Red and white stripes always remind me of those fabulous circus-like tents on the beaches of Normandy, as captured by the impressionists in the late 1800s. Emilie Irving’s dress in this New York Times T Magazine spread, is nothing short of spectacular. I don’t know if beach tents were on her mind with this outfit, but it’s all I could think of when I saw it. Plus, the chintz floral fabric that she’s reclining on, à la Olympia (which, incidentally is the name of one of her husband’s two daughters) only makes the whole scene cooler. This couple has style in shed loads.
The house we rented last week in Tuscany was bursting with style and imagination. The fabrics –– curtains made from fine batik cotton, kantha throws strewn on sofas and the beds all covered in crisp, white linens and hand-embroidered Tuscan quilts –– added texture and colour everywhere you looked. I personally cannot resist a beautiful piece of fabric. If the little textile shop in nearby Montalcino had been open when we visited, I would have snapped up a suitcase load of Italian cotton. Now that we’re home, I’ve got my eye on the exuberant work of Sydney based artist Liz Payne. With such saturated colours, these textiles are more India that Italy, but that wouldn’t stop me from framing them on the walls of my Florentine pied-a-terre.
Satin shoes embellished with jewels are made for shimying on marble floors, not climbing dirt roads in the Tuscan Hills with a baby in your arms. But it was in the heart of Toscana, at a beautiful family wedding, that my Giambatista Valli’s made their debut this weekend. There was a joyful hora when the shoes got to dance and hop and jump on a muddy, rocky terrain, and then more dancing inside the cobbled grounds of a medieval castello. Indeed, it was quite the debut. They’ll need to be re-heeled, but boy, did we have fun.
We’re off to Italy today, not al mare, but the house we’ve rented does have a pool, and that’s just grand. I’m hoping to read a book under a cypress tree and guzzle olive oil and vino rosso in equal measure. Let’s hope the bambini are on the same itinerary.
Yellow is such a happy colour. I think of sunshine, I think of daffodils and I think of fields of bright yellow canola. I have a particular taste for mustard yellow, the colour that squirts out of a Heinz bottle. I have shoes, a tote, and I’m pining after a wool jacket in that very colour. It’s gorgeous and original, like Ms. Hepburn here.
My body has worked hard for me over the last six years. There are some lumps and bumps, wrinkles and scars, but frankly, I’m quite proud of them. I can’t say I don’t lament the loss of my once pert(ish) tatas though. “Why are your boobies so droopy, Mama?” asked Iole last week. “Ballooning from an A to an E three times in 5-years will do that,” I mumbled under my breath, with a curse or two about breast pumps. “Because Mama’s all out of latte,” I added. Indeed, my days of leaving the house sans brassière are over, and so should those items in my wardrobe that don’t require one be too. I tried on a long dress today, yellow like Sicilian lemons, that I used to wear bra less to parties and weddings. “You could get some of those sticky pads for your nipples,” said our nanny, Marilyn. What, the nipples that sit somewhere around my waistline? No way. I can’t be bothered with sticky tape and silicone cutlets. I need to wear a bra. Full stop. One day, I may take my friend Bianca on a trip to Panama City for cocktails and lifts, but in the meantime, I’ll trust my sturdy bra to get me through.
Our great friends gave Jason a record player for his birthday. There’s something so lovely and comforting about the crackling sound of vinyl. It’s like a warm fire. “It’s the quality of the sound and that exact physical involvement with the music that makes listening to vinyl in the digital era such a rewarding experience,” writes the Telegraph’s Emma Barnett of her love affair with the snap, crackle and pop of vinyl. The other day, we gathered around it, and it felt like that scene in Downtown Abbey, when its residents flock to the wireless in wonder. I played some calypso music by Hubert Smith which is a sure way to get everyone on their dancing feet.
On that list of clothing that says, en vacances, nautical striped tees rank high. I picture Picasso on holiday in Antibes or Warhol summering in Montauk. Both painters were devoted to the stripe. In the spirit of our upcoming segiorno in Tuscany, I’ve snapped up a chic little seersucker –– a top and capris –– to wear barefoot, with espadrilles or with yellow Ferragamos on the streets of Sienna. Ciao!
I’ve crossed paths with a pint sized lady with short pinkish/purple hair a few times lately. “Nice sunglasses,” she says to me. “Nice hair,” I say back. It’s actually just a front quiff that’s dyed the colour of candyfloss, the rest of her hair is silvery grey. She wears cat eye glasses, too. She’s cool. I’m pretty sure you need to be fair skinned to pull of a blush pink rinse. Or upwards of 75, when you can do whatever the hell you want. My Auntie Polyxene had a mauve bouffant, and so does Jason’s grandfather. It’s sweet and eccentric, like their very own pastel cloud.
I see you all out there, in your woolly jumpers and cashmere scarves. The first gust of chilly air, and everyone’s gagging to get into their cold weather duds. Not me. I’ll be barefoot in my ballerinas for as long as I can bare it. I’ll be wearing my drawstring cottons and printed caftans, pinks, yellows and blues like the sea, until Autumn is well and truly here. And then, sometime in Mid-October, I hope, out will come the knits, and the socks and the woolly hats. And if I’m lucky, there will be an Ermanno Gallamini Embroidered Reversible Cape in the mix, too.