Sunday, 18 December 2011

Wintery Sunday







Whenever I put on the jacket pictured, I am immediately transported to my only brief trip to Paris in early 2010. As detailed below, it was bought on a very wintery Sunday. 

My mum and I arrived late on a Friday evening, puffing out spirals into the freezing night as we waited for a taxi.  As the car then sped around the city, we played ‘spot the landmark’ – pointing to the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, lit up like golden velvet.
The next day I was up early for a modelling assignment for an Italian magazine known as D Mag. One of the strangest things about modelling is that you never know quite where you are going to end up – a blessing or a curse, depending on the outcome. That time I was more than lucky. The shoot took place in the top floor apartment of what looked like an otherwise deserted building. Our initial qualms were abandoned once we saw the interior. It was like stepping into a perfect replica of the seventies, from the sliding door revealing shelves and shelves of vinyl records to the cream sofa I was asked to recline on in a cheesecloth skirt. The owner, (a doctor if my memory is correct), had rented it out to the team for the day.
 I count the hours spent there as being one of the highlights of my very short-lived modelling career.  It was my first big, ‘proper’ job – I was a nervous fourteen year old surrounded by a number of people who were constantly adjusting my appearance and discussing it in a wonderful mixture of languages. I did have one reason to be worried though. I had been diagnosed with scoliosis some months previously, and the physical effects on my torso were already noticeable. When styled in a striped swimming costume and long, clingy skirt, my mum and I silently wondered whether the photographer saw my lopsided-barrel ribs. However, if the team did notice anything amiss, then they gracefully didn’t let on. I attempted to use my rudimentary school-learnt French (taught purely to pass exams) at lunch. I smiled gleefully as the Italian stylist chose each garment. Almost flirtatiously I would flutter my eyes at the Stella McCartney skirts and Chanel boots, like a girl waiting for a dance partner to choose her. It was my first glimpse of the way those clothes looked and felt in ‘real life’ – my previous perception was a purely visual one, influenced by the images from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I softened up as the day progressed, and left having thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience – and hoping that I had done my job well.

Sunday offered the chance to explore the city – my mum and I taking in the sights at high speed. We walked to the Sacre Coeur, and later took a rattling metro train to the Notre Dame. The two grand churches were bookends, with ‘Les Marches Aux Puce’ (the flea markets) sandwiched between in the afternoon. We made our way through stalls selling CDs and the men touting fake Louis Vuitton bags to the ‘vintage quarter’. We knew we were near when the surrounding shops started displaying antique furniture, giving prominence to items that I didn’t know I desired until I saw them: crystal doorknobs, individual sparkling droplets from chandeliers, ornate keys covered in curlicues, feather fans.
We trod along alleyways and cut through passages, slowly losing ourselves in the catacomb of clothing. Places selling leather jackets sat alongside cave-like rooms that one had to stoop in to examine vintage satin hats and snakeskin shoes. Recognisable names (and less recognisable price tags) fluttered by – Madame Gres, Chanel, Alaia and a green fur Dior.
There was a lot of fur, most of it sported by the elegant, elderly French women. It was a freezing February day, the coldest in years (according to the conversations we overheard), and these women looked smug and warm. Some of the pelts were accessorised with the glowing red tip of a cigarette, or bright lipstick bleeding into the tributaries of their lips.
I found the cropped, blue jacket pictured in a stall located at the top of a set of stairs. The rails of Bell Boys’ jackets and delicious looking dresses were riffled through having just enjoyed a hand-warming crepe.  I sprung at the snatch of blue boiled wool and military style buttons visible among the heaving coat hangers. It was one of several in varying sizes and styles, with some kind of insignia stamped on the brown, slightly faded lining. I would love to know whose uniform this was; what they did and where.
This piece of clothing now serves as a souvenir, not only from Paris, but also from modelling. It hangs in my room alongside a Charlotte Taylor top as a memory of a dizzy and fleeting immersion in an industry that was both tantalising and curious.

We later dashed to catch a glimpse of the Louvre in the melting sun, before leaving for the airport. It was too quick an introduction, but I’m sure I will be re-acquainted when the time is right. 

The dress was from a favourite charity shop of mine, as was the hat and the chelsea boots. The turquoise necklace belonged to my mum (I put it on the circular torque) and the scarf in the first shot belonged to a family member. 

33 comments:

Katrina said...

This is probably my favorite article of your. I have read many, and they are all wonderful, but somehow this one has made a lasting impression. Love the way your outfit posts have personal stories, not just a background check of where you bought what. Lovely.

>'.'<

Closet Fashionista said...

Love this outfit! And that sounds like a wonderful world wind trip to Paris, mine was only 1 day which DEFINITELY wasn't enough...
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

The Fancy Teacup said...

Your trip to Paris sounded magical. The combination of hues in your outfit are so rich and beautiful. x

www.TheFancyTeacup.com

AngeliqueDama said...

You're adorable! Love your style!

Aliya said...

What a great thrifted find! Your hat is so lovely and I am in love with that turquoise cardigan of yours!!

x Aliya
www.papermoonsandmacarons.blogspot.com

Junaluska said...

The way you tell the story, I can almost feel the cold and see myself in an a Parisian antique shop. Also, the navy and mulberry colours form a perfect combination.

sacramento said...

