- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 66
Villette, by Charlotte Brontë
This story is so full of feeling! Lucy Snow is one unfortunate and lonely, yet determined and rational young woman (at least on the surface). Some fragments in the book are so well and truly written that I was engulfed in the oppressive feelings described, but Charlotte Brontë is a master of the ups and downs and always manages to bring the character and the reader back afloat. Although you never know for how long…
Mind you, I still have a few hours left of the audiobook, and I wonder that I dare say I can see a happy ending in the distance, although I am not too hopeful that it will indeed be the case. I am looking forward to a few quiet hours at the weekend to see this through.
Source – Charlotte Brontë
Villette was the third and last novel published by Charlotte Bronte while she was alive and it is a re-working of her first novel (published posthumously), The Professor. I remember I once started this but was not in the right frame of mind for it, while Villette completely captivated me now.
It just shows one should read or re-read certain books at different times in life. I should revisit Jane Eyre now as a thirty-year-old woman, I am sure it will be a different experience than it was for me as a high school seventeen-year-old.
What books would you like to re-read?
It’s been a couple of weeks since I watched a feel-good, beautiful old movie, and I need to restart my weekly ritual. The last such movie I watched was Gigi (1958) and I really enjoyed it. I never knew it was nominated for and won nine Academy Awards, among these best picture, best screenplay, best art direction, best cinematography – colour and best costume design. It was in fact a record for the highest clean sweep of nominations, which the movie held until 2004 when The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won all eleven of its nominations.
The aesthetic and overall mood of the movie is indeed exquisite. I remember reading years ago the novella this is based on, written by Colette, but as it was paired in a Vintage Penguin with The Cat, also by Colette, the latter was the one that stuck with me, while I couldn’t recall much of Gigi.
I think it might be time for a quick re-read of this as well, and while I am at it, finally watching the movie Colette! If I stay true to this plan, you’ll read about it next week!
How to Bury an Entire Museum
This is one of the most fascinating reads I’ve come across in a while. I knew a little bit about efforts during the Second World War, and other big-scale conflicts, to protect art and museums, but my knowledge was anecdotal, from movies and what-not. After reading this brief account about the complex hiding and conservation strategies at the Archaeological Museum in Athens, the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London, I am left wanting to explore more.
Source – The Louvre’s collection during WWII
Burying an entire museum, as the title says, hiding the art in caves and other improvised shelters, sounds more like the stuff of movies. Imagine being there and working on these top-secret projects, helping conserve history and culture! But also imagine stumbling upon a hidden treasure like this, something that was overlooked or forgotten? It is certainly not impossible.
Source – The Grande Gallerie of the Louvre in September 1939
If you want to fire your imagination, here is a long list of lost art, original pieces that credible sources indicate once existed, but that cannot be accounted for in museums or private collections or are known to have been destroyed deliberately or accidentally, or neglected through ignorance and lack of connoisseurship. There are quite a few missing and some are linked directly to the Second World War. Heartbreaking also to see how many were destroyed over the centuries.
I will be looking for documentaries and more exquisite finds on this topic, be sure!
Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear
As you already know, after each Fashion Week season I like to browse the collections, both the well-known names and the lesser-known ones, to get inspired, spot new trends, feed my interest in fashion. Albeit a bit late, I am making no exception this time.
First I must say, I loved everything at Saint Laurent, that’s the style I am going for at the moment in my life. Some other favourite collections were Roberto Cavalli, always for the leopard print, mixed with other prints too, Alexander McQueen, no surprises here, Oscar de la Renta for the lush florals and knitwear, and Rosie Assouline, whose tribute look for Albert Elbaz I featured last week. She is a revelation for me!
There were many other looks that I would wear straight off the runway, please, from Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry or Carolina Herrera, but also from new to me names like A.W.A.K.E.(so many good looks!), Johanna Ortiz, Lutz Huelle, RTA, Vaquera, Richard Quinn, Palmer Harding, Antonio Marras, Bibhu Mohapatra, Alexandra Alonso Rojas and others.
Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Marni, Carolina Herrera, Sportmax
Among the trends I spotted, the (super)oversized blazer can be seen by at least o dozen different designers, like Lanvin, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana or Marni. There were also countless reinterpretations of the classic trench coat, from new colours to deconstructed or feminine cuts.
I will never tire of browsing the latest collections every season, even though there are more and more and it takes more than just a few hours.
I hope you enjoy my exercise too!
Bag Rain Covers
Speaking of fashion, I was vaguely aware of something like this existing, but it has recently pop-up in my feed on Instagram and it got me thinking. A rain cover or raincoat for your bag can seem counterintuitive… The bag itself is a sort of ‘rain cover’ for all your things and it should be designed to withstand the elements, right? This was my initial thought.
But of course, there are bags that are actually very precious or delicate, and it’s not always a case of price, although the first example that comes to mind is high-end bags that are truly an investment and deserve to be looked after properly. But you also might have a rare/unique vintage bag, a handpainted bag (like the beautiful Rebecca Moses ones) or one that simply has personal value.
It is worth noting that this is not a new invention, both Chanel and Balenciaga sent rain covered bags down the runway back in 2018. There are a few options on the market at the moment, from as little as £10, so I would say it’s really not a bad idea considering bags can certainly be more expensive than anything else we’re wearing or owning.
Have you heard of moonbows before? I hadn’t, until recently. Also known as lunar rainbows, they are very similar to rainbows, but for the source of light, which in this case is the moon, rather than the sun. For this reason, moonbows are much fainter than solar rainbows and it is difficult for the human eye to discern colors in a moonbow, so these often appear to be white. However, the colors in a moonbow do appear in long exposure photographs.
You can read here more about the special and time constricted conditions needed for a moonbow to form, as they are ten times rarer than a normal rainbow, already a rare phenomenon in itself, despite being very well-known.
A nature exquisite find indeed, and now I’m hoping I’ll get to experience a live moonbow in my lifetime!
Did you know that carnations, in general, but pink carnations especially, are considered the official flower of Mother’s Day in many countries? Pink carnations are thought to symbolise a mother’s pure and never-ending love. I can’t quite tell how or when it happened, but sometime in the past couple of years, I have gone from quite disliking carnations to having a soft spot for the petite variety, in either pale pink or white. It might be a mom thing?!
I find they look beautiful in a clear tall vase, so you can still see the delicate stems and leaves too. I’ve been enjoying this bunch for about a week, this is my prompt to you to go buy yourself some flowers this weekend!
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 66My thoughts on Villette, by Charlotte Bronte, Gigi (1958), How to Bury and Entire Museum, SS 2022 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week, Bag Rain Covers, Moonbows, Pink Carnations
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 65My thoughts on LibriVox – Free Audiobooks App, Alber Elbaz Tribute Show, The Coat in my Mind, Holy Tennis, Unconventional Milestones, Floral Styling Interpretations, William Morris Quote
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 64My thoughts on Women in the Picture, by Catherine McCormack, The Dilettante Magazine, Manuscript Books, Meg Ryan Fall Inspiration, Wood Mystique, by Estée Lauder, Paper Flowers, Rare Word – Quaintrelle
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 63My thoughts on The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, The Frank Sinatra Spectacular, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, by Vermeer, Light and Lamps, What’s New in Tights, Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream, Shower Bouquets,
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 62My thoughts on Women’s Prize for Fiction, Museum Visits Prescribed for Stress, High Society (1956), Parisiens in Paris, Cashmere, How to Buy a Little Happiness, Late Summer Flowers