the conversation pieces in your wardrobe
I broke my nose last Tuesday. Downtown on the Kudamm to buy thread, I stopped to look at a dress in a window similar to one I had seen in Milan the previous week. I stood staring, trying to figure out if it was silk or viscose. Wondering what could it be. Finally I decided since the door was open to go in and touch the fabric.. AND BOOM. The door wasn't open, I crashed into the glass and blood spurted everywhere....I could only hope it wasn't broken. I jumped into a cab, and of course the hospital confirmed...it was. And as matter of course when you go about with a bandage on your nose people ask questions. My neighbor Melanie, was the first to see me bandaged and naturally asked, what happened. Having done workshops with me, she said you weren't looking at a dress and walked into a glass window? How fitting she joyfully replied, it is exactly the right story for you! And she is right...I would rather it not happened, but it did happen, and now it is my story and it fits. I know that fabric transports me to another world...simply sweeps me away. So now I have a story about just how deeply and passionately I focus on fabric. On then, Saturday afternoon I watched a tv show called Shopping Queen with my sons. Four women each get 500€ to go shopping and one wins the title shopping queen. This particular participant was a former world champion boxer. Have you ever broken your nose the other candidates asked. Many times was her reply..."no big deal, its part of the job, afterwards the doc just straightens it out". Well, I said to my sons...maybe a broken nose is just part of the territory with some jobs. Then that's it, just another anecdotal reminder of my my focus and passion for fabric. And hey, we all have stories woven thru and around wardrobe.
Madame, it's you, that bag, it's you!
Last year at the Venice weekly market in Mestre I bought a hand bag. Actually, my youngest son chose it saying...it is the simplest of all the bags you have looked at...take it. Now when I wear black it is my go-to bag...I can squish it into my bike basket, shove it under the seat on planes...and I can count on it to spring immediately back to life. I just need one more in a lighter color and then I have the only two bags I will ever need...for life. But even more than its practicality, I am amazed at the ability of this bag to bring me into contact with complete strangers...it has become a conversation piece par excellence in my life. July 2017 I was in Paris for work, and took time out to go the Palais Galleria to see the Dalida fashion exhibition. Across the street from the Galleria is a wonderful bakery, patisserie and chocolatier and next door a very Parisian cafe. After the exhibition I went over to the bakery to by some handmade chocolate as gifts. "Madame your bag is amazing", the beautiful elegant, ultra Parisian owner said. It must be Bottega Veneta, no? Well, actually I got at the Venice market some months back.
Fast forward to November and I am back in Paris for a workshop. After buying some Toile du Jouy fabric at Pierre san Marche I head across the street to a lovely cheese shop. "Madame your bag, it is amazing and your trousers too, they are Comme de Garcon no?" Wow, now the bag magically bestows a golden touch to other items I am wearing! Actually I tell her, the bag comes from the Venice market and the trousers are fine Italian wool made from a Burda pattern. I discover that her sister works as event manager for Comme des Garcons and that she wants to go back to university to study journalism. And then the discussion moves to cheese. And my dear sweet bag started it all. The next morning I head over to Galleria to see the Fortuny exhibition. Sitting outside at the cafe on the corner, I come into conversation with a young woman... "Madame your bag"...and so I discover she teaches at the university, is off to Bali for a month. Then suddenly our conversation is interrupted, a tall elegant Parisian woman calls out, "Madame it is you. I remember that bag...you got it at the market in Venice! It is you with the bag!" It was the owner of the bakery around the corner, where I had been 5 months earlier. This bag is amazing I say to myself. And to my son Leon, when I get back to Berlin, I say, congratulations, you have an amazing eye because that bag was the best 25€ wardrobe purchase...ever!
And that is not the end of my networking handbag, it continues to bring me into contact with people wherever I go...but those are stories for another time. It is time to pack...I am back to Milan tomorrow. So over to you....any items in your wardrobe that are natural conversation pieces....