Saturday, August 13

REFRACTIONS OF MEMORY

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Photographed by my brother, I'm wearing my favourite leather jacket from my favourite vintage shop on Brick Lane, vintage halterneck from Armstrong's Vintage Emporium and €1 skirt from Paris.
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I didn't dress constructively that morning. The weather was unusually (for an Edinburgh summer) balmy and my brother and I were going to walk into town to see a Fringe show. It was to be my last day in the UK before I left for Paris the next morning. Looking at those snaps now, there is something more poignant in my choice of garments that morning than the weather. From my subconsicous I had selected the jacket I bought the summer I lived and worked in London (where I am coming from), the top I picked up at my favourite shop in Edinburgh (where I call home) and the sunshine skirt I bought this March over Paris fashion week (where I am going). As it turned out, my friend's comedy show wasn't on that day so we took a turn around the newly renovated National Museum of Scotland, half-looking at the exhibits but mainly being distracted by our running debate on the fast-approaching economic and cultural death of the United States. We spontaneously met Kate Woods for 'my last pint' at a pop-up bar venue in the crude, gaping hole of a building which had burned down in the centre of town a few years ago. Wild buddleia plants have softened the scars on the exposed brick, and draped with fairy lights and cheerful Kopparberg umbrellas there was something charming and innovative about the place. Suddenly I felt an overwhelming déja vu: I was not in Edinburgh but back in Brooklyn, where I have spent occasions over two summers in the last four years, drinking cider in the sun in abandoned basketball lots or primary schools.  Then yesterday evening in Paris, as Audrey and I were crossing the Seine from the left bank to the right, I noticed for the first time the padlocks on  le Pont des Arts (just like the heart-shaped tiles which adorn the chain-link fence on 7th Ave and 11th St in NYC), forever clinging to that bridge of love, as a lasting tribute to a summer or perhaps, more romantically - a lifetime of memory. As I walked past I thought of those who return here, many years later and see their padlock still clinging, and the memories come rushing back. 
Such are the machinations of what Proust called the refraction of memory. Not a chronological stream  but a looping, fluid vision of memories linked by essence rather than substance, whether involuntarily triggered by an outfit, a padlock or some exposed brick on a sunny day.

7 comments:

Livvles said...

i never stumble across tops as awesome as that when im in armstrongs, im going tomorrow for another shot at it! also, i couldnt work out which pub you were talking about, the assembly rooms/hall and the pleasance both went through my head... should really get to know my home city better. fabulous post as usual :) x

devil's in the detail. said...

adore that leather jacket

Laura. said...

I love your jacket, what a great find :)

Leeds Fashion Blog

Ninja said...

I love the eclectic mix of pieces in your outfit. You just bring them together perfectly! Great pictures :)

xxx irinja (1milliondresses.blogspot.com)

Shopgirl said...

wow - never knew about the padlocks on le Pont des Arts either - must check them out when I'm in Paris next. Love that yellow skirt - perfect for moving into Autumn :)

LolitaLoves said...

oh Imo, your writing here is just lovely, I can completely relate to your deja vu constructiong an amalgamted mish mash of memories. I miss you, what's cookin in Parigi? x

Geneva (apairandaspare) said...

I love love love that padlocked fence in Paris. Wish I had got a pic!!

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