Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Falling...

For the Northern hemisphere, the crispy days of fall are nigh, and that means only one thing, as far as I'm concerned: Awesome fall plaids!
While there have been many inspiring plaid ensembles around the blogosphere, this one really takes the cake, has it and eats it as well (is that one too many idioms packed together?). So my advise is: if you only visit one amazing online store this fair season, make it Anja Louise Verdugo's Estate Sale.

Reading: The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
Listening to: The Wooden Sky

Thursday, September 18, 2008

and what are you going to do



Poppies

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn't a place
in this world that doesn't

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it's done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

Mary Oliver

This post is sort of for Missa, who must be traveling happily across California right now.

Listening to: Bruce Peninsula
Reading: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Thursday, September 11, 2008

About A Girl

The Gibson Girl-style was perhaps the first decidedly American fashion-phenomenon, invented in the form a series of pin-up drawings by the illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.


Not only was she beautiful, with her signature hair-do and hour-glass shape, but she was also free-spirited (in so much as it was possible in that constricting corset), funny and even sporty. She went to college, played tennis, travelled, and was even pictured as somewhat of an equal to the men in her circles, though obviously she did not get to vote, and had little prospects outside of marriage.
Nonetheless, the gibson girl was the feminine ideal for a more modern era, and definitely a beauty standard fit for the New World, which had for much of its history been following the trends of Europe, rather than creating it's own. Certainly her arrival paved the way to the revolutionary styles of the Jazz Age, for the gibson girl often favored shorter skirts than what was accustomed to, and required sporty outfits for such past-times as swimming and tennis.

While one does not want aspire to having the freakishly small waist, or the ridiculous beauty and attitude notions of the era, there is something utterly alluring about the Gibson Girl. For me at least, the piled-on-top-of-the-head hair has been an object of (mostly unfulfilled) yearning, since 6th grade. Its extravagant, yet carefree look sets off a modern outfit perfectly, adding a touch of class and elegance, and it is fairly easy to do if you have long hair. (Bangs are a problem, alas.)

Witness this Helsinki-beauty pull it off, with a perfect Gibson-esque blouse, and high-waisted jeans (and a bag featuring one of Tove Jansson's Moomin-characters):


Image from Hel-looks

Easy instructions for the hair-do are available here. I'm off to try them myself. Followed, perhaps by a rousing game of tennis, a walk on the beach (parasol included), and some drinks at the club. I hear they have a divine new pianist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To Sleep


virgin suicides, originally uploaded by softspoken.
Vintage Postcard ~ Little Girl Sleeping by chicks57.

Vintage Postcard ~ Little Girl Sleeping by chicks57.

...perchance to dream


Listening to: Sleeping is all I wanna do by The Duhks

Sunday, September 7, 2008

By The Cover

Sometimes a book cover can sell me the book, or just as easily put me off one for good. For instance:recently I was feeling a little ambivalent about wether to read Marisa Pessl's Special Topics In Calamity Physics, but the beautiful pastel roses on the cover finally endeared it to me. Similarly, I put of reading What I loved for a few extra weeks just because the cover was so inelegant.
Now this may strike you as a rather shallow approach to the sacred act of reading, but my recent reading material is the perfect example:



The cover captures the mood of the book perfectly, beautifully, without restricting the reader's imagination. It's dreamy, but there's a slight feel of terror to it. It is the perfect introduction to Rhys' novel.

A book is an object like any other. If you are at all an aesthetic, you look for beauty in the objects you have around. It is in our nature to have taste, likes and dislikes, and to reflect them onto the objects we acquire, regardless of their use, or purpose.

Obviously I would not recommend buying a book just because it has a beautiful cover, but the cover can also, to some extent, imply something about the content. For instance, a cover in any shade of pink, or any other pastel, with a silhouette of a woman on it (or a martini glass, or a handbag, or heck, a poodle), is usually a marker of a genre of literature, I am not too enamored with. Not to be a snob, or anything (like one could be a snob after saying they read Special Topics).

Similarly, there are markers that indicate, not only the obvious genre, but the literary, and even emotional characteristics of a book. Sombre black-and-white images, often of a building, or a desolate landscape, or some detail, like an arm, or a stairway (whatever suits the content better), denote a serious-man-book, your Auster, your Updike.

You've got the black-and-white-picture-of-the-author-on-the-cover-variety, for those pesky dead greats, to remind you that you ought to read them just to keep up with the canon.

For the young, hip first novelists, there's the quirky, stylized lettering, maybe with lurid, contrasting colors, or more silhouettes. Your Safran-Foers, your Ferrises, get these.

And, last but, not least, there's the photograph of a decapitated, or otherwise torso-ed young woman, which universally stands for emotionally compelling writing, loved by serious girls (the imagery is necessary to ward off the unsuspecting male folk). The latter style extends to anyone from Ali Smith, to Alice Hoffman, and even Siri Hustvedt (and apparently Tolstoy!). Lauren Groff had fun things to say about this.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. A beautiful book is a joy to behold. And while that old simile we all know, may be partially right, isn't beauty, along with emotion and enlightenment, the very essence of literature?



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let's Move Into The Sky

This is Ms. Thumbelina of the magical, mythical Alaska (though the State is of ill repute of late due to some rather barbaric practises). Already of note in the fashion blog circles, this young lady's style is a wonderful mix of fairy-tale prettiness, Alaskan plaids, English roses, French chic and eerie forest tones. In other words: utterly inspirational.
I'm off to ready my closet for fall now.

Listening to: Let's Recycle The Night by André Charles Thériault

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Handle With Care

I have mentioned the amazing Missa of thriftcandy in this blog before. She is a sender-of -packages, my long-lost-style-twin, and just all-around adorable and inspirational. So imagine the giddy heights of delight I floated to, when a rain-sodden mailman rang my doorbell this morning, carrying this beautiful package all the way from sunny Californ-i-a:


Covered in pretty postcards and pictures, all of which I am sure to carefully cut out and place on my inspiration board, the package contained great many treasures, including (but NOT limited to) the dress I am wearing above.

I love this. So true.
And you do know how I feel about tea-ware.
This reminds me of the Ted Hughes poem "Epiphany". Only not so dark.
Oh the beauty. Only what was inside could rival the wonderfulness of the box.
This little medicine pouch is so reminiscent of this recent Missa-outfit, which I loved.
Unfortunately you can't really make it out in all it's glory, but THIS my friends is a genuine Alaska-charm-bracelet, complete with seals, igloos, inuits, totem poles, salmon and bears. It is divine and Missa bought it the day before my post on Alaska. Co-incidence? I think not.
An old song-book with bee song. Next to Alaska, bees are pretty much my greatest obsession.
This is us, obviously.

A bookmark and the box that contained the Alaska-bracelet.

Some kind of wonderful, don't you think? Regardless of the information age, there is still such pleasure to sending and receiving mail. It requires effort, though, it isn't done quite so casually, as an email, or a wall-post on friend's facebook profile. Don't get me wrong. It's only thanks to the wonders of the internets, that I even know Missa, and many other wonderful girls and ladies around the world, but still, I love a good old-fashioned postcard every once in a while.


So in the spirit of anachronistic communication I hereby declare that any of you who'd like a mail communique from your truly, post their address to either the comment box, of this post, or my email, princessmilla2shoes@gmail.com. Go ahead, indulge me.

And Missa, thank you so much for being my wonderful long-distant friend. You don't feel all that distant.