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(covered by every medium out there), few apparel proscriptions (while we weren't looking, the notion of "trends" became outdated), more stories of real women in the Passage.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.