What to Wear in Books, Part II

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What to Wear in Books, Part II
Yes, we did this once before.  Last autumn, in fact, when I was poring over the fall fashion collections and wandering through books specially made for a cold October night. ( You can revisit that posting here.)  Well, we’re are on the other side of the calendar now, and I’m thinking of warm summer mornings, extravagant straw hats, silky dresses worn during lunches under the arbor when rose petals drift slowly down to land in the iced tea glasses.
These are some of the books that I reach for at this carefree time of the year.
 See if you think my sartorial choices are correct......

Visiting a Friend in Cornwall
I must confess, I was a bit concerned when my friend up and married this man.  Handsome, yes, but so different than she, in so many ways.  He’s a good many years older, for a start, and lives a lifestyle totally outside of her sphere.  And to think she is now mistress of this grand house!  No wonder she wanted me to come for a visit.  A familiar face, someone who knows her well, might just provide that extra bit of confidence she is in need of at the moment.  Especially since this housekeeper - oh I can never remember that woman’s name -  seems peculiarly disobliging.  Seems I’m up before anyone else this morning.  Let’s see now, I’ve seen the drawing room - very formal.  Ah, I hear the dogs.  This must be the door to the morning room....
“This was a woman’s room, graceful, fragile, the room of someone who had chosen every particle of furniture with great care, so that each chair, each vase, each small infinitesimal thing should be in harmony with one another, and with her own personality.  It was as though she who had arranged this room had said, ‘This I will have, and this, and this,’ taking piece by piece from the treasures in Manderley each object that pleased her best, ignoring the second-rate, the mediocre, laying her hand with sure and certain instinct only upon the best.  There was no intermingling of style, no confusing of period, and the result was perfection in a strange and startling way, not coldly formal like the drawing-room shown to the public, but vividly alive, having something of the same glow and brilliance that the rhododendrons had, massed there, beneath the window.”
From Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
and Ralph Lauren, Spring RTW 2012

Renting a Summer House in Italy
I’ve joined my friend Molly on an expedition to find a house for the summer.  Of course we’ve come to Italy, the most sublime place for an escape.  But so many houses, and not one just right yet.  My feet are beginning to ache.  Perhaps this will be the one.  It certainly looks promising to me.  Oh darn, I’ve got a grass stain on my knee.  Serves me right I guess, I shouldn’t have knelt down to pet that Borzoi we saw at the gates.  Oh, I hear Molly down the hall, I’d better catch up.

“ Her inspection of the bedroom finished, she walked down the staircase into the coolness of the stone-flagged hallway.  A large collection of sun-hats hung on pegs in the entrance hall, bowls were filled with dried lavender and a huge pottery jar was crammed with walking-sticks, some of which had ornate silver handles.  By the time she reached the front door of the house, she knew, it had to be hers for the summer.  If it had a secret she would do her best to discover it and she was not going to miss the trail across the Mountains of the Moon to what was undoubtedly the greatest small picture in the world.”

From Summer’s Lease by John Mortimer
and Sonia Rykiel Spring RTW2012

Shopping on a Cloudy Day
I needed to get out of the house.  Such a dreary day.  There’s a chill in the air that seems to have nothing to do with the weather, so I’ve decided to do a bit of shopping.   Stock up on a few fresh herbs, maybe a new cloak or two.  And whilst I know Edward would most likely disapprove, I would dearly love an owl.  A great barn owl to sit on my windowsill when the moon turns full.  Couldn’t hurt to look around, now could it?  Lunch at the pub and maybe ice cream later.  Yes, marvelous idea!  But first, that owl.  Let’s see now, oh yes, here’s the place... The Magical Menagerie!  I opened the heavy glass door, I looked around.....
A pair of enormous purple toads sat gulping wetly and feasting on dead blowflies.  A gigantic tortoise with a jewel-encrusted shell was glittering near the window.  Poisonous orange snails were oozing slowly up the side of their glass tank, and a fat white rabbit kept changing into a silk top hat and back again with a loud popping noise.  Then there were cats of every colour, a noisy cage of ravens, a basket of funny custard-coloured furballs that were humming loudly, and on the counter, a vast cage of sleek black rats that were playing some sort of skipping game using their long, bald tails.”
From Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Askaban
and Ralph Lauren Fall RTW 2012

Joining the Durrell’s in Greece
Who knew it would be so warm here?  Such a welcome change from the rainy English weather we left behind.  I can’t believe the Durrell’s invited me along.  And I’m so thrilled I don’t have to share a room with Margo.  She can be so very tiresome when she’s not in love.  Of course, Gerry is right next door so I’m sure I’ll hear strange animal noises coming out of his room at all hours. But that’s alright, I quite like the little boy.  There, I’m done unpacking.  So happy I brought this dress, too. Perfect for the afternoon weather in Corfu.  The table is already set for luncheon, under the trees thankfully - this sun can be dreadful for the skin.  Looking out these double windows I must say, this is a divine setting.  I could tell from the first moment we saw this place, it’s going to be a wonderful summer...... 

“The villa was small and square, standing in its tiny garden with an air of pink-faced determination.  Its shutters had been faded by the sun to a delicate creamy green, cracked and bubbled in places.  The garden, surrounded by tall fuchsia hedges, had the flower beds worked in complicated geometrical patterns, marked with smooth white stones.  The white cobbled paths, scarcely as wide as a rake’s head, wound laboriously round beds hardly larger than a big straw hat, beds in the shapes of stars, half-moons, triangles, and circles, all overgrown with a shaggy tangle of flowers run wild.  Roses dropped petals that seemed as big and smooth as saucers, flame-red, moon-white, glossy, and unwrinkled;  marigolds like broods of shaggy suns stood watching their parent’s progress through the sky..... The warm air was thick with the scent of a hundred dying flowers, and full of the gentle, soothing whisper and murmur of insects.  As soon as we saw it, we wanted to live there - it was as though the villa had been standing there waiting for our arrival.  We felt we had come home.

From My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
and Etro Spring RTW 2012