Posts Tagged ‘fairy tales’

Nina Ricci Fairy Tales and Other White Magic

It’s been relentlessly snowy and grey this past week, and so it’s hard to feel all sparkly and uplifted, as good as my intentions are. So this Sparks post is less about la-la-la-radiance-glitter-cupcake and more cocoa-and-cashmere. I feel in a burrow-y type of mood these days: holing up inside with hot gingerbread coffee and slippers, typing away cozily yet industrious under my goose-down comforter, listening to early Sonic Youth and R.E.M. as the early afternoons drift into evening while I make soup. It’s fine: I can save Operation Sparklepony for springtime. Or maybe time there’s a spot of sunshine. But these were some of the things that sparked reverie and dreaming for me this week…what about you?

In Which I Contemplate a New Career as a Parfumeur

Have you ever wanted to know more about how to become a perfumer? I’ve always been curious about this, so you can imagine my great delight when I spotted this YouTube video up at Bois de Jasmin by perfume makers Givaudan on how they train their parfumeurs. Oh, if only I had a million other lives (or a few clones!) — I’d run off and join perfume school!

There’s also videos on the , as well as the . I love this stuff; it’s a whole other beautiful world to enter into and become enchanted by. And I heart his French accent so much; Jean Guichard seems like such a sweetheart of a perfumer.

Oddball Yet Fantastic Iterations of the Modern-Day Fairy Tale

I was really captivated by this Nina L’Eau by Nina Ricci commercial — it’s absolute fairy tale aesthetic, and because it’s a fragrance commercial, it’s also wonderfully ridiculous in the best way possible. There’s something about a magic mirror, lots of running through frost-covered hedges, a white owl that makes me think of Harry Potter and a white tree that makes me think of Return of the King. And of course, there is a lovely white dress and bright red lipstick, which I think is a winning fashion look at any time and very, very Snow Queen-like. (It actually reminds me a lot of these Cade Martin photographs I blogged about earlier.

It gets even better, though! Cut to the next installment, where the girl’s three fairy godmothers-slash-pretty-French-models lounge around a room that’d be a perfect Tim Walker set, talking about what gifts they’ll give her:

And then one of them goes to make perfume, because that is what any good fairy godmother gives her fairy charge:

I don’t know about you, but this is how I want to make perfume, oui? Traipsing around the world’s prettiest kitchen in a floaty dress, singing about gardenias and apple blossoms, reveling in how lovely everything is…

Vespertine is My Spirit Jam

Every winter I like to rediscover Bjork’s Vespertine, her beautiful, lyrical record about cozying up, being content and getting all starry-eyed over your sweetheart. Sometimes Bjork records can be uproarious and clash-of-the-pagans, but Vespertine is intimate, even sweet — it’s my favorite one by her, delicate and beautiful, the one I put on in the background when I’m brewing up a lavender-and-blackberry tisane or making soup. But for maximum soul-for-the-balm factor, I like to just lie in bed and listen to it on my headphones as I drift off to sleep. It makes your dreams really cosmic and ethereal in feeling, like you’re casting white magic spells upon yourself.

My favorite song by her, though, will always be “All is Full of Love,” though. I think it’s a nice thing to listen to as we get closer to Valentine’s Day:

OTHER LOVELY THINGS LIFTING MY SPIRITS: +++++ Really enjoying “House of Cards” on Netflix. It’s not at the genius level of “The Wire” or “The Sopranos,” but it’s well-acted, absorbing and sucks you right into the maw of dirty politics. Kevin Spacey is really enjoying playing such a slimy politician; he manages to elevate the so-so writing into something really great +++++ Going to the symphony today, this time to hear Mendelssohn and Berlioz! +++++ I just started reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck and it’s really, really good. +++++ This video interview of Lee Radziwill, shot by Sofia Coppola! I enjoyed hearing her being on tour with the Stones, how she thought Mick Jagger was “a little repulsive,” and think it’s funny when she says, “The Rolling Stone magazine.” +++++ Also: NEW VIDEO BY THE KNIFE!!! Here is “Full of Fire” and I cannot wait for when Shaking the Habitual comes out!

Bring Me to Wonderland With These Beautiful Photographs

Lately I’ve been thinking about the history of my eye. Not my physical eyeball, which would be a sad tale of a progressive descent into blindness. And not a Georges Batailles-like surreal exploration of sexuality, either, a la The Story of An Eye! (Eek!) No, more about what I find visually appealing, and where my tastes and sensibilities are rooted in.

Far as I can tell, there’s a few strands I find particularly appealing: a very 90s, grunge-influenced aesthetic that prized a kind of riveting authenticity above prettiness; rhapsodic, almost abstract nature images, a la Terrence Malick; French New Wave and 1930s Hollywood films; and finally, a kind of whimsical, fantastical tableaux, where images are dreamy, influenced by fashion and fantasy, but with a twist of darkness, melancholy, or general teen angst moodiness. Maybe like if Sofia Coppola directed “Twilight.” (Not as outlandish as you’d think — she was in consideration for the directing job for the sequels.)

Considering this last strain, I recently came across these photographs by D.C.-based photographer Cade Martin (via Maria Popova’s Brainpickings site) and kind of went into mad-crush mode on them. Part of a series of images featuring dancers of the Washington Ballet, they’re in the whimsy-fantasy mode that I like so much, and remind me a bit of Tim Walker’s photography (which, if you know me from nogoodforme.com, you know I love.)

I love the fairytale-like feel in this work, but I also love its stripped-down elegance — so many fantasy images can feel so stuffy and overstyled, but these are decidedly not, picking up their airy, slightly uncanny feel from how they’re lit and framed. (I like it when a work has air to breathe, you know?)


Snow Queens in July

It’s the middle of July, so naturally my mind turns to all things Arctic. I look longingly at pictures of glaciers in Antarctica and dream of the day until I can finally go. And I watch movies and read stories featuring all manner of ice princesses and snow queens, often filled with delectable visual descriptions of glittering snow crystal-studded gowns, lustrous hair the color of starlight and skin as polished and smooth as marble.

The snow queen character, of course, represents a kind of remote purity, smooth, self-possessed and immutable, but it’s far from benevolent. In the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, the Snow Queen is a mysterious feminine force, forbidding yet alluring. She’s not a femme fatale that asserts her will upon the world around her; hers in an enchantment that draws souls towards her and then causes them to forget their earthly lives. The original fairy tale is highly Christian, and now I like to read the Snow Queen as a kind of symbol of the pagan spirit or Divine Feminine, as expressed through the particular imagery of the far north of the world.


When Fashion Editorials Become Fairy Tales

I’ve been a Yelena Yumchuk fan for awhile. Her photography is dreamy, a little surreal — perfect for visual inspiration, especially if you’re of the magical-realism/supernatural school. I don’t know what’s more lovely in this Vogue Italia photos: the gorgeous natural settings, Kirsten Dunst’s luminous light and coloring or some of these frocks. I want to experience and make stories that feel like these images. Gorgeous and beautiful eye candy!