>> “Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history.” Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray
I’m not going to be to the liking of Wilde’s character Lord Henry Wotton as I’ve ticked both boxes of being in the mood for mauve and also nearly reaching thirty and showing no signs of dislike for pink ribbons. Still, it’s as good a quote as any for a shade that has permeated this outfit first with a swathe of super soft feathers on a Louis Vuitton paisley lined stole, which I bought with some long overdue gift credit, and second with the iridescent steely grey sheen of a S/S 12 Christopher Kane organza shirt, picked up from the sample sale on Friday. In actual fact, this is an assembled outfit of sample sale buys and new bits and bobs, which I’ve felt like tarting up with passing thoughts of Cottingley fairies, winter gardens, moody Deborah Turbeville and Ellen Rogers images, Ivory and Merchant films, memories of tattered Cicely Mary Barker books and more recently, being overly obsessed with Farrow & Ball paint colours and interior schemes that involve pastels tempered with big doses of grey.
All of that just happened to manifest in one outfit with the big dose of grey courtesy of Tome‘s enveloping flat form grey felt cape. It’s a cape of the best sort; one that allows your arms to move and it’s demonstrative of the sort of deceptively simple and yet highly charged way with fabrics that New York based Tome are becoming known for. A visit to the surprisingly excellent and bargainous Opening Ceremony sample sale in London’s Truman Brewery (sorry for not informing – I only found out on the day from my sister who happens to be interning at OC) this past weekend yielded a heavily reduced S/S 13 Toga top featuring an amazing crystallsied floral design that glints in the light, and a knotted and twisted chiffon halter dress by Argentinian label Fauna, designed by Paula Selby Avellaneda and Juan Hernandez Daels. That’s to go into the drawer in my wardrobe, which I’ve dubbed “Things Made Out of Tulle and other See-Through Things Too.” The other day at a Motilo cocktail, which I hosted along with Lulu Kennedy and Leigh Lezark, someone did poke fun at the fact that I was one of the few people in the world that would look at a giant swathe of tulle (in that particular case, it was the Molly Goddard x ASOS dress) and defend its wearability because it’s a “useful layering piece.” I maintain my line of defense. This Fauna dress with its halterneck shape and lack of underskirt/dress is crying out for layering. A pair of Calla jeans and the Chrissy Kane florals under and over the dress, completes the whole wintry floral narrative. And there’s that fluffy mauve thing that Wilde would pour scorn on if he saw it today. Futher musings on mauve can be read on this really old Guardian article by Simon Garfield. Turns out the colour became a bit of a London fad in the 1850s-60s, as witnessed by the journal All the Year Round as mauve took over hair ribbons and crinolines, “all flying countryward, like so many migrating birds of purple paradise.” That to me is surely reason enough to keep on “mauve-ing.” Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
P.S. Nothing to do with Oscar Wilde hating on mauve, flowers or winter but Tabitha Simmons’ colloration with Toms, otherwise known as #TabiToms, is pretty ace. Like for like, the same cricket stripe fabrics that Simmons has used in her mainline collection have been applied to two Toms shapes (the classic slip-ons and a desert wedge ankle boot) at a fraction of the price. I’m not one to do Crimbo gift guides but these would be a good bet and obviously has a charitable aspect to it as well with Toms’ “One for One” initiative.
Photography by Ellen Rodgers
Cottingley Fairies photograph series taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths in 1917
“Flower Fairies” illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker
Deborah Bowness wallpaper
Images from Farrow & Ball
Photography by Ellen Rodgers