Friday, 14 December 2012

Kiki de Montparnasse for AnOther Magazine

My new article on AnOther Magazine's website is about the wonderful Kiki de Montparnasse!

She was the toast of Montparnasse at a time when the popular quarter in the south of Paris welcomed penniless avant-garde artists and bohemian characters. Her raven black garçonne bob, prominent nose and art deco Cupid’s bow made her recognisable to one and all. Kiki de Montparnasse was not particularly beautiful or elegant, but there was something electric about her: “she was very wonderful to look at”, said Hemingway. Soutine, Foujita, Gargallo and of course Man Ray must have agreed with him, for they all asked her to pose for them. But Kiki de Montparnasse was more than just an artist’s model.

Born Alice Ernestine Prin, a healthy country girl brought up by a kindly and unshockable grandmother, Kiki de Montparnasse first arrived in Paris in 1913, aged 12, to work as a baker’s apprentice. However, five years later, the Armistice found her down on her luck, homeless, roaming the streets of Paris and sleeping in a vagabond’s hut behind the Gare Montparnasse. Refusing to become a prostitute (she had an irrational fear of venereal disease) she would go to the Coupole and sit there all da, sipping a six-cent café-crème wearing a black silk hat, her most prized possession. It was there, beneath the mirrors that multiplied the possibilities of seeing and being seen, amid the cigarette smoke and the aromas of Pernod and hot chocolate, that she filched croissants, made scenes and got artists to buy her drinks. She would pose for them in exchange, soon building up friendships with lovely Foujita, dirty Soutine or drunken Modigliani. She didn’t belong to any clique but rather reveled in seducing everyone: surrealists, cubists, futurists, Dadaists; and rubbed elbows with drunken sailors, pimps, boxers and cocaine users on the terraces of the Dôme or the Rotonde. She was famous for her generosity with her tears, with her body, with her laughter, with her money whenever she had any.

In 1921 she met Man Ray and reluctantly accepted to pose for him, even though she was weary of photography, especially the “lewd” kind. It was love at first sight. They moved in together to a modern, luxurious building on 31 bis rue Campagne Première. For Kiki de Montparnasse this was a dream come true: perfumed with Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue, she would entertain in her salon the greatest personalities of her time. Matisse, Picasso, Joyce and Gertrude Stein all dropped in to enjoy her excellent French cooking. She still posed for artists, always remaining silent, never judging their work. She picked up cues from the very people she modeled for and became an accomplished artist, but was devoid of artistic ambition. She could even have been a movie star when, in 1923, Paramount scheduled an appointment for her in New York. But, at the last minute, she decided to go shopping instead. She would rather stay in Paris, a city that was, in the words of Alice B. Toklas, “more beautiful, vital and inextinguishable than ever”; a city where her own life and the creating of her persona would become her works of art.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Dalí: Cosmogonic Genius

I'm now writing for AnOther ... and I couldn't be happier about it, since it's one of my favourite magazines ever! So far I have published 2 articles in the past week (both about Spanish artists) and I can't help but sharing my latest one about Salvador Dalí. I know many people have trouble dealing with his work and his flamboyant personality, but I must confess I just adore him: he was deliriously creative, intelligent, articulate, hysterically funny, the king of overstatement... and he was hot when he was young. What more could one ask for in a man? In short: yes, he was a genius.

 "Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dalí". The man who once defined himself as a “cosmogonic genius” was second to none when it came to controversy. Seen by most of his contemporaries as an eccentric at best and a shameless buffoon at worst, he was judged by an art industry that despised in him the very same things it praised in Andy Warhol: megalomania, a taste for provoking and an audacity that knew no bounds. Dalí was in fact a pioneer exploring performance art ahead of his time, and his manipulation of the media has taken a whole new meaning in this Internet-driven century: the timing couldn't be more perfect for the retrospective that is currently held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, which places the Spanish artist yet again right in the eye of the storm.
Salvador Dalí was anything but ordinary. From his childhood he had a rare conscience of his own greatness: "at the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since". His early years in the Catalan coast of Empordà would arise in him an array of Iberian eccentricities that went from food obsession to mystic outbursts and caught the interest of the group of surrealist artists led by André Breton. However, the young Dalí proved too outrageous even for them and was eventually expelled from the group after presenting his scatological painting The Lugubrious Game. From then on, stating "I am surrealism", he pushed the boundaries of art to delirious extremes like a near-death experience inside a diving suit during a performance. He never hid his appetite for fame and fortune, going as far as to invent his own anagram nickname, "Avida Dollars". From the 1940s he engaged in all kinds of creative projects: designing dresses with Elsa Schiaparelli, imagining movie sets with the also genial Alfred Hitchcock or even conceiving the logo of Chupa Chups sweets, still finding time to appear in numerous TV shows and, of course, to paint with a skill comparable to those of Velázquez or Vermeer.

