The Holiday feel good & do good list
Happy holidays & joyeuses fetes - 'tis the season at Nicole Van Dyke! Welcome to a swell little list of things to read, see, hear, and give, all during the festive month of December, or those quieter winter months of January and February. I care, and I love to share, pass it on! One idea leads to another, books lead to movies, to inspiration, to gifts that are fab and do good for our planet: so off we go.
to Read - Vintage. I stumbled upon the charming, 4-tome series of the Claudine books from Colette (in a London lingerie shop, of all places). The cover illustrations by Ian Bilbey were a definite yes for our bookshelves, and the series translated into English was just what I wanted. Now that I speak French ‘beaucoup mieux’ than when I arrived in Paris, I can confirm that the translations are absolutely superb. So many expressions and nuances are truly captured, yet flow off the page for the English reader. The excitement continues, as Keira Knightley will play Colette in a new film about the adventure of writing the Claudine stories. Colette’s first husband locked her in her room, forcing her to write the stories, then published them in his name...until she stood up to him. The film opens in France on January 19, 2019 and is already playing in the US.
to Read - Modern. I heard about this recent novel while listening to my favorite radio show, Fresh Air. Zadie Smith’s voice drew me in during this flowing interview about all sorts of themes of the human condition, so I picked up her latest book. Again, it’s a beautiful cover that will add zing to your bookshelf (my favorite yellow), and the book is beautifully written. It is translated into French and available from Gallimard (collection Du Monde Entier).
You can listen to the Fresh Air interview with Zadie Smith here : https://www.npr.org/2017/01/20/510600755/novelist-zadie-smith-on-historical-nostalgia-and-the-nature-of-talent
to See - Modern. Do you have a favorite song from Queen, other than Bohemian Rhapsody ? That song is the perfect title for this joyful, musical, gorgeously 70’s and 80’s rhapsody of a movie… My other favorite has always been Another One Bites the Dust. The scene that explains to us where that song comes from is superb, along with so many other moments. Settle into your favorite cinema and let the music and joy - and the sadness, too - totally "rock you"!
to See - Vintage. The opera-meets-rock style of Queen and their legacy made me think of Moulin Rouge for a vintage movie worth re-watching. I dragged my French then-boyfriend to the theatre in New York when it came out back in 2000, and at the end, he literally burst onto the street singing and dancing. If you’ve forgotten about this kaleidoscope of music, drama and ‘love is all you need’ aura, plus the unparalleled version of the Police hit 'Roxane' as a torrid tango, just watch it again. The touches of tragedy for Satine are a bit like Freddie Mercury's, they are an inherent part of the operatic story.
Film & NVD inspiration: leopard and red in the movie Charade. This Stanley Donen classic is a favorite for the triple-L : the Looks, the Lines…and the Love. All the Givenchy looks on Audrey Hepburn are tops - with my favorite influence this season taken from this leopard and red combo.
The best lines come by handfuls in this movie, starting with the Alps ski backdrop opener, when Cary Grant’s character says hello to Hepburn’s :
Peter Joshua: Do we know each other?
Reggie Lampert: Why, do you think we're going to?
Peter Joshua: How would I know?
Reggie Lampert: Because I already know an awful lot of people, so until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.
Peter Joshua: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.
The suspense and thrills start soon after, and all over a Paris that is the same and yet so different today. It’s fabulous seeing such familiar sights, yet in their ‘60’s incarnation. Pick an evening, throw on a little black dress "pour toi", and a crisply ironed white shirt "pour lui", and curl up on the sofa to watch together. I will steal the line Audrey delivers to Cary, in order to sum up the film :
Reggie Lampert: Do you know what's wrong with you?
Peter Joshua: No, what?
Reggie Lampert: Nothing!
to Hear – Vintage. Our home’s favorite holiday tunes are always versions that mix jazz, rockabilly, and all-around Charlie Brown-style nostalgia. Frank Sinatra's Let it Snow! with the B. Swanson Quartet just gets your toes tapping while trimming the tree. The trumpets, the back-up singers, it's '50's fab.
to Hear - Modern. A Very She & Him Christmas is a recent album, but full of the classics sung and accompanied with retro and nostalgia vibes. From the yukelele here, and Happy Days-style rock touches there, Zooey Deschanel's vocals and M. Ward's guitar mix perfectly for a cool yule.
to Give. At NVD, collected, curated, vintage fabrics and leathers are the signature. Groovy and green fashion, so give something useful and pretty, all the while giving back to the planet. A lovely fabric or skin, reincarnated in a new NVD design. Each item is wrapped up in the black cotton logo tote: it's gift-wrapping that is practical and waste-free. The tote serves as your chic shopper (just fold up and keep in your purse, never to take a plastic shopping bag again). Please see the e-shop for the selection of limited edition clothing and accessories.
Get inspired, share, and bonnes fêtes and Merry Christmas! xoxo Nicole