Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A for Amanda

She's the beautiful muse to Karl Lagerveld, one time muse to John Galliano and yet still manages to come across as warm and engaging.

 In fact, any bad press I've read about her just appears to be sour grapes, understandable really, for who can't feel a little unnerved by Lady Harlech's many accomplishments. Ballerina, horsewoman, model, muse and pianist, she's also a writer and has managed to throw a title (through marriage) into the mix! What's not to love?

This what she says in an interview with the always amazing INTO THE GLOSS:

 "For me, beauty is grace. So, it's not just how somebody looks in a photograph. It's much more about a woman in motion. It's the life that I find really beautiful. For me, things like lines are what makes a woman beautiful...So, my beauty philosophy is really to look after (myself) time. Time to breath. Time to sit still. Time to look at the sky."

Then later in the same interview; " Beauty it's just very caring. It's not about looking in the mirror and thinking, ' I hate you! Transform you! Obliterate you! Disappear! It's about saying ' This is me. You're tired. You've got great bags under your eyes - that's not surprising!' So, don't stop loving your skin. That's all we are. We're a heart pumping with a spirit somewhere and we're a bunch of bones and skin."

Of course, it's always women with perfect cheekbones and a dancer's body who say such things but there is something translucent and lovely about the Lady that transcends mere genetics.

Amanda recommends Anne Semonin beauty masks, and Mimosa Cream from Santa Maria Novella, just in case you were wondering!

xxx elle

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Museum of Innocence

I am not a great shopper.

Slow, indecisive and  then later regretful...I am happy just to peruse,delight and leave.

But put me in a bookstore anywhere in the world and I come out laden!

In Istanbul, I emerged from the small densely stocked book shop onto the busy street in Galata, with a bag laden with 'Turkish delights'. Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak and Ahmet Handi Tanipar had all found their way into my shopping bag.

So, when my mother and sister decided to visit Istanbul I was excited to tell them about Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel prize winning writer whose memoirs 'Istanbul, memories of a city' had so deeply moved me.

Like Pamuk I felt the 'huzun' in Istanbul, the melancholy that permeates this beautiful city, trapped as it is between a golden, quite extraordinary past and a crumbling present. The sense of disorientation in a city of faded grandeur balancing precariously between Islam and the West.

In Beyoglu, Pamuk has finally achieved the living embodiment of his novel, 'The Museum Of Innocence' which tells the story of the obsessive love Kemel, a wealthy businessman has for Fusun, a lowly shop assistant.The novel traces this single minded passion over 30 years starting in 1975. Kemel's obsession becomes more and more bizaare and self destructive as he creates an actual 'museum' to his lost love, collecting whatever he can find that is in any way connected to the short-lived love affair they once shared.

"It was the happiest moment of life", Kemel recalls of their affair "though I didn't know it. Had I known, had I cherished this gift, would everything have turned out differently? Yes, if I had recognized this instant of perfect happiness, I would have held it fast and never let it slip away. It took a few seconds , perhaps, for that luminous state to to enfold me, suffusing me with the deepest peace, but it seemed to last hours, even years. In that moment, on the afternoon of Monday, May 26, 1975, at about quarter to three, just as we found ourselves to be beyond sin and guilt so too did the world seem to have been released from gravity and time."

In a magical example of life imitating art, Pamuk has finally inaugurated an actual 'The Museum of Innocence' in which he has recreated the temple of obsessive love, created by Kemel for the object of his desire. It is the gilded cage Kemel so longed to trap Fusun within.

Here you will find all the excruciating minutiae of their daily lives, navigating their crossed paths from ticket stubs to locks of hair, serviettes with a trace of lipstick to the forbidden, now empty wine bottles from which they imbibed.

'Real museums are places where time is transformed into space'. Kemel tells the reader, and here Pamuk has achieved just that.

"When we lose people we love, we should never disturb their souls, whether living or dead", Kemel advices, "instead we should find consolation in an object that reminds you of them, something...I don't know...even an earring"

xxx elle


The tulips were waiting,

On the other side of the door this evening
while the sky was widening with the idea of night
and the dogs were being walked,
the crickets coming to life.
The tulips were waiting.

Purple and yellow bells.
Cups of colour
seeking out the light.

They grew quiet when they heard the key in the lock.
Only stretching out towards me
as if to exclaim "Hello!"
with childish excitement.

Bowing and reaching
their long clever limbs,
we said good night,
more politely.

Skye Katzeff 2012

xxx elle

Right side ...

What I try and remember when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed!

xxx elle

Of Worriers and Warriors.

It all started when I heard Mr Nielson better known as Sid, laugh out loud at the computer.

'I'm reading a letter from Steele', he informed me.

Our boy Steele has been traveling on a gap year these many months.

A letter is always an occasion.

I sank down on the bed with my ipad ready for a good read. He writes well, my boy.

It started just fine.

Steele had left the kibbutz near Eilat and having arrived in Jerusalem, made his way to Ben Yehuda street. He describes the sights and sounds of the street and then:

  'I tried calling Benji ( a good family friend ) off a public phone but it wasn't going through, so I was a little stranded. I was also desperate to get to the City/Man United Derby. Next thing I know, this 50 year old guy from North Carolina, ( the place where I will be working as a camp Councillor come summer ) comes up to me and starts chatting. I tell him I'm looking for an internet cafe, so he invites me back to his apartment. His name is Roddy. I'm typing this to you all from his apartment right now. We really hit it off, and he has given me the keys to his apartment. I basically have my own, fully furnished, really nice apartment in the centre of Jerusalem!!! I have my own apartment, computer, washing machine...ah ha ha ha...the universe hey,  ...'

While Mr Nielson chuckled at the marvels of an abundant universe, I sank into the depths of despair!

All through the night I envisaged the horrible fate that 'Roddy' had destined for my precious son. The kidney syndicate, the peadophile ring...the horrors!

I spent all night e-mailing every friend he knew in Israel.

And by morning had planned a 'Taken" like rescue, after all everybody knows the first 24 hours are crucial!

At about 9h 00 Steele mailed me on Facebook. He was staying at Benji and was appalled at my hysteria.

'I'm an adult mum, you have to trust my judgement. Roddy's a legend, a really decent family man. People do stuff like that here. They invite you for dinner, offer you a room for the night...Honestly mum, you need to have more faith. don't let your mind always take you into darkness...'

And he was right, of course.

With perfect synchronicity the days Counting of the Omer arrived in my inbox.

Day 25: Netzach of Netzach...Endurance in Endurance.

'Everyone has willpower and determination. We have the capacity to endure much more then we can imagine, and to prevail under the most trying of circumstances.'

 It went on to ask, 'Instead of cultivating endurance in healthy areas, have I developed a capacity for endurance of unhealthy experiences?...'

The truth is that I give in too readily to my fears and wild imaginings.

Mr Nielson ( who refuses to read the newspaper or watch the news, and who is always the last to know of wars and catastrophes) is the Warrior, traversing life with the ultimate faith.

And I am the worrier...

As my boy finds beauty and makes music a midst the ancient stones of The Holy Land, I too must sing a song that finds the light...

xxx elle