The exhibition at the Pompidou Centre looks back on the painter’s life through more than 200 works of art comprising The Great Masturbator, The Persistence of Memory and other iconic paintings as well as readymade objects like his 1936 Lobster Telephone, films, jewellery or pieces of furniture mimicking Mae West’s features. Visitors will enter the exhibit through a giant egg symbolizing birth, and will exit through a brain, having experienced the hallucinogenic cosmos of this modern Renaissance Man.

Dalí is at the Centre Pompidou until March 25, 2013

Monday, 5 November 2012

This week: Kate talks, Anna Piaggi's last pictures and more...

 Monday : Anna Piaggi’s last photoshoot
 Barely one month before she passed away aged 81, Anna Piaggi, the original fashion icon, posed in front of Tim Walker’s lens for W Magazine’s 40 anniversary issue. The pictures are even more fabulous than you could expect and they have all the wabi-sabi eccentric glamour anyone could wish for. I just love that in this photo she is wearing that Jamaican-colored fur collar which I think was Dior circa 2001, I remember the campaign was shot by Nick Knight and featured Gisele and I was 16 and really stricken by it. I also remember she was wearing it when I first met her backstage at a Maurizio Galante couture show years ago.

Tuesday: Catherine Baba creates a new jewellery collection for Gripoix
If you are a fan of Baba’s Dietrich-esque, Von Sternberg-esque smoky, exotic, dreamy look, you’ll love that she has just launched a second jewellery collection for French brand Gripoix. This time you will find headpieces, bejewelled belts, rings that turn into pocket mirrors and cuffs that turn into powder cases in shades of red, gold and (obviously) absinthe green. You can’t get any more bohemian than that, and I’m in luck! She stocks the collection at Nouvelle Affaire, a boutique just around the corner from chez moi.

Wednesday: Kate Moss bares it all
Oh yes, at last. We have all been waiting for it for decades! “Kate talks” is the new “Garbo talks”. Last week she was all over the news when her confessions about her relationships to men, drugs and food were published as part of a new, promising Rizzoli book which will feature the most beautiful pictures of the model’s career as well as her own writing. And because we never tire of listening Kate speak, HERE is an interview the New York Times was able to get with her.

Thursday: British Vogue is so high-tech
After my Vogue America-obsessed years (I think that’s mandatory for every teenager wanting to get into the fashion industry and having watched Clueless too many times) and my short-lived taste for Vogue Paris (in my defence that was 8 years ago and Carine Roitfeld was still running it), the only vogue I still religiously read and cherish is the British one. Because I adore Alexandra Shulman and her views on fashion, because it supports rising British talent while remaining Vogue and because, let’s admit it once and for all, the British do it better. Part of its avant-garde bet is a groundbreaking iPad version of the magazine available to everyone with a subscription.

