Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
There are all kinds of books. The ones that make you cry, ones that feed you, ones that make you fall asleep, ones that make you travel. And then there are those elusive volumes, the ones that catch your eye with beautiful hand-drawings and soft texture that you find yourself buying without even opening them. And when you finally do, in that precise moment, you know it was meant to happen. You didn't find the book in that crowded bookshop, it found you.
The experience I describe above doesn't happen to me often; I've felt that sense of "revelatory grace", empathy, fulfillment, whatever you want to call it, with a couple of written pieces, some theatre plays (watched live) and one ballet. For some time now I'd been in a literary desert, unable to find any meaning* in between teenage novels (we all succumb to our vices) and a Spanish-English Dictionary (a girl needs help sometimes, ok?)
At this point, I found An Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LaCava. As I said, its external allure drew me in but its content was exponentially greater. As children, rather than filing our memories chronologically, we associate certain moments in time with places, foods, smells or objects, like the writer of this book. LaCava retells her eventful childhood, the move from America to France in a nostalgic, descriptive but also matter-of-fact manner, fluently narrating her encounters but also looking inwards into her own psyche. And for this very purpose, to make us fully understand how her mind works, she created a small encyclopedia inside her novel, giving you a brief but understanding knowledge of every single object which, to her, was linked to a memory; plants, insects, stones, archaeological findings....
To me, this unique structure is what made the book extraordinary and with such appeal to my senses. I was immersed in someone else's memoir and simultaneously feeding my voracious curiosity with historical and scientific facts. I admit this might not seem the most appealing scenario to many but for me, it was the perfect symbiosis.
Fashion writer Lavaca’s childhood and teenage years were strange and confounding. The author’s family moved from New York to a Parisian suburb in 1993 when she was 12; the next year she suffered a breakdown. Always considered a bit strange as a child, she found solace and a sense of order in collecting objects. She had a passion for ancient mythologies: “I was obsessed with cabinets of curiosities, historical efforts to catalog and control nature’s oddities,” Lacava writes.
As an adult Lacava began looking back over her life “through a narrative illuminated with objects and their respective stories.” As the author began researching her objects, she discovered unlikely links between them and “certain people who reappeared throughout the stories” of such objects as a skeleton key found in the backyard of her new home in France; a fiery antique opal necklace found on the sidewalk following a jaunt to a neighborhood sweet shop; a CD containing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; and the camera she always carried on her journeys around France.
“For me, it is my story of conquering another world, a place where in order to survive I needed to seek out wonder,” Lacava explains. In the end, this is an unusual journey through one girl’s material and sometimes painful interior world.
P.D You can read an interview with LaCava here
P.D 2 Buy the book here
Monday, 19 May 2014
I am usually a sucker for Chanel. I crave the theatricality, the exotic (and often far away) locations chosen (or reproduced) for each show, the details and craftmanship poured into every seam and bead, the fact that each season it manages to infuse a completely different inspiration without falling into previous decades in search for new ideas; A book or a place are enough to light the flame for a season.
As you can see, I always have high expectations for Chanel and they haven't often let me down. However, with their latest Resort collection, I am not completely sold. I do have to say I am always bias to beautifully set designs; the show took place on an island (I don't even think a stretch of sand that small can be called that) in Dubai, the rising city of the East; although it can be called architecturally interesting, I don't find Dubai pleasing to the eye; call me old fashion or traditional. The view was nevertheless stunning (as any view from a private desert island overlooking Dubai. This raises another completely different issue about how ethical are fashion shows*). As for the inside, in comparison with previous shows, it was kept minimalist; beige coloured sofas followed the runway with small lights illuminating the way. The only decor which suggested an Oriental atmosphere were some candle lanterns placed scarcely in the corners.
However, the garments are (as always) the redeemable quality of Chanel, despite its (scarce) mishaps. "A romantic,modern Orient, a new One thousand and One nights". These are the words of Karl Lagerfeld describing a collection filled with Oriental innuances: harem pants (in silver metalic, of course), Aladdin slippers, half-moon brooches and a vast array of floating silk dresses in geometric patterns, resembling the bright mosaics featured in tiles or windows in Oriental architecture.
Not to be missed: 1970s inspired, jet-set, impressive hairstyles.
* Shipping models, celebrities, technical crew and clothes plus hiring a private island for a day... not economic. The chosen setting is Dubai, city built on an oil empire. That should tell you enough. However, Chanel often chooses different locations for each show: Paris, Singapore, St. Tropez, Scotland... but, to me, this show feels different from the rest, more commercial and crowd-pleasing than the rest, focused on the tradition and history of the place rather than its economics.
** There is also the connundrum of closing the show with a child. A catwalk featuring grown women and then a child. The meanings are endless and, needless to say, not cool.
Friday, 16 May 2014
Due to the fact that this weekend looks like the sunniest so far in this weather-tormented spring, I've felt confident enough to write about the ultimate summer shoe: the espadrille. It has been around for centuries, maybe even thousands of years. The Archaeological museum of Granada owns a pair of espadrilles that were found on human remains inside the "cueva de los murciélagos". It is estimated that these shoes are around 4000 years old. Clearly, the visionary who wore them knew this primitive version will then develop into something more sofisticated.
This light sandal, made with jute rope or braided hemp and with linen fabric, comes from my home country, Spain, where they were being worn around the XIII century by the King of Aragon's infantry men. Later on, it also took Salvador Dalí on seaside strolls and a young JFK on Cape Cod vacations. It's name is derived from "esparto", which is a kind of plant that was originally burned and then braided to make the soles.
By the 1940s, the girls had gotten in on the game and the sandal became a Hollywood staple, Its ribbons crisscrossed the ankles of Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly, and Rita Hayworth accessorized her one-piece with a pair for 1947's The Lady of Shanghai. The espadrille reached new heights in the late 60s, when YSL introduced the high-heeled wedge and every arguably fashionable young lady owned a pair when on vacation in Nice or St. Tropez.
My favourite espadrilles this season are from (also Spanish) brand Nice Things, and they come in a variety of designs to please even the toughest espadrille-lovers. From flowers to geometrical designs, crochet or classic one-colours, each pair is handcrafted in Barcelona in collaboration with Naguisa, another Spanish brand specialized in the production of espadrilles maintaining the traditional crafting methods, combining design and practicality. The result is a beautiful collection of shoes from the classical lace-ups to a more modern take with bright rubber soles. If you are like me, you will want every single one of them to combine with ripped boyfriend jeans, white flared dresses and high-waisted bikini and a straw hat like the everlasting Audrey Hepburn.
Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn
P.D. The not mentioned above but added pouches and bags are just to lift up your holiday spirits and make you fall in love a little bit more (if the gorgeous espadrilles weren't enough) with Nice Things
Sources: CondeNastTraveller, Espadrilles.eu, Nice Things and Naguisa
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
1. Hedgehog Ice Cream at Swanpool Beach Cafe
2,3,4. Latte and Bagel at Good Vibes Cafe (Falmouth)
5,6,7. Latte and Walnut & Coffee cake at Cafe Uneeka (Truro)
Instagram feed. Left to right, top to bottom. 1st Conrnwall. 2nd London
1. Uneeka Cafe; Swanpool Beach Cafe; Cream Tea at The Digey (St. Ives); Cornish Pastie from Pengenna Pasties (St. Ives)
2. Breakfast Toast at Bill's; Homemade Pizza, recipe from ; Iced Latte and Blueberry Miuffin at Le Pain Quotidien; Banana & Mint and Banana and Strawberry Shakes at Joe & the Juice