Tuesday, September 18, 2012

animal print

Vogue September 2012
I'll have one, please?!

Animal prints ... they are my thing, infused in me from years of knowing my grandmother. She was, in my childhood, the most glamorous thing I had known ... always pink nail polished, Chanel No. 5 dusted, and black mascara'd. She lived in an apartment in the city, and drove a red Mustang. Once, she was to take my brother and I on a weekend trip to the lake house that her family had owned for many years. We were so excited to go on this little adventure with grandma. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and after having stopped at her city apartment, we were forced to stay. The rain had fallen so fast and furious that most of the viaducts were flooded and she wasn't confident that we could get out. Of course we didn't mind, not at all. We got a chance to stay in the rooms that we had seldom visited in our young lives. Naturally, I thought that everything was exotic. The gold book shelves, the sofa that doubled as a bed when the pillows were removed, and the tiny kitchen made just for one were so novel. Little did I know that she lived in a studio apartment and one even at the very first years that I lived in the city, I wouldn't have dreamt to live in. But at 10, or however old I was, it was the Taj Mahal.

Two pieces of furniture of her's stuck out the most to me ... the director's chairs! Director's chairs? Yes! But the material was cow hide. Talk about totally cool ... I coveted those cow hide director's chairs and many years later, as we cleaned out the apartment after her death, I rediscovered them and claimed them as my own. I first used them in the house I rented with my brother when we were in college. I can remember having a lot of fun with those chairs. I had one friend in particular, who liked to come over, listen to records, and drink wine. Well, when enough wine got in his gullet, he would hop over the chairs as part of his dance moves. I was always amazed that he could just jump right over them. I, on the other hand, was more likely to fall backward out of one. The chairs followed me and in the first couple of apartments that I lived in in the city, one being only a block away from where my grandma had lived, until one of the hides split. Ah, it was time to buy more grown-up chairs anyway. No one was jumping over them, what was their use?

A couple of months ago in a mad clean, I found one of the seats ... intact. I'm sitting on it now! I just can't seem to part with it. And when my 8 year-old niece saw it this summer, she said, 'wow! that is so cool ... is it a cow?' Yes it is! And it is something that I won't ever part with as long as it holds together. I'll just keep repurposing it.

And so ... the purse. The chairs sparked my life-long love of animal print. Once, as a challenge, I dressed for work entirely in animal print ... dress, hose, shoes, necklace. And it didn't look bad ... oh, that was a good day. The Ralph Lauren bag would've made it even better.

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