Friday: See the Ruby Slippers up close
If you haven’t yet been to the Hollywood Costume exhibit at V&A and have a chance to take a look, don’t miss it! I was lucky enough to be invited to visit it before it actually opened and I still can’t get over it. For someone as Hollywood-obsessed as I am, it was a lifetime dream come true to be able to stand in front of Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers and to see Chaplin’s original Little Tramp costume up close. The exhibition is about much more than just iconic costumes, it actually woke really powerful emotions in everyone who was there, and I can guarantee it will do the same for you! In fact it was so amazing I think it deserves a whole post…

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Halloween Aftermath

On wednesday evening I decided to enjoy Halloween all the way... even my fingernails were celebrating! I had fun doing some nail art which I admit I copied from one of the patterns designed by the amazing GHETTO NAILZ girls. Ghetto Nailz is, I think, the first nail art salon in Madrid, which means it's also the first one in Spain. The trend is still far from arriving to Paris (seriously what's up with this city lately?! When did it become yawnfest central and the most old-fashioned fashion capital?) so I had to experiment and do the nail art myself. Actually I'm really happy with the results, although you can clearly see I'm right-handed when you look at the nails I had to do with my left hand:

I mean those darned Dracula fangs? Couldn't bite a neck if their life depended on it. However, despite still having to practice a bit with my left hand, I'm really happy with my newly-found talent and I'm even willing to start manicuring my Parisian friends who are craving nail art and can't get it done in the city's salons (seriously get in touch!).
How was your Halloween? I wanna hear all about it! I confess I still haven't taken down my decorations and my flat is filled with pumpkins and cotton cobwebs... and I absolutely refuse to change my manicure!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


And just in case you're still in need of costume and movie inspiration, check out my Halloween posts by clicking HERE and HERE.
What are your plans for tonight (and for the long Halloween/ Día de los Muertos/ Toussaint weekend?) I'd love to hear all about them!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Weekday Inspiration

Having trouble getting through the week? Hate getting up in the morning? Desperately seeking motivation? I hear you. And that’s why I have put together a little agenda of 5 things that will make you smile and get you through these 5 working days. No need to stand up in front of the mirror mumbling feel-good mantras when you have a bad day. Just turn to this blog instead… Instant happy effect guaranteed! 

Monday: Varsity jackets on girls galore


 Lately I’ve been seeing more and more girls spotting varsity jackets with the most fabulous boyish glamour attitude. I first noticed them during London Fashion Week with the launch of the J.W. Anderson for Topshop collection (which featured a really cool varsity piece). The best thing about them is that they seem to fit with everything, turning otherwise-too girly styles into edgy looks or having a bit of a kick-ass quality when worn simply with jeans and Vans. How would you wear yours?

Tuesday: fighting republican chauvinism with creativity and girl power

I discovered this video thanks to the always fabulous Isabelle O’Carroll (visit her blog by clicking HERE! Now!) and I’m hooked. An army of talented, smart, sensitive and beautiful girls fronted by none other than Lesley Gore and including Tavi Gevinson, Karen Elson, Carrie Brownstein and Zoe Kravitz tells it to Mourdock, Romney and co as it is: you don’t own us.

Wednesday: Ab Fab auction wardrobe for charity

 While Eddie Monsoon and Patsy Stone might be the most selfish characters in the history of television, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are very different in real life. “I am giving up some of my greatest treasures and happiest memories” said miss Lumley (with that pronunciation that makes her absolutely irresistible) "I am so thrilled to think that the proceeds will all go to benefit young people through one of my all-time favourite charities - The Prince's Trust. I love each item and each garment with a passion." If you want to own something Lacroix, sweetie, Lacroix, head to Kerry Taylor in London on November 13.

Thursday: Hillier’s short animated film

The cutest jewellery in London is at Hillier. Who could resist those bunny silhouettes jumping on rings, necklaces and headpieces? And this video presenting the brand’s new collection is just as adorable.

Friday: Swatch hires Fred Butler

On Friday you’ll be counting the minutes to the weekend (and singing Rebecca Black’s one and only hit in your head. Don’t you deny it). Wouldn’t you like to be counting them in this amazing watch? As all things Fred Butler, it’s all about colour and mysterious, nature-inspired geometric shapes. Tick tock, what you waiting for?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Trick or Treat! The 10 best ever Halloween Movies

Because Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without a touch of silver screen, because movies are as important to October 31 as candy, and just in case you're tired of watching Saw and The Exorcist over and over again and are in need of a little film inspiration, I have put together a list of some of my favourite Halloween titles. 
Not all of the movies I have chosen are scary. I do like to be scared as much as anyone else (although if I have to sleep alone afterwards I might spend the night hidden under the duvet terrified that Jack the Ripper/ Norman Bates/ Linda Blair/ the Monster Under The Bed is coming to get me) but I think there's more to Halloween than just the scary part: it's about celebrating the obscure, the mysterious, the supernatural. It's about black magic and embracing our dark side. Each in its own way, all these movies convey that. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the wickedest celebration of the year!

10. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Classic horror at its best! Monsters! Crazy scientists! Electricity machines! Boris Karloff! And of course the unforgettable Elsa Lanchester dressed as the terrifying bride of Frankenstein... But the reason I love this movie is because of the way James Whale directed it: it's simple, tender and compassionate without being sentimental, and it has flashes of humour and a couple of welcome touches of Hollywood kitsch (that gothic castle in the Scottish moors of Culver City, Ca?). In a way it set the standards for later horror movies, but it is also quite unique in the way it approaches the relationship between monsters and humans. A true must-see. 

9. The Omen (1976)

Okay, this movie is kind of average really. But it features a mature Gregory Peck, and that's good enough for me. The story is pretty standard as well: loving couple has a son who turns out to be an evil child and the Devil's messenger or something, and kills everything and everyone in gruesome ways. On its strong points, the ending is not as deceiving as it usually is in this kind of movies, and it's fun for a rainy afternoon in. Oh, and, you know. Gregory Peck. 

8. The Day The Earth Stood Still (1958)

Nothing beats a good alien movie with retro-designed flying saucers and that howling music they make. The thing that sets apart The Day The Earth Stood Still is the fact that aliens are the good ones in this film, coming to Earth to try and explain to humans that all violence must cease and that Cold War and The Bomb are bound to destroy the Universe. But... will humans listen to their message?

7.Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

For me, this is the number one Halloween comedy. A film in which two old witches bake cakes, kill lonely men and store all the corpses about their house; a film in which a scar-covered Raymond Massey psychologically tortures an Igor-looking Peter Lorre; a film about madness, death and poison... which turns out to be a rom com. Only Frank Capra (and Cary Grant at his best).

6. Carrie (1976)

A bit of genuine fear is always good in Halloween, so what better than Carrie? This movie is unsettling (what's with all the nudity at the beginning?) and terrifying, especially if you're watching it for the first time. Me and eight of my girl cousins watched it together years ago and I can still remember the moment in which we all yelled in utter horror. I think we scared the neighbours, and just that made it worthwile. Also, Sissy Spacek's eyes when all that blood is running through her face... always gives me the willies.

5. The Village of the Damned (1960)

A group of blond children (supposedly the kids of aliens although I secretly suspect they're just nazis) read into the minds of adults and control their actions, causing them to self-harm. This iconic movie is actually quite well built and it's got George Sanders in it for once not playing the villain. Also, who can resist evil aryan kids talking with a British accent?

4. The Blob (1958)

Pure B-series drive-in material! Who could turn it down? For once, it's not about monsters, Frankensteins, aliens, Godzillas or creatures of the Black Lagoon attacking people; here it's all about a sort of giant jelly which looks like it might be cherry-flavored although I think it's actually the blood which gives it its distinctive red color. It eats teenage boys and their full-skirted, buxom girlfriends in their cars and in high-schools and in ice-cream parlors. Luckily there is Steve McQueen to save us all.

3. King Kong (1933)

For those of you craving a monster classic, here's King Kong, the movie that has everything: the Empire State building, stop-motion dinosaurs, a screaming Fay Wray and a deliciously 1930's story. It never ceases to amaze me how it stays fresh, entertaining and surprising after almost a century. If you haven't watched it yet, you should definitely put it in your Halloween to-do list. 

2. Ed Wood (1994)

Before he married Helena Bonham-Carter and started making stupid films about monkeys and chocolate factories, Tim Burton was a great director. No, seriously, this is one of my all-time favourites and I guess it could be defined as a meta-Halloween movie: it's more than a Halloween movie, it's a movie about all Halloween movies. Johnny Depp is Ed Wood, a director so bad he was genius (you should also watch some of his work, it's a lark). He's friends with a decadent Bela Lugosi and has a girlfriend played by Sarah Jessica Parker (who's just as unbearable as good old Carrie B). Burton tells his story with understanding and tenderness towards Ed, his freak friends and their failures. Fabulous in every sense.

1. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Meet Gary Oldman, aka the hottest Count Dracula that's ever been. I have always been a fan of the original 1931 version of Dracula, but you just gotta love Coppola's version as well (and hey, any movie starring Winona has to be cool, no?): all the symbolist inspiration and  the winks to Cocteau and to the Bela Lugosi movies just make it great. The costumes, sets and special effects (no weird computer things which would have spoiled the whole mood) are all fantastic; Anthony Hopkins is extra as Van Helsing... all this combined with the fact that Keanu Reeves is at his most boring (are there really times when he's more boring than others?) and that Gary Oldman as Dracula is basically sex on legs, will make you want to turn into a vampire asap.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

London Fashion Week Highlights

Despite the fact that my life is an emotional turmoil right now, I can say I'm truly happy about one thing: I've reached a milestone in my career. Years of writing about British fashion and young talent for a French audience more often than not totally oblivious of any fashion made outside Continental Europe have paid off. My editors at L'Express must like my style, because they decided to have me cover London Fashion Week for the magazine. I was beside myself with joy, pretty much had to refrain from kissing everyone in the room. The British Fashion Council did the rest with the most amazing display of savoir faire: upon arriving to St Pancras (an extra-fancy train station if we compare it to the dumpy Gare du Nord), I found a lovely driver waiting for me (thanks for everything, Jim!) who took me to the official LFW 5 star May Fair hotel. 5 days of shows, running everywhere, crazy work, crazy fun and no sleep ensued. 
These are just some of the highlights of the week; it was difficult to choose because really everything was perfect (except for a couple of gossipy French people): Mary Katrantzou's chaotic show, meeting Fred Butler and talking about her work, sitting front row at Christopher Kane and Paul Smith... It was all tons of fun and I hope to do it again next time!

Discovering Marques'Almeida

I had previously seen a couple of the pieces created by Portuguese designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida on I-D, but never a whole look. I was stunned at their show: I had never seen such distressed and such fabulous denim! I loved the dark green pieces with embroidered stars/ivy leaves. But what stroke me most was how well the collections translated to the street. There were several girls dressed in Marques'Almeida clothes at Somerset House and they all stood out, looking fantastic in a kind of grungey chic way.

Bumping into Vanni everywhere

Italian whirlwind Vanni, one of my best and dearest friends, abandoned me in Paris a year ago to find his luck in London... and find it he did! Vanni called me on the first morning of LFW to tell me he could meet me whenever I was free. Instead, I bumped into his fabulous self in Somerset House between shows by chance. He introduced me to some of his friends, including jewellery designer Mawi (guess where his necklaces and clutch in the picture come from), who was super sweet. During the next few days I saw a lot of him (although I have never enough of Vanni): we drank champagne together at Somerset House, he impressed me with his door bitch skills at the Jonathan Saunders show, we drank margaritas at a Mexican speakeasy/S&M dungeon in Soho and he told me all about his upcoming collection. Because on top of working for Mr Saunders and Miss Mawi and taking London by storm, Vanni is a talented designer preparing his first collection, so keep him on your radar everyone!

Meeting Iggy Azalea at the Moschino Cheap & Chic show

Walking into the Moschino C&C show on saturday evening all the mainstream media were drooling over Alexa Chung. My eye, however, was caught by an elegant blonde in a long leopard dress. Although her looks and demeanour reminded me of Golden Age Hollywood stars, it turned out to be outrageous Aussie hip hop singer Iggy Azalea. I couldn't help myself. I walked past her and told her how much I loved her work. I didn't want to bother her, so I didn't expect it at all when instead of behaving all diva-ish, she started spontaneously talking to me about her trip to Europe and how the fashion industry made her feel. So not only the girl has mad talent, beauty and style, she is also super nice! Here she is, among others, talking about how to dress for the front row. 

