21 November 2008

Tute sweet

Little Johanna hates Versailles.
- Anacardo

I don't know if it's a coincidence or planned serendipity, but I have been surrounded by French (or French-inspired) sugary aesthetics lately, one after the other.

It all started in September, as I searched for Veuve Clicquot images to put in a deck I was writing for a luxury client. I came across this picture and for the next several days was on a furious quest to find out what those cookies were called, and what they tasted like. Just nine days later, Amber from CODE FOR SOMETHING wrote about macarons. I have yet to try them, but I will by the end of the year.

[photo by sfophoto]

Marie Antoinette
I got into the mood to watch Marie Antoinette two or three weeks ago. After seeing it, I started noticing drapes, watercolors, pearls and chandeliers everywhere. I was very taken with this scene in particular:

Senses play a huge part in this: the touch of the fabrics, the taste of the pastries, the sound of the gambling chips and splashes of champagne; I don't even have to mention the visuals. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much; my roommate calls me a sensate, since I get so excited by sensory elements blending together to create a scene (in real and daydreamed state schemas, for example).

Antoinette shoes

Shoes, Champagne and gambling

[click on the above photo for my thoughts on the Chucks]

personal MacBook desktop bg

Paris Breakfasts
I revisited the Veuve Clicquot image to see what else was in the photo stream. To my pleasant surprise, it turned out that the entire stream follows this mood.

[photo by Paris Breakfast]

[photo by Paris Breakfast]

The photos belong to a woman named Carol who lives in NY but seems to be in Paris all the time, in and out of pastry and chocolate shops. Her photography is beautiful, and she also paints watercolors which are out of this world. She seems to have a collection of tiny Paris-related things that are arranged into little scenes as well, which is probably the cutest thing I've ever seen.

[art by Paris Breakfast]

[art by Paris Breakfast]

[photo by Paris Breakfast]

Carol keeps a blog called paris breakfasts, and you can buy her watercolors at her Etsy shop.

Hime Gyaru
My friend and pen pal Julie sent me this WSJ article yesterday. It's about a huge street trend among women in Japan called hime gyaru (means "princess girl") in which girls "aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century versions of old-style European royalty."

Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton are their heroes, and they deck their apartments out in rococo furniture. It's thought to be a conscious departure from the ripped /layered clothes trend of the 1990s. Here is how extreme it can get: there are specialized boutiques that sell these types of frilly, saccharine clothes, and one of the biggest stores – called Jesus Diamante – sells around $95,000 worth of clothing a month! Some women spend anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 on just one outfit. The trend extends into accessories as well, which I think I saw a glimpse of when I was in Japan (taken from a sign outside a nail place):

I am not sure what my point is with all of this. As I wrote it, though, I realized that it wasn't all a coincidence. That quote in the beginning about my younger self is half true. Until this recent kick of mine, I for some reason had an aversion to everything having to do with this aesthetic, especially rococo. I itched at the thought of toile, I remembered zero dates & names during my Art History AP class when we got to this era of art. The golden cherubs and wigs drove me nuts as I daydreamed about a completely opposite aesthetic. Someone in the hime gyaru article said that maybe women are dressing in this cute, fantastical way to lighten the spirit surrounding our world's current economic state. I don't exactly think I've been doing the same, but I have always liked novelty and every now and then soaked up everything that's different from what I'm used to. I guess it came at as good a time as any.

[Special thanks to Carol for being gracious enough to let me take screen captures of her photos!]

EDIT | There's more. Lily Allen's new video.

Sweets, bows and rococo to your heart's content.
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