Classes start soon for nearly everyone I know and although in several weeks I will probably look back on this post and consider myself mentally unstable, right now, I can't wait. However, in several weeks I will be doing readings for class at breakneck speed rather than reading books of my choice, when I want to read them. But what is better than reading a good book? Particularly a good book with beautiful clothes.
Fitzgerald's most famous scene involving clothing is probably in The Great Gatsby when he describes Daisy's dress floating about her but in The Beautiful and the Damned the images he paints are incredibly inspiring. And the furs and piled high up-dos are very much A/W 2010:
"There were opera cloaks stitched of myriad, many-colored silks and furs; there were jewels dripping from arms and throats and ear-tips of white and rose; there were innumerable broad shimmers down the middles of innumerable silk hats; there were shoes of gold and bronze and red and shining black; there were the high-piled. tight-packed coiffures of many women and the slick, watered hair of well-kept men - most of all there was the ebbing, flowing, chattering, chuckling, foaming, slow-rolling wave effect of this cheerful sea of people as to-night it poured its glittering torrent into the artificial lake of laughter..."
-The Beautiful and the Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
In Rebecca, one of the most iconic scenes of the book involves the narrator wearing a white costume evening dress that provokes a less than positive reaction from Max de Winter. Despite being less relevant to the plot, the opulence and luxury in Rebecca's closet contribute to the reader's understanding of her character:
"On a sudden impulse I moved away from the bed and went back to the little ante-room where I had seen the wardrobes. I opened one of them. It was as I thought. The wardrobe was full of clothes. There were evening dresses here, I caught the shimmer of silver over the top of the white bags that enfolded them. There was a piece of gold brocade. There, next to it, was velvet, wine-coloured, and soft. There was a train of white satin, dripping on the floor of the wardrobe. Peeping out from a piece of tissue paper on a shelf above was an ostrich feather fan."
- Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
The Little Princess is so much fun. I loved it when I first learned how to read and now that I can read it and reminisce I also get to glance over Burnett's descriptions of Sara's outfits and the way in which Sara's clothing marks changes in the plot. Plus this passage made me think of Prada's A/W 2010 collection:
"Lavinia had managed to pass Sara's room when the door was open, and had seen Mariette opening a box which had arrived late from some shop.
'It was full of petticoats with lace frills on them - frills and frills,' she whispered to her friend Jessie as she bent over her geography. 'I saw her shaking them out. I heard Miss Minchin say to Miss Amelia that her clothes were so grand that they were ridiculous for a child. My mamma says that children should be dressed simply. She has got one of those petticoats on now. I saw it when she sat down.'
'She has silk stockings on!' whispered Jessie, bending over her geography also. 'And what little feet! I never saw such little feet.'
'Oh,' sniffed Lavinia, spitefully, 'that is the way her slippers are made. My mamma says that even big feet can be made to look small if you have a clever shoemaker. I don't think she is pretty at all. Her eyes are such a queer color.'"
- A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
What is your favorite fashion related book or description of an outfit or a scene? Are you inspired by what you read?
Thanks to We Heart It for the title image. Collage images are scans from Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.