Having lunch with Margaret Howell

I'm a lucky girl. On sunday I was privileged enough to be invited to a lunch with none other than British icon and designer Margaret Howell. It felt very much like an oasis in the middle of crazy day which at times seemed too fashion forward. Margaret and her team are zen and cultured and, as different as their respective styles are, they share with Paul Smith a philosophy about fashion that connects with traditional British know-how. For them, it's all about creating quality clothes in a respectful way, clothes that are timeless and so well cut that they make people wearing them feel confident. Here are two pictures from her show, which took place earlier that day. It goes without saying I would have worn every single piece of the collection.


Seeing Tate Modern at night (and the Jonathan Saunders show)

From the moment I got the ticket I knew it was going to be quite something: a show at the Tate Modern! How cool could that be? But what I didn't expect was to see the entrance of the museum deserted and dark at 9 pm. That was really rare. And cool. It felt almost sacred, like a temple. The Jonathan Saunders show was also pretty impressive. I've always liked his work, but this season it felt really next level and mature... See for yourselves. 

Getting interviewed for Fashion TV Spain at the Crazy Horse x Marios Schwab event

For some reason upon entering the Crazy Horse party I caught the eye of the rad Fashion TV Spain reporters, which was cool as I was having a very patriotic day all dressed in Bimba & Lola. So here I am rambling on about I don't know what and sounding like a total #FashionRetard... Although in all fairness I must say I'd been running around since 8 am and this was 10 pm, so I think the need for food and sleep might have made me sound a bit more empty headed than usual. The Crazy Horse party was actually thrown to present a new lingerie collection by Marios Schwab. The clothes were, as I supected, "chic and a bit risqué", and the girls modeled them admirably. There's no footage of the actual show but the clip below will give you an idea of what it was like (it was the same show, only with Marios's clothes). You gotta love le Crazy Horse!

Sitting behind Suzy Menkes at Erdem and discovering something

I was placed directly behind Suzy Menkes at the Topshop venue waiting for Erdem's show to start when she took out her laptop and then I discovered Miss Menkes actually writes her reviews on the spot, while she waits for shows to start! I was so impressed, I mean, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, seriously. I know she has been working for decades, but I doubt that I'd ever be able to concentrate that much during the shows. The show was amazing (has there ever been a less-than-amazing Erdem collection?) and I was happy to see shoes that a human being could actually walk in (low heels and flats were actually a trend during LFW so yes, you can finally let go of all your 15 cm- torture instruments).

My first Burberry show

I literally had to run to make it, but it was worth it. During the last few years and thanks to Christopher Bailey's incredibly high-tech savvy social media team, the Burberry show has become one of the most important events not only of London Fashion Week, but of Fashion Month. It was actually really exciting to be there and have the honor of seeing the collection first-hand and of being deafened by the music (I hear it's always that loud. It's quite cool anyway). Later discussing the collection with fashion critic Godfrey Deeney, we both agreed on how smart and well thought it was, and how many desirable pieces there were (I personally loved the feathered dresses and trench coats). Christopher Bailey is one of the most interesting and clever personalities in fashion business, that's for sure, and his collections never fail to impress.

Thomas Tait's lush collection (and lush graffitis)

Tuesday morning. It was chilly outside and the first show was at 9 am after a 4 hour-night sleep. But all was forgotten as soon as I got to the skate park in which Thomas Tait's second ever show was to take place. It was all covered in multicolor graffitis. Coming from Paris, where the fashion industry is so grown up that street aesthetics would never be allowed on the runway, I was thrilled. I actually think that's when I decided I need way more London energy and vibes in my life and work. The show was fantastic and proved what everyone already suspected: that Mr Tait has mad talent and he's one to watch. Also, I would wear his organza bermudas and coats any day.

Drinking champers at Nasir Mazhar...

... and yes, feeling a little like Eddie Monsoon. Nasir's show was a hip hop performance that had everyone raving and jumping around at the Topshop venue; that mixed with the champagne and again the lack of food and sleep did make me feel like Eddie. I was just lacking her wardrobe. But seriously, the show was pretty cool, and it had a plus: the nails were done by the amazing artists at WAH nails!

