Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Stainless steel, white, avocado, harvest gold, bellbottoms, Vietnam, Iraq

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

An article on fashions in appliance colours (stainless steel vs. white) on oveninfo.com (a kitchen appliance website) quickly leads to a flame war in its comment section.  Stainless steel is pitted against avocado and harvest gold, bellbottoms against video games and Vietnam vs. Iraq. When I was saying aesthetics are the thin end of the wedge of politics I wasn’t expecting the road to be quite this short.

stainless steel vs. white vs harvest gold and avocado oven

Marguerite Duras’ bedroom in Neauphle, France, 1960s

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Marguerite Duras' bedroom, summer house in Neauphle

There’s something compelling about this photo of the bedroom of novelist Marguerite Duras in the house she bought in Neauphle, outside Paris, in the 1960s. The thin cot bed is so peculiar, like something she might have grown up with during her impoverished colonial childhood in French Indochina, now Vietnam. It’s a surprising bedroom for someone with such a life-long history of renowned lovers. Duras loved to decorate, according to this account of her life and loves: Duras’ Paris “apartment at 5 rue Saint-Benoît was Marguerite’s universe, filled with her family photos, her bunches of dried flowers, her beautiful shining furniture, her broken stove, her shawls draped over the backs of shabby armchairs, loose parquet, the smell of rose petals. She was a talented DIY enthusiast and she entertained several times a week.” She was an entertaining host as well as a radical agitator, a combination worth aspiring to. This photo’s origin is now forgotten, but it is most likely Nest Magazine. What is that wrapped package under the bed?

Oddly, I own an very similar carpet. I have never been able to identify its origin. Mine’s almost as trashed as Marguerite’s is; it’s one of the things I like about it. If anyone can identify its style/country of origin I’d be grateful.

I inherited it from a great aunt. She actually had a lot in common with Duras: unconventional, artistic, independent. She was Austrian and escaped Vienna for France when the Nazis took over; my uncle, her son, was in the resistance. She left her husband, took her son and moved to Paris. They were not Jewish; they merely hated the regime. In Austria she had been a graphic designer in Austria, but in Paris somehow got a job designing and painting handbags for Dior. She met and married a Canadian captain busy liberating France and moved to Vancouver. Anyway, just drifting here. I like the bedroom, I have the same carpet, and objects make me think of other things.

Orange carpet from my great aunt

Orange carpet - detail