velvet

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Perhaps because it's winter here, and cold, I find myself drawn to velvet. Drifting through op-shops last week on a rare holiday, I would pounce on anything velvet I found, running my palms over it. Looking out the car window at the wide, low, faded fields, and the scattered clusters of shorn sheep, the surprise of lambs in winter, the kneeling black cattle that she said were like shapes cut out of night- the soft shelter of velvet, the evocation of that fabric of heavy drapes, cloistered parlours, bustles and manners- it was forgotten. But standing surrounded by plastic boxes spilling over food-stained children's books, shelves of mismatched pots, hangers and hangers of patient clothes shed like skins- here, velvet was magic. Transporting, even momentarily. 

I found a midnight blue dressing gown, threadbare in a few tiny patches at the cuff and top button-hole, but floor-length, and soft, what Blanche DuBois would have worn if she got out of steamy New Orleans and made a happy home up north. I wear it as I walk up the hall, and its length flutters behind me, silent applause. A breath of unnecessary drama in my small home. I boil the kettle for my hot water bottle and linger in the kitchen, sock-footed, absently running my palm over my velvet forearm. Not as cold at home as amongst those brindled fields, but home, I remember the vastness, the cold air, the feeling of space as we drove through it. 

Back at my desk, I found a charming series by Jasmine Deporta of girls in clothes matched to furniture (see main picture). It tickles me, like something out of Benjamin, the overlap of the ordinary and the marvellous, the conflation of person and object by taking the object onto and over skin and fading into the background. Well. Here is a link to the rest of the series on the photographer's website.

Other links for your perusal include this piece on the late Anne Hollander, the wonderful, hugely influential fashion historian whose work I greatly admire, and this lovely article on the typography of silent film.

Rosie FindlayComment