Your stories always transport me to your world, and your beauty and love for vintage mekes you so close to my heart, my dear Rosalind.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kate said...

Your writing completely transports me to the Parisian flea markets, I've been there and you described it perfectly! I adore your outfit, and your jacket matches so perfectly with your hat. I love that your jacket has such a magical story behind it, and you haven't just said where it is from. Beautiful!
www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Amelia Grace said...

Such a beautiful outfit! :) I love reading your blog, your writing is so poetic.


melodyinink.blogspot.com

the nyanzi report said...

great writing as always and that first shot is really beautiful.

le sorelle said...

This was such a lovely story! It felt as though we were all living it with you. How wonderful that you got to experience such a trip with your mom by your side! :)

-j
TORY BURCH GIVEAWAY

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Paris! How wonderful to explore Parisian flea markets.
Another lovely color combo on you, Roz.

Natalie Suarez said...

amazing!! you look wonderful :)

xx

natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

Gabriella said...

Gorgeous pictures, I love that dress and the jacket...and the hat! Lovely writing too, Paris sounds wonderful!

♥ Check out my blog: Principessa Gabriella

Dale said...

I love this post, the pics are gorgeous. I liked reading about the military inspired buttons too, I've been looking for these too.

xoDale
www.savvyspice.net

Vix said...

What a fantastic story, so well told.
The description of be-furred women in their coats looking "smug" is just wonderful.
The plum dress is so elegant and eye-catching, made all the better with the blue highlights. x

Toshiko Shek said...

such a lovely dress! that plum color looks great on you!
itsnother-itsme.blogspot.com

Zorian said...

Love the necklace. Love the outfit.

Polka Princess said...

Aaah! Paris!! Anything associated with that fashionable city seems like a thing to be treasured forever......

I'd love to see you shot (like, with a camera!) on the streets of Paris one day... :)

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Absolutely lovely. I'm sure bellboys never looked as alluring. The combination of wintry colors are beautiful. You have reminded me to pull out a dress I have, in the same plum color with the same cut. It is normally in my summer wardrobe, but now I am inspired to use it this winter!

What a terrific experience you had in Paris, and I would hazard a guess you have more modeling experiences to come. I've been there a few times, but never long enough and the last time was too long ago. My first stop was often the Louvre, despite being bleary-eyed with jet lag. It was always the jolt and pinch-me feeling confirming I was really in Paris! One of my fondest recollections too was walking along the Seine and browsing through booksellers' racks and antique maps and such ... and finishing up with true French crepes from the street vendors. xxx

adrielleroyale said...

Love love love that dress! And the jacket is such a beautiful addition too! The lines and color combo are so simple yet elegant :)

Izzy/Bella said...

I love your quick impression of Paris. You make me feel like I'm back there with only a few details. Well done!

And I love old vintage clothes for the same reason. I wonder who wore them, where, how they felt in them? My boyfriend has a real, genuine Navy peacoat from a thriftstore in the East Village with the sailor's name in it and I don't know why but I like that about it...

And I love the dress! I'm getting very into long dresses and skirts and coats. Don't they make you think of those madcap movies from the 30s? Myrna Loy I think it was in The Thin Man...Must check and get back to you!

Wonderful post!
xx
Izzy
www.misadventuresofme.com

Carla said...

Rosalind.. a fascinating read weaving the clothes so intricately into your fleeting Paris visit, and now a daily reminder of that experience in your life, hanging and waiting for you to travel back to Paris together!!
Merry Merry Christmas and may 2012 bring you happiness and lots of fun blogging!
Carla x

Sara Louise said...

such perfect colours. you look like a model x

Fashionistable said...

I feel like I was on this journey with you and your Mum. You write so beautifully I was transported. The purple and blue of your outfit today compliment each other perfectly. Xxxx

Hope Adela Pasztor said...

Your hair is so beautiful in this! I love the elegant, subtle colors. You look like an elegant regal queen. Merry early Christmas! =)

pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com

Lidiya said...

Gorgeous dress, the colour is so rich and beautiful! And your trip to Paris sounds like out of a dream, I adore the city <3
http://cupcakesandtreacle.blogspot.com/

SabinePsynopsis said...

What a beautiful jacket and dress. I also love it when a piece of clothing symbolises a story/memory for me... Are you sure you don't want to step into modelling again? You are such a gorgeous person.

Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful, happy Christmas, Rosalind. xxx

Izzy said...

Love how you focused on your trip to Paris- sounds magical. You have such an amazing way of writing, didn't loose interest once! The dress is gorgeous, such a great AW11 colour.
Izzy xo
www.swampedinflowers.blogspot.com

Celebrity Style Tips said...

Very nice! We love the color of the dress and the necklace.

http://celebritystyletips.com/

Emily said...

I am writing a zombie romance novel, and before I finish it, I pray I become half as good a writer as you. I love the blues and purples and grays in this look. They're hues reminiscent of a cool fog. The cropped jacket is stunning. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story!

**kisses**
Emily

Henry said...

Merry Christmas and a happy 2012!

isa telaraña said...

Beautiful story. I think models´ life is very short and you have a very long and interesting future in many other places.
Happy days with your family!!!