Friday, 9 September 2011

The Gauguin

This sarong was a gift from Mr V during a period where we were living in different parts of Europe.  I was in Spain, he was in England.  Sarong is a Malaysian word and the Spanish word for sarong is pareo, but for years I've called this bright, colourful sarong with its naive tropical floral print "the Gauguin".  In my time living in Spain it would faithfully accompany me to the beach.  Whenever I wore it, my girlfriends would tell me that I reminded them of one of those Tahitian women that Gauguin was so fond of painting and it earned me the nickname "La Gauguin".

I have an irrational fondness for this sarong as it reminds me of those times.  I might have been dealing with the upheaval and solitude that comes with a long distance relationship but I was never alone.  In fact I was surrounded by amazing and wonderful women all hours of the day.  We shared flats, cooked meals together, ate together and hauled ourselves to and from hours of flamenco classes daily.  And in the summer we would all pile into a car together after our classes and drive to the coast to plunge beneath the waves and cool off.  After a long swim I would wrap myself in the Gauguin and sleep on the sand as the sun went down, listening to the banter of my friends drifting away on the late evening sea breeze.  And then we would do it all again the next day.

If there is one thing I am sure to pack whenever I return to Spain it is the Gauguin.  It reminds me of being younger, more energetic, of more carefree times with friends.  Of being drenched in art from the minute you woke up to the time you went to sleep and throughout your dreams.

Can clothes really make us feel like works of art?  A strip of printed cloth certainly isn't going to bring back my youth but I can wrap it around me at the beach and fondly remember that I was once compared to a work of art whilst wearing it.  And at the beach at least one can shrug off any preconceptions of what age appropriate clothing is.  All are welcome here and there is only so much variation on the theme of what we can wear swimming and sunbathing, whatever our age.  That's why I love the coast so much.  The beach is a great levelling plain on fashion, age and body image related matters.

I am packing the Gauguin tonight as tomorrow I am heading to Spain for a badly needed break.  I'm even choosing to miss out on attending London Fashion Week - that is how much I need this break!  I'll be taking a simultaneous break from blogging too as I've been burning the candle at both ends lately and need a rest from all things computer related.  Will catch up with you all when I get back.


  1. I am transported immediately to Gauguin's Tahiti seeing this photo (of you?). Enjoy decompressing in Spain and immersing yourself in art. I hope you get to dance or watch some flamenco. (I will also be off to NYC towards month end and will catch some contemporary ballet, and hopefully take dance class, while I am there. )

  2. I can totally understand the nickname you gave the sarong and the nickname you earned by wearing it. I love the line about curling up in the sand under the sarong. I own a couple, but nothing as nice as this. Have a good break.

  3. You make your fond memories of Spain with La Gauguin sound heavenly. Sod LFW, Spain is the go for you my dear - way better for the soul. Yes clothing can make us feel like walking works of art, I feel like I'm in a movie everyday;)). While the beach is the place where we show off our physical womanhood - all shapes and sizes, we are human and all need to cool off in the healing salt water and feel the sand beneath our feet. There's no age-appropriate as we're all wearing next to nothing. Enjoy your well-deserved break my dear. xoxoxo

  4. Have a brilliant holiday. You're right about the beach being a great levelling plain. I love it when I'm on holiday (particularly in Europe) and there are whole families together, having fun: whatever they're wearing. And you can catch up on Fashion Week when you get back.

  5. Enjoy Spain!
    And how perfect is the sarong!! I can totally see why you got the nickname! :)

  6. How wonderfu: la Gauguin...
    Disfruta de tus vacaciones. Todavía hace calorcito, así es que VIVE LA VIDA A TOPE!!!

  7. You do look like a work of art in that picture, V! It's absolutely stunning the beach, your beautiful hair and bod and the Gaugin).
    I love the beach, I never understand why so many women get all in a tizz before a holiday, we're all too busy having fun to care about wobbles or age inappropriate clothing.
    Have the most wonderful time. I hope that sunshine and sea air recharges your frazzled batteries. xxx

  8. Have a wonderful holiday, I wish I was going with you! xx

  9. I love hearing stories behind clothes. Its so much more interesting. Im glad I rediscovered your blog but now Im wondering how I stopped reading in the 1st place. Silly Me!

  10. I hope you have a good break. I wanted to tell you at the IFB Conference at NYC I had a chance to chat with Katy of Modly Chic who started the Friend Friday. I told her I followed your blog and always found your answers so wonderful to read. She agreed with me that you are a great thoughtful writer! Have a nice rest and I will see you when you get back! XO, Jill

  11. That is uncanny that you're posting this, V. I wish - I had wanted to, but we couldn't - that we were spending this week in Spain, as we usually did this time of year - my birthday week.

    I'm listening to the moment of silence now for 9.11.

    Like you, I need a break from blogging. I applaud your decision not to attend fashion week, and even though I won't be leaving London, I do intend to really tone down my presence there. As I type this, I'm watching the Memorial Ceremony at Ground Zero. If you ever get a chance, if you see my post ('in memory') you'll see why it is so uncanny that you did this post two days ago.

    You've probably left already, but either way, I send you wishes for a safe trip and a much deserved holiday, with your lovely Mr. V.

    We'll meet someday - I hope. xox

  12. I'm not sure if I wrote my comment - if I published it - but I want to wish you a safe trip - it's uncanny that it's Spain that you're going to. It's where we were this time ten years ago - and where I had wanted to be now.

    I love what you wrote, by the way, about wrapping a scarf around you and remembering being compared to a work of art. What a poignant, beautiful memory. To be that loved.

  13. I'll take Spain any day, it's completely beautiful. This Gauguin is as artful as this post... I'm wishing you an entirely tranquil holiday. You will be so rejuvenated upon your return! -xo

  14. Have a relaxing and restorative vacation. I can relate to items of clothing triggering memories. The Gauguin is a beauty!

  15. Have a brilliant time in Spain--you deserve all the relaxation and dancing you can fit into the hours. The sarong is stunning; Gauguin certainly does come to mind. Best of health and beauty to you!

  16. Just beautiful, both La Gauguin and the sentiment. Isn't it divine the power of memories from something as simple as a sarong? Enjoy your break, I'll be checking back in a little while to hopefully find you well rested and rejuvenated.
    xo, f
    The House in the Clouds

  17. Such a beautiful picture and post to boot. I love Gauguin xx


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