My Bleach experience

After my very last show on tuesday, I headed to the Bleach hair salon on a whim (well, not really a whim, I had been wanting to do this for months) and asked for a green dip dye. It was a bit of a bold move, not so much because of the colour but mainly because I had a Eurostar to catch in about an hour and a half, which meant I had 80% chances of missing it #fashionUNconscious. But the ladies at Bleach are pretty much super heroes: they took me in and coloured my hair at a supersonic speed, making sure I didn't miss my train. They also gave me the exact shade of green I wanted. But what I loved the most about them was their enthusiasm and the fun they were having with their work! Which I guess it's kind of natural when you create such magical hairdos; it's a bit like creating unique works of art, no? I would have been all depressed in the Eurostar going back home if it wasn't for my amazing peacock-green do. All in all, I think losing my Bleach virginity has turned me into a Bleach addict... I'm already scheming on my next dye (pink and purple? Ombré blue?). Meanwhile, here's what I look like now.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Problem With Civilization

I’ve just come back to Paris from a healing, therapeutic and mostly fabulous Spanish holiday, and… I’m depressed. People generally talk about a “post-vacation” depression (well, at least in Spain, I’m not sure they do in other countries with a less Catholic, more Calvinist religious background), but I think in my case it’s more of a “post-wilderness” depression. You see, after more than a month spent mainly on a surfboard, on a bike, in a swimming pool or just on the grass carelessly sleeping next to my dog or to the cows, Paris and its merciless glamour come as a shock. And I’m supposed to come back to the city, dress all chic (the sole act of wearing shoes after 5 weeks of living barefoot feels like Chinese torture, so at this stage I can’t even handle the thought of heels or red lipstick), stop doing things like using living animals’ backs for pillows and walking around in a bikini, and act as if fashion was actually fun, when the truth is after surfing it feels painfully bland and unimportant. I’ve noticed I adapt very easily to the laid back life of the country, and on the other hand I am extremely reluctant to the whole I’m-so-cosmopolitan-I-jet-between-the-coolest-cities-of-the-world thing. More and more I find civilization too… civilized. 
The problem with civilization is that is seems to be paramount for evolution and culture. It is thanks to an ultra-civilized society that we enjoy things like table manners, libraries and push-up bras. Some people even think humans need to get away from their own natures in order to be superior beings. On the other hand, think about some of the headaches it all has brought to us: paperwork. In-laws. The Metro. Not to mention the foul bad mood those 3 things have the power to create in adults. In a nature state, as long as you have coconut water and you know how to fish with a stick you’re alright.
The problem with civilization (especially if you happen to live in Paris) is that it creates a hell load of artificial problems. I.E.: “I don’t have a huge expensive car/ Balenciaga’s latest it bag/ an invitation to join the country club”. Is it seriously as important as all that? The amazing thing about spending time in the country seeing animals, taking care of plants and generally concentrating in nature lies in the fact that all those ridiculous worries seem to vanish. I always feel rooted and at peace in the wild; and I hate having to come back to those shallow obsessions and insecurities. 

The problem with civilization is that it’s all about discomfort. Look at the fashion. OK, it’s fabulous, it’s creative, it’s cool. Whatever. It’s still uncomfortable. Pencil skirts that make it difficult to walk, high heels that make it difficult to even exist, hats that fly away with the wind, elaborate hairdos that fall apart with the rain. Not that I don’t love the looks of it, but it’s like a very sophisticated prison. Can’t someone reinvent the magnolia leaf skirt-tiare flower necklace look?

I know I seem all pessimistic by saying all this, don’t take me too seriously. But do think about it. I was watching a documentary about George Harrison the other day and he talked about how his meditation journey in India made him happy, as it inspired him to be more spiritual, and how angry and frustrated he felt by the fact that he could not get rid of his earthly duties, business in London, the Beatles etc. I guess I feel identified with all that (except for the part where 3 Beatles wait for me in London). I am somehow smitten with the idea of Rousseau’s Noble Savage and I admire Gauguin and Marlon Brando for having dared to say “to hell with you, modern civilization” and escaping to a wilder life, where it all seems more logical and more freeing and people have more possibilities to really develop. So I guess I’ll try to keep all that in mind, even under the grey skies of Paris. Because, you see, the problem with civilization is that it is not human enough for humans.