Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Like all ballerinas, I always stock pink satin ribbons, for my pointe shoes. Satin ribbons, tied around the neck, the wrist, the waist (or around a gift...), lend their instantly chic sheen to any outfit, so I like having some on hand ; I keep them in a glass jar (this one used to hold a scented candle), for a little glossy color in my bedroom.
As a little girl in Kenya, I admired the local girls' hairdos, and Jane, my nanny, would indulge me, patiently braiding my sleek blonde hair, bleached by the Indian Ocean and the fierce equator sunshine, into dozens of skinny strands. My collection of tiny candy-colored hairclips was second to none.
After leaving Kenya, my family spent a few months in the French Alps and it seemed natural to ask my mum to reproduce the beloved hairstyle. I stepped into the classroom one morning, my many braids dancing down my back. The children had never seen anything like that; they circled around me silently. Thinking back, I am surprised this shy little girl did not wince in embarrassment. I can only recall my pride.
I outgrew the hairdo but never ceased to marvel at African ladies' style. Seeing them on the métro in traditional prints fills me with joy. (In France, the Malian-born Lamine Badian Kouyaté, whose label Xuly Bët was featured at the V&A in London in 2005, blends such prints with an urban yet feminine sensibility). Inspired by those women, I bought some fabrics (pictured) at the Marché Saint-Pierre, rue Charles Nodier, but now I'm not sure what to do with them... Any suggestions?