Le Petit Prince

'On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.'

It is only with one's heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.

I spotted Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's SS11 collection on The Cherry Blossom Girl, and was at first excited by it, and then, a little dismayed. Should fashion be allowed to so blatantly hijack such a beloved piece of literature?


The collection obviously draws on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's illustrations for his book, Le Petit Prince. Essentially a children's book, Le Petit Prince, nearly 70 years after it was first published, remains hugely popular, especially in France – the tale of an intergalactic boy prince, discovered by an airman in the desert.

I came across it at school, when an amazing French teacher decided it would be a good addition to our lessons. I loved deciphering the French, and then, deciphering the insights contained within the English.


The book has many layers. The collection has many too, although these more physical than metaphorical. Aptly enough, given fashion's typical temporality, this collection takes it on its most superficial level – a simple tale of a lost pilot who finds a travelling little boy from a foreign planet in the desert. In an interview with Dazed Digital, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac explained: '... it was my purpose to approach Africa through the desert. Petit Prince was my ambassador to go on the planet on the desert. I went to the desert and then to the jungle.'

In terms of the narrative of the collection, he has certainly followed this path. Stars and Space, and prints of Saint-Exupéry's illustrations give way to safari-style dresses with wild top hats the same shape as the narrator's drawing of an elephant swallowed by a boa constrictor, and mistaken by narrow-minded grown-ups for a hat.
Images from Le Petit Prince, The Cherry Blossom Girl, New York Magazine

But it seems curious that a book essentially about love and loneliness, the importance of small things in the vastness of the universe, and even the perils of judging people on their aesthetics should ever be allied with an industry selling aesthetics.

But then, Le Petit Prince can also be read as a comment on the narrow-mindedness of grown-ups who refuse to see past what they see with their eyes – and perhaps there is nothing more contradictory to that than questioning this brief appearance of Le Petit Prince in fashion.

'But he would always answer, “That’s a hat.” Then I wouldn’t talk about boa constrictors or jungles or stars. I would put myself on his level and talk about bridge and golf and politics and neckties. And my grown-up was glad to know such a reasonable person.'


Sofia Coppola

I can't resist style sections of newspapers. In particular, I just can't help myself around Suzy Menkes' slightly old-fashioned but always straight talking takes on things, and I always go to her first, for balance. Menkes' profile of Sofia Coppola this month is published to promote her collaboration with Louis Vuitton – a selection of prohibitively expensive bags and shoes (some costing over $4,000), made to her own specifications. The accompanying images, taken from the collection, caught my eye.



All images from TFS

I very much admire the simplicity of her personal style, those long trousers and her ability to wield a clutch in particular. In the article though, it's not the bags that are intriguing (either way, they're not: they're ridiculously expensive, and you can find very similar at Topshop) it's the personality, the personal style, and the one phrase that sums up one individual's approach to fashion:

"Paris women have certain style - they are not trying to be little girls," she says. "In general, people are more chic and put together in Paris... I like the idea of growing up and being a woman - the end of childhood but keeping part of your nature."

She is not alone in thinking this: the cover of the Guardian Saturday magazine a few weeks ago featured a model in a flared Prada shift dress with the line: 'Step aside, girls, fashion for women has arrived'. I really would love to believe that it has.


A Tourist at Home

Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city. I'm the kind of tourist who tries to blend in with whatever place I'm visiting in order to see the real place, not the manufactured directed version that you are fed as a slavish tourist. The hardest part about trying to fit in in a place that you have never been before is not getting lost, so being a tourist in the city that you already know is easy.

So, in true Bristol tourism style, here is Clifton Suspension Bridge and its surroundings in the late autumn sunshine. It's an almost impossible structure, built in the mid-nineteenth century across the deep Avon Gorge, which itself has seen more than its fair share of people jumping to their deaths from the bridge above. The best tale of this bridge that I have heard is that of Sarah Ann Henley, who, intent on ending her life in 1885, threw herself off it only to be buoyed up by her many petticoats, which acted as a parachute and saved her life, guiding her down gently. She lived into her eighties.


I was tempted to wear something voluminous in her honour, but settled for this instead, my vintage Betty Barclay autumn dress. Its length would make it a great summer dress, were it not for the long sleeves. They are too warm for summer and too cold for winter, but perfect for sunny autumn evenings like this. I like that it is cut in a classic shape in a classic colour but that the camel is broken up by the flashes of fushia in the wings of the birds. I bought it in Camden Market in London, which happens in fact to be the place most often thought of by Londoners as a horrible tourist nightmare – I do still go, though.

Dress: vintage Betty Barclay
Cardigan: Topshop
Tights: M&S
Shoes: Long Tall Sally


This time of year...

It's October and I can't really believe it. Autumn kicked in with real intent just a few days ago and took everyone by surprise and left me wondering whether or not I should have got a chimney sweep in during the summer – probably the only old-fashioned necessity that I'm not a fan of. I think it'll keep until next year. I'm very much looking forward to lighting it and curling up beside it though.

When October hits and I begin to remember what the cold feels like, I always start thinking about the inside of the house, woefully neglected during a summer mostly spent outside. I begin to remember all the good things about being cooped up in the house – lighting the fire and eating autumn dinners with cosy lights on and hiding under my amazing winter duvet, not yet deployed.

Autumn is my absolute favourite season for food too - butternut squash and pancetta in risottos, sausages in casseroles and as many root vegetables as possible. I've been hoarding pictures of beautiful houses in which I would love to spend my autumn and winter, and thought I would share them here, for a bit of a change!


Design Sponge and Little Green Notebook

Imagine sitting in front of the fire on that gorgeous blue couch in the top picture! Just to keep things topical, below are a couple of things I've been coveting from the new Anthropologie A/W collection. On discovering that Anthropologie have opened a new store in London, I fully intend to go. No matter how many times I tell myself that their clothes are infinitely makeable, and vastly overpriced, I can't deny that I do love looking at them and imagining wearing them around my chilly autumn house.