Utterly against my principles, I love this shirt

Welcome back, after a summer that felt both familiar and new, like a favourite skirt you'd forgotten about for a year.

What can I promise for this thirteenth re-opening of the tiny, tucked-away Passage? Not much about Covid (covered by every medium out there), few apparel proscriptions (while we weren't looking, the notion of "trends" became outdated), more stories of real women in the Passage.

Windows still dressed with my preoccupations and passions, so pearls, certainly. A pinch of small-p politics. Little irks me more than hearing, "What do I care about running out of water by 2040? I'll be dead." (Paraphrased from an interview with Fran Lebowitz retrieved from AnOther.)

I return with a confessional post. I longed for colour this summer—capital-C Colour, bolder, punchier, succulent. I donated a grey/black silk semi-sheer top and allowed myself a replacement.

Through gritted teeth, I have to compliment Zara for audacious colour. The overall quality of the clothing is usually too low to covet—especially the acrylic-embedded knits—and I refuse to buy fast fashion, but dadgummit, the Colour is there. Someone in the design department cheerfully ripped off Zandra Rhodes—that hot pink and intense yellow—and went full La La Land to deliver:

I could make all kinds of excuses. Let me. In one week, both Le Duc and I had medical emergencies which forced the postponement of a long-anticipated visit with beloved friends. Once recovered, we were in a carnival mood: let's go out!

The local Zara had one Flowy Patchwork Top, not in my size but I could gauge the construction. The side slits are neatly finished, the placket even. It's a washable semi-sheer poly; the chiffonesque fabric looks less synthetic than their "satins". (I also checked out the merch, a lot looked limp, but there were some gems, such as a crisp, striped cotton shirtdress.)  

Imagining myself in the shirt on a terrasse, with white jeans and sandals, having a Caipirinha, I ordered. 

The young women of Montréal spent their summer in tiny bra tops, or a revival of the '80s tube and shorts, but those days are no longer mine.

When the shirt came, I wanted it to disappoint, but it was every bit as appealing as I feared. Le Duc called it beautiful.

The renowned author of  the classic "A Guide to Elegance", Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, counselled that quality should rule, point final— except for one tiny niche, summer vacation clothes. There is no point, she felt, spending a great deal on things worn for only a few weeks each year, in casual settings. 

So I made my deal with the Spanish devil, I hope for the last time—but if they keep on offering well-composed prints, I may sell out again.

And as for Dame Zandra Rhodes, she's still contributing her astonishing colour sense. The "Rhodes on Roads" project has placed her art installations through the streets of the Seven Dials community in London.

She is also the creative ambassador of  recently-launched touring public art installation, Gratitude, which celebrates National Health Service workers with an exhibition of 51 human-form sculptures, and will fundraise for NHS Charities Together via auctions of the sculptures after the exhibition.


Laura J said…
Well! Very nice to hear the shutters roll up and hear you voice again.

It has been a summer for colour including a 2nd hand find of a Flax brand linen tunic in…wait for it…creamsicle orange..pale but not quite pastel!! Also wore a lot of white and no black to speak of except linen trousers….

Hear ya on the little irks…
Jane in London said…
Well hello again! Lovely to see the Passage open now that Autumn is here. I hope that you and Le Duc are both fully recovered.

That shirt is a definite morale-booster: the design a sort of happy Rhodes/Versace mash up... Colour lifts the spirits, and I often wear brights (though prints seldom work for me, sadly). It sounds as though you'll get reasonable longevity from it, so no real sin here.

My own foray into fast fashion (my H&M sleeveless jumper) was less of a success. I actually wore it a great deal during the first few months I had it but, in spite my careful hand-washing and air-drying, it began to look too tatty after that. Lesson learnt!

Happily, it has now gone to a new life in the countryside - worn as a handy slipover by my friend when she goes out to feed her hens. It will probably live on for years in this new role, so I don't feel too bad.

Jane in London

Ha, I have a couple of friends, each in his eighties, who are very concerned and engaged about environmental questions. The one in Paris has written extensively about ecology and socialism; as for the one in Montréal, he often cycles past the corner of Beaubien and Saint-Dominique. Liebowitz was not witty.

