Another one of my birthday presents this year, aside from the Tortilla Girl dress, is a superb book called Moscow and St-Petersburg 1900-1920. It covers the arts and culture in those cities during the Russian "Silver Age", when artists such as Kandinsky or Chagall created great paintings, while the likes of divine Anna Pavlova (bottom pic) and Michel Fokine turned Russian ballet into a eternal legend. In some works, you can see elements that would later inspire Yves Saint-Laurent, Paul Poiret, generations of designers and creators. As the Russian empire was about to crumble, the arts bloomed. The book also includes extraordinary pics of historical figures like the last tsar, Nicholas II, Rasputin, and others, as well as heart-wrenching shots from World War 1.