This article in the Paris Review perfectly sums-up my feelings upon reading Rebecca – I wanted to be her. I still remember reading the description of her desk, stationery and other trinkets and thinking how exquisite it all sounds. Read this article to remember or read the book if you haven’t, it truly is a classic!
Du Maurier is brilliant at playing with her characters, juggling an unnamed and mostly unknown narrator, who could almost pass for the main character, an ominously present, yet dead eponymous main character who has no direct presence in the story, as well as an unconventional non-living central character – the house. Not to even mention the one character who actually defines the whole plot and ending – a secondary one, the housekeeper.
I watched the 2020 movie recently and I enjoyed it. I never expect to find movies as good or even too similar to the books. These are, in my view, retellings of the story and I never get precious about the execution, meaning I pretty much always enjoy them.
Rebbeca is the only book I can name that has left me really hoping for a prequel, even knowing it wouldn’t be from the original author. I researched this, but could only find (quite a few) sequels. Some of these, like Mrs de Winter and Rebecca’s Tale, are even approved by du Maurier’s estate. I’m intrigued…
I can’t hope to have a proper system for organising my books soon, as they are scattered around the house in various nooks and crannies. They make the best decor elements, it can’t be helped.
But a corner of my living room has recently opened up and I am thinking of the best way to utilise it, without completely ruining the vague order I have at the moment. You’d think more space would help, but I think nothing short of a dedicated room will truly make a difference. Bear with me, I’m dreaming!
These tips from the team at Penguin UK have certainly given me a lot of food for thought, but while I like the aesthetic appeal of rainbow bookshelves, and I understand the logic behind the library-type alphabetical system, for me, it’s more a combination of topic, favourite authors, area in the house and space availability that influence the unsystematic scattering. How about you?
Fashion Week Season – Fall 2021
This is your seasonal reminder that Fashion Week Fall 2021 is in full swing, with New York and London already over, Milan ongoing and Paris coming up. Most collections are on Vogue Runway, which is where I go to browse and get my dose of inspiration. Fall-Winter is in my opinion the best season in fashion, I love the layers, the textures and variety of fabrics, the many accessories, the colours – everything!
I will probably do a round-up of favourite looks when the season is over, stay tuned.
Source – A blue hyacinth in Paris, 1892. Self-portrait by Swedish artist Gerda Roosval-Kallstenius (1864-1939)
What feeling of honest contentedness is this painting evoking, don’t you think? I felt it deeply as soon as I saw it because it’s precisely what I’ve been doing for the past few days, while I was trying to intoxicate myself with the fragrance of a few bulbs of hyacinth in bloom in my kitchen. I wrote part of this letter with my nose buried in their flowers and to see someone else do the same for a painted self-portrait, more than 100 years ago, is as special as finding in a book an idea or a feeling you thought unique to yourself. Priceless, as all art is.
I can’t stop marveling at the natural and accessible exquisite delight of flowers, especially the deliciously scented spring ones, my favourites – wild violets, lilies of the valley, freesias, peonies, lilac, hyacinths, English dogwood and so on. It made me wonder how come spring flowers hold the best fragrances, but I couldn’t find any specific explanation for this.
On my trip down this rabbit hole, I did find this article about some of the most expensive flowers and bulbs ever sold, among them three bulbs for the black Hyacinth ‘Midnight Mystic’ which sold in 1997 for £150,000. It reminded me of Dumas’ The Black Tulip.
As I am keen to explore further the universe of flowers and their scents, I expect more and more of these finds will find their way in the weekly letters. Starting below…
Making Sense of Scents, by Rachael Syme
No better time to share this already famous long-read from The New Yorker on Making Sense of Scents, than right after my very childish attempts at describing a simple olfactory experience above, which I’ve absolutely failed at.
What I was saying about writer Jessica Kerwin Jenkins last week is perfectly valid for Rachel Syme’s work as well, worth reading for the brilliant use of language alone, on top of the engrossing topic. One can only aspire to write like that one day, as quixotic as such hope is.
And now I am minded to start ordering perfume samples, inspired by Rachael, so that I can nose around at leisure (pun intended). I did this with the Replica by Maison Margiela collection and I liked the experience of having so much choice. I might just go with Le Labo or by Kilian next, but I am painfully aware I should do some real digging into less en vogue or cult choices… To be continued.
I am in the process of letting my hair grow plus trying not to style it, to attempt to restore its gloss. Thus, most days it doesn’t look its best and this week I realised I need to jazz things up with some hair accessories for a change. I am no stranger to headbands, they used to be a signature look of mine back in high school, but now I don’t have any that I really like, so I started browsing.
I like the big bejeweled ones, but they don’t really go with no make-up and casual outfits, if anything I feel like this combination looks quite sad. I need some simple but flattering ones. Plus, I am quite keen to try a turban, I’ve never had one, and some headscarves, although I can rarely make these stay in place. Maybe an army of bobby pins can save me?
And speaking of bobby pins, I could get a bit more creative with these as well… I sense an online order coming up soon.
Real-Life Exquisite Find – My New Corner Cabinet
I thought that with a corner of the living room empty, the obvious thing to do was to start re-decorating with a corner cabinet and work my way from there. I can’t say that I was right, space-wise, but before I could stop I found this lovely vintage upcycled one on Facebook Market and here it is now, in my living room. There’s not much to do about it other than admire it and try to make the best use of it, I guess. It is pretty, that much is true.
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.