I'm in black and violet now; all natural fibres. A long-sleeved t-shirt in supima cotton bought on sale at Simons, a cotton v-neck pullover - and jeans from Reitmans (yes, a cheap brand) but their "vintage" jeans are 99% cotton - there is 1% some synthetic fibre but they don't feel stretchy.

As for Livia, always basic black with green eyes.

Despite the sadness of the shorter days, it is good to see le Passage open.
Susan W H said…
Welcome back. I've looked forward to your return this autumn after a difficult summer.

The past few months I've experimented with color found on summer sales. I've rediscovered shades of brown, but I'm afraid clear red will never be mine to wear.

Just this week I decided to start wearing some good jewelry again, even if I only go to the grocery store, doctor and on walks.
I love it! It's like the wonderful display in the gelato store! Scrumptious!Le Duc was right, it's beautiful! Glad to know others crave color, especially in the summer. I have always spent less on summer items, as the lighter weight fabrics of summer don't seem to hold up over time. I do spend on my sandals though. Today I'm wearing a pair of Gucci sandals that my husband bought me for our 20th wedding on a trip to Italy, that trip was 14 years ago! They seemed spendy at the time, I think they were $350 but they've held up over the years, especially style wise, so it was money well spent! I'd be hard pressed to find a similarly classic style today. I do take care and have things resoled when needed.
Welcome back! sorry about the medical and hope you're both in the pink again!
Francie Newcomb said…
So glad you are back, and hope you and your husband are both feeling much better. This blouse is very pretty.
LauraH said…
Lovely colours and patterns on that blouse, a real spirit lifter. So sorry to hear about your medical emergencies, glad that things have been resolved.

My summer was spent in my usual linen shirts - green, orange and pink - with some new linen/cotton high waisted pants from the Gap. Loose and cool to get through the soaring temperatures and sticky humidity. I saw women wearing black leggings...how can they stand it? Must admit heat and humidity are difficult for me, others don't seem as bothered.

Now that it's a bit cooler, I can bring out the 3/4 length Talbots t-shirts in lots of pretty colours and later I'll have some fun with my Katrin Leblond prints and new matching masks:-)

Welcome back!!
Unknown said…
Welcome back, I've missed your posts! The blouse is really pretty. If it makes you feel any better, my favorite brightly flowered blouse was off a sale rack at Zara, and every time I wear it I feel cheerful, and get compliments.
Leslie M said…
I can see you in that blouse cutting a swath through the bar to order your caipirinha. No apologies necessary. Bravo for reconsidering a brand and finding something you love. We should all be open to new things in these days, months and years of COVID. Keep those medical emergencies to a minimum, please. So glad you are back to delight us.
Murphy said…
Great to see you back !
Your new blouse is so pretty ! I know people rant about Zara, but I don’t think you need to feel guilty. I have several items carefully chosen from Zara that have stood the test of time: a pair of seersucker pants (just worn for their 6th summer and counting) and a couple of lightweight jackets ( one starting it’s 8th year and the other it’s 5th year). The pants are cotton with stretch and the jackets are poly blend. All the items have finished seams and fit well.
I don’t think that buying inexpensive is bad as long as we’re discerning and don’t have a throwaway mentality.
Hummingbird5 said…
I'm so glad you're back! Yet another reason to love autumn.
Allison said…
Aww September and a new season for the Passage! I was looking at my calendar and wondering when the shutters would be open again.
Sorry about the medical emergencies but hopefully all is well and you both are feeling better.
Your Zara blouse is something to sing about isn’t it? I say caipirinha’s all round! We need to celebrate SOMETHING after these long months and why not a pretty top?
Yes, delicious colour has been our healing ‘oil’ for another pandemic summer. In a prescient moment last winter I ordered two lovely cashmere sweaters in uncashmere-y bright orange and turquoise. Great for extending the ‘summer’s lease’ into this rather chilly east coast September before heading back to the excitement of a federal election next week.
Lovely to have you back!

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