In these tumultous last few days, the overall outlook has been one of extreme sorrow - with flashes of hope inbetween. I was planning to post this yesterday, but somehow it just felt too inconsequential in comparison to the devastation experienced in Japan. The earthquake and tsunami have been much on my mind, as I'm sure it has for most people. I got into school early on friday morning, and noticed that some BBC footage was being streamed onto the whiteboard. I assumed that our teacher was preparing for a lesson, using an old news story, until I noticed the date in the corner - 11th March 2011. My friend and I watched in horror as footage of the wave covering buildings filled the usually blank screen. People came in laughing and joking, and as they noticed a gradual hush descended. Since then I have followed the updates on the Guardian website, and all I can say is that shivers run up and down my spine whenever I read about the latest number of casualties or the ongoing Nuclear problems. Sometimes it feels too intrusive seeing everything so immediately. Let's keep Japan in our thoughts and prayers.
So yes, turning my attention to an outfit post does seem frivolous, ... as though there should be a very big space between talking about Japan, and then describing what I'm wearing. However, perhaps its equally important to continue with the small daily celebrations of living. So here goes:
I have just started reading Brideshead Revisited, and have been very inspired by the ideal of pre-WW11 Oxford; full of tea in delicate china, champagne and strawberries, long summer days and punting down the river. Obviously I know this is not the main thrust of the book, but oh how it makes me want to don a silk chiffon dress and recite TS Elliot at dinner parties. Taking this as my inspiration, I devised an outfit that was a kind of feminised collegiate interpretation - right down to the bejewelled heels. I have also included a section of a moodboard I made that I thought reflected the feeling of the ensemble.
The silk shirt was my great-grandma's, as was the matching sash (tied in my hair). I bought the cardigan in a charity shop last week, as I adored the colour. The culottes are vintage seventies Marks & Spencers ('St Michaels'), also charity shopped, and the tights are from Next. I have to force myself not to just lazily reach for the culottes every day - they are the clothing equivalent of a social chameleon - changing the way they look depending on the context. The incredible satin shoes were given to me by Rosie, a stallholder from whom I buy copious amounts of vintage clothing and costume jewellery. The carpet bag was bought for me by my mum, and the little Radley belt is thrifted - the pin on the scarf in my hair and the necklace are vintage (from family). The gloves were given to me by the very kind Pearl.
My mum took the photos (In the photography stakes here, my dad needs to get his act together! Mum is beating him on the tally of recent shoots), on the hill above my village. The mist provided wonderful photographic atmosphere, and there was a sense of drama to the landscape. The title is taken from Nick Drake's album of the same name - his music is incredibly calming in this time of unrest. I think he had an innate ability to sound like he was singing to you personally.
If you haven't already, please read Jill's poignant post about Japan. Her suggestion about donating to the Red Cross (or another organisation) here is beautifully phrased. My thoughts are with any and every person affected by what's happening in Japan - from those who have lost family members or are currently unsure of their whereabouts, to those caught up in the chaos. Jill spoke of the blossom season in Japan, and how these delicate blooms in our country are like a reminder of those who are no longer with us. I feel that blossom, like so many other elements of spring, is a constant symbol of rebirth and new life. However, it will be a long time before the people, particularly of North-East Japan can recover, both structurally and emotionally, after this tragedy.