whom are female, are drawn together as Mary Jekyll, daughter of Dr. Jekyll, investigates her father’s past and his possible connection to a series of murders in 1890s London. They are all, in some way, the product of a man’s experimentation, but even as their monstrous nature sets them apart from society, it draws them together as sisters.

While I can’t say that this outfit was particularly inspired by the book (I’d honestly just started it when I was taking these photos), in retrospect it works pretty well with it. There’s a hint of art nouveau in the floral headpiece and the sleeves on this top, and I think the juxtaposition of the fitted pants and practical flats with oh come on I’m obviously just bullshitting now. I could probably make the argument that the snake brooch symbolizes something to do with the book, but that would just be silly. I wore a cute outfit and got the chance to talk about a good book, and I guess that’s probably good enough, right?

Floral Headpiece: Tanith Rowan
Top: Zara
Pants: Pin Up Girl
Ring, Brooch: Vintage