Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 1 September 2008

US elections update

As you all predicted, this got nasty at once. I have deleted the post How America Looks along with all the comments. Let's stick with fashion.

Harry Goes Shopping In Paris


The Thoughtful Dresser had suggested I check out Bon Marche ( her favourite store in Paris).
It turned out to be another case of women being far better served than men. Not that I necessarily begrudge this, because, after all, they account for far more significant business.
But the menswear section had all the charm of a 70’s department store, ie none.That time before the retail ‘revolution’, before space and light were introduced to the shop floor. It was dull. Some decent stuff , and some good names ( Etro, Cerrutti, Paul Smith) but a very edited selection. I wasn’t sure who they were supposed to be appealing to. It wasn’t me.

I also paid a visit to Printemps sale. I searched for a tab collar shirt, thinking I might have more luck than in London. But to no avail. So I bought a summer scarf by Agnes B. Not that we have had much of a summer in which to wear it.

I did make one discovery though. On my walk from St Germain ( where I visited the Diptyque store for a present for my cousin) to Bastille, ( no, I wasn't wearing hiking shoes) I had the good fortune to come across a shoe store previously unknown to me. Bexley is a French label producing shoes in what I would call classic English designs, and some with a modern/Italian inflection. Properly made….with Goodyear soles for instance. And they were very reasonably priced. I made off with a pair of suede loafers ( with a bit of a nod to Tod’s).
Now, I know that men’s footwear is , by and large, deeply boring . But the reason I mention this is because you really do have to hunt out decent designs and well made shoes.
They have a web site, so they may well be getting some more custom from me when the season turns.

Win free stuff!

You can enter yourself to win a free copy of The Clothes On Their Backs at the books blog Dove Grey Reader, to be shipped anywhere in the world. Just add yourself to the comments box. And there's a very nice review of the book, too. She's working her way through the Booker longlist

Helen Mirren - The Nazis got me off coke


From the Guardian (and everywhere else)

There are many reasons to give up cocaine: the price, the health risks, the illegality. But for Dame Helen Mirren the decision to turn her back on the drug was more specific: Klaus Barbie.

Mirren, who won an Oscar last year for her portrayal of the Queen, says she took the decision after discovering the Nazi war criminal had been making money from selling cocaine while he was in hiding in South America in the early 1980s.

"I loved coke. I never did a lot, just a little bit at parties," said Mirren. "But what ended it for me was when they caught Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, in the early 80s. He was hiding in South America and living off the proceeds of being a cocaine baron. And I read that in the paper, and all the cards fell into place and I saw how my little sniff of cocaine at a party had an absolute direct route to this fucking horrible man in South America."

The Colour Purple


The people have spoken. The Thoughtful Dresser will not address the US election. Well, until the actual day of the election when I observe the right to say my piece.

In the meantime, let us consider Michelle Obama and the colour purple:


Kate Moss is over; Sienna who? The UK high street has decreed that this season's fashion icon is none other than ... Michelle Obama. Sort of.

It's not so much Obama who has prompted such adulation, but a very specific dress of hers: the purple shift she wore in Minnesota in June when her husband clinched the Democratic nomination and she, famously, did the fist-bump with him.

Now, it is no exaggeration to say that this dress caused near hysteria among the fash pack: it prompted the New York Times to write an adoring piece about her wardrobe under the headline "She Dresses to Win". The paper ruminated that the colour was "symbolically rich, even if its message may have been so subtle as to be subliminal".

Symbolism, schmymbolism; that colour looked hot on her, something the high street noted, too. Purple has long been neglected and Obama reminded the world just how flattering it can be. Now everyone's suddenly got a bit of regal Michelle purple (which is very different from Ribena purple). Reiss, for example, has tricked out a gorgeous strapless evening dress in the shade.

I am huge fan of purple, it's THE colour for brunettes and redheads (I used to be the former and am now the latter). If Michelle Obama is the agent by which there is more purple in the shops then it's Go, Democrats, Go!