Real people: Black lightens up for summer

After a cool start, June has been an exuberance of fine weather, and on one evening, the necessary mix of sun and shower lit a rainbow over our building. Le Duc (in the hat) chatted with T. as the sky shimmered through the full spectrum.

When we visit the market in summer, the black coats and jeans have vanished, reminding me of a verse of Joni Mitchell's in "Morning Morgantown":
"Ladies in their rainbow fashions,
Coloured stop and go lights flashin',
We'll wink at total strangers passin'
In morning Morgantown."

Oh, there's still black, but as a print, on a shift...


...or on a graphic sundress:


...or a striped scarf:


And if wearing neutrals, women added a wink such as red-ribboned espadrilles:



All around me, I noticed that they used printed canvas totes to add interest to neutrals...


...and carried summer-bright bags, citron, fuchsia, white.


 One of the best accessories, though, was on a bike:


I could not find the pattern for whatever you call that, but if you crochet, here's a free bike u-lock cosy pattern from Toronto's The Knit Café, a winsome gift idea.

In a quote that's gone viral, French writer and Instagram-goddess Sophie Fontanel advised that to dress well, read well and widely, visit museums, surf the net; absorb anything but magazines. (See this Vogue interview, in which she also expresses displeasure with certain Parisienne-chic tropes.)

What she's saying is, build your eye—whether you draw inspiration from Iris or Inès—and wear what you dig.

We can also continue to learn, even after his death, from Bill Cunningham's affectionate photographs of persons of all ages, in all manner of dress. Always amused and engaged, he parsed, as my mother said, "what they are wearing",  but never prescriptively; he encouraged us to find our individual expressions.

So when I'm shopping the market and neighbourhood for Québec strawberries and saucisson, I'm also charmed by Montréalers and visitors alike as they embrace the short, sweet summer—and at times, one another:


Vacation notice

This is the last post for two months; toodles, poodles, till September. I wish you a double dip of seasonal pleasures, and look forward to hearing all about your adventures, very soon.


11 comments

angiemanzi said...

bonne vacance!

LauraH said...

Thanks for passing on the interview link, she sounds worth reading. Enjoy a wonderful summer!

Madame Là-bas said...

Did you see that film documentary "Bill Cunningham New York"? Such an interesting man! I'm going to read the Sophie Fontanel
interview. I really enjoy your photos of Montréal people. Enjoy the summer!

Duchesse said...

Mme Là-bas: Yes, I loved that film! Wonderful that we have this portrait of his milieu and persona. The few seconds when he talks about his faith, and chokes on the words, were extremely moving.

LauraH: The interview is brief but worth reading even if it does have one of those dippy headlines.

angiemanzi: Thank you, I try to be as offline as possible in July-August, but will probably break down for Netflix.

lagatta à montréal said...

Cunningham was also an indefatigable urban cyclist and rambler - and of course it is a bit ironic that he photographed "creative dressers" and was very much himself in his uniform, only changing slightly with the seasons. I love his little flat cap.

Oh, I still see a lot of black around here these days, but usually leavened with at least a bit of colour. I love green as a summertime neutral, but it is so hard to find the right shade of green.

Buon'estate! Bon été!

Duchesse said...

lagatta: Bill Cunningham photographed every kind of attire, from the most conservative but impeccable Savile Row suit to the outré; he saw the full range on offer, relished everything. I hope you have seen "Bill Cunningham New York"! He said he went through bikes regularly, because they either broke or were stolen.

lagatta à montréal said...

I've seen it but also knew that before. He really did it all. Yes, even crappy old bikes get stolen in cities, like an old five-speed I had lifted at the Canadian Tire on Bellechasse, 20 years ago.

materfamilias said...

I always love these posts! And of course the bike photo brought a smile and a happy memory . . .

Wendy said...

Your posts with photos of shoppers at the market are some of my absolute favorites. It is the Jean-Talon, isn't it? Montrealers have a unique and colorful style that I love. I hope your summer is wonderful. Miss you already.

Duchesse said...

lagatta: There is such humanity and respect in his work, as well as a deep, longstanding interest in fashion. Some of my family's favourite bikes have been stolen- not that they were fancy ones, just ones we really liked.

materfamilias: Me, too! And you're the knitter!

Wendy: Most of the shots are at Jean-Talon, the bike was shot on a walkabout with materfamilias, who visited overnight. The couple were at a café across the street from where I live, a 5-min. walk from J-T.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Enjoy your holidays....always love seeing your posts pop up Duchesse, your voice is an important one..
I will seek out the Bill Cunningham documentary and read the Vogue article.