A few weeks ago, having just entered 2021 but not really finding ourselves in a better position than most of 2020 was spent in, I said to myself that I needed to at least read about the Roaring Twenties as they were and as I had hoped these will also be. I went for Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, unfortunately though, not being fully aware of it being meant as a satirical look at those years.
Although the book absolutely delivers on what I was hoping to receive – crazy characters and crazy circumstances, crazy behavior and crazy parties inspired of course by the real group, of which the author was a member – it is tinged by the cynical and ironic tone of voice.
This is the reason why it hasn’t kept me as engaged as I had hoped I would be, hence only finishing it the other day. Still, it is a mood and a distraction and I am now considering watching the series it inspired – Bright Young Things – as it comes very well recommended, being written and directed by Stephen Fry and counting many acclaimed British actors among the cast.
Young Bright Things Exhibition, Cecil Beaton
While reading more about the Young Bright Things I learned that Cecil Beaton, the famous British celebrity and fashion photographer, was also part of the group. In fact, he started his career by photographing his friends. There was an exhibition of Beaton’s work at the National Portrait Gallery entitled just that – Young Bright Things – that launched on the 12th of March 2020 only to close five days later as we all went into lockdown. It’s unclear to me if it will still be available when the museum will eventually welcome guests again, but here you can read about it and watch a few very insightful curator videos. There is also a selection of items you can purchase in the Gallery’s online shop inspired by the exhibition.
I need to read more about Beaton, he has been on my radar for a while! As I happen to have it in my library, my starting point will be Beaton Portraits, a book put together also by the NPG to accompany another major exhibition in 2004.
Cecil Beaton’s Bathroom Walls
Speaking of Beaton, I almost shared this image a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon it in my saved posts on Feedly. At Ashcombe House in Wiltshire, a house he leased for 15 years (and wrote a book about) and where he hosted many gatherings of the Bright Young Things, he would sketch the hands of his guests on the walls of the bathroom and ask them to sign these imprints. I thought it looked exquisite and showed the exact elusive carefree and buoyant spirit of the era that I am fascinated by.
This house and another one of his favourites – Reddish House – featured in an exhibition back in 2014 and the curator, Andrew Ginger, a longtime collector of Beatoniana who curated the show explains [t]hey vividly reflect his approach to life and decor at two different stages in his life”. “Ashcombe,” he continues, was “all about being 26 years old, independent, joyous, and plunging naively into the pleasure of entertaining.
Source, a few more images of Beaton at Ashcombe here
Now the house is owned and inhabited by Guy Ritchie, who initially bought and shared it with his then-wife Madonna, and now lives there with his current wife and their children. More pictures through the links.
Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2021
Source – Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2021 Movie
It’s that time of the year again, Haute Couture week has just ended and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed browsing the collections. I make a point of doing this because they are an immense source of inspiration – haute couture is art, rather than fashion, in my opinion – but what is shown on the runways can also be the source for major trends that will be replicated in the seasonal collections, which in turn will be adopted and adapted by the high street brands.
2020 Mood in Reverse – Pajama Top & Oversized Tutu, by Chanel (1, 2)
As traditional fashion shows are still not possible, most houses have created videos and some are, as was the case last year, veritable works of art in themselves. Christian Dior found inspiration in Tarot, Fendi in Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury, Giambattista Valli in volume and sculpture, Iris van Herpen in nature, more precisely in fungi.
I loved the suits at Armani Privé
All images and videos from the collections can be seen on Vogue and on the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode website. On the latter, you will find more shows than the well-known names showcased by Vogue, plus interviews and focus pieces with the designers. Enjoy!
Nude Rose Coat by Fendi vs by Valentino
Everything is Copy
Being in A New York State of Mind last week after watching Pretend It’s a City and rereading Nora Ephron’s story shared in Letter No 28, I started reading more about her and found out about a documentary produced by her son after her unforeseen passing.
Everything is Copy is an intimate telling of her story through the eyes of her three sisters, first and second husbands and a few close friends – all interviewed by her son. I wasn’t particularly interested in her early life, although it is very interesting, but rather in her career and what was it that made her stand out – some findings I expected, some were quite the surprise.
Likes and Dislikes
My Likes and Dislikes
In case you haven’t noticed, I have strong opinions when it comes to what I like and what I don’t. Of course, it’s not always ideal, particularly when I am wrong, which I’ve been told I can be sometimes (shock!) But, in general, I find it preferable to being uncertain – it saves time, it feels better, it helps with decision fatigue.
I will never be able to, as some high-profile people have done, striving for choice minimalism, reduce my wardrobe to the point of wearing a variation of the same outfit every day, but what I can absolutely do, inspired by Roland Barthes, is to create a list of likes and dislikes, to help navigate a world of unlimited options. After all, we can’t try everything, we can’t explore all there is to explore in any given field, so if you have already discovered something you really like or don’t like, it’s handy to have it top of mind, no?
Bette Davis’ Likes and Dislikes
I’ve amused myself with this little list yesterday, and you can see some examples from old-Hollywood stars on the link above.
What would your likes and dislikes lists include?
Artist Maryam Kayhani
All images: Maryam Kayhani on Instagram
Maryam Kayhani is an artist I’ve been following for a long time on Instagram and she never fails to bring a pop of colour and joy, inspiration and artfulness to my feed. It’s through her crazy hats, her playfully insinuating paintings, her wonky plasterwork, her bright interiors, her beautiful children, her hand-made clothes and accessories for them and for herself, her always on-point memes and copy on art and parenting and everything in between.
If you could use a dose of all that, I dare you to follow her and to find one thing she’s not doing beautifully!
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4 thoughts on “Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – N0 29”
You brighten my day, Miss Onion! Every single time!
And you just made my day with this comment, thank you Joey! 🙂 So glad you’re enjoying the blog!