My Paris dream happened every spring. It was just this year that I knew I no longer had it.
Walking through Central Park tonight, the romance of light is clear and golden–the weather is pure, with an airy touch and faint smells. I’m going to see Paris Can Wait, at The Paris Theater, dressed in this lace outfit you see above. Completely absorbed in this lulling spirit, with internal calm and centered, I’m in it.
The Paris is worn and loved. Moss green, velvet seats with faded backs wear the impression of all those who sunk in to feel something, learn or be entertained. Only one movie is featured at The Paris, for several weeks. The world there revolves around it, given to it. It is the last surviving single-screen cinema in Manhattan. The opening promotions and previews speak to fashion, art, and often intelligent thought. Tonight, I’m expecting a charming, light, dreamy film.
Paris Can Wait stars Diane Lane—the plum-aged woman’s Carrie Bradshaw. Her on-screen characters, like the women in Unfaithful, and Under the Tuscan Sun, pare down our desires and issues. In this latest romantic film, she plays Anne, a new empty-nester who isn’t seen by her self-absorbed-cum-caring husband. In a spontaneous move of self-preservation she catches a ride to Paris with her husband’s business partner, Jacques. They road trip in a classic, steel-blue Peugeot that’s been enjoyed into a worn, for real car, with an unreal pile of roses filling the backseat. The warmly-alluring Jacques awakens for Anne the down-to-earth pleasure of food, of gorgeous country sites he dusts with sweet, historical references, and the fulfillment of self-care and service to another. The images are the reel of my dream. Artful fantasy, sprinkled with realism, devoid of explanatory footnotes, Paris Can Wait is a lovely summer evening trip.
Dressing to the moments that bring context to our best life absorbs us into the scene. As I walked to the theater in jeans and lace, that could have come from a Paris flea market, the world seemed tender. Straddling sex, romance and religion, lace-making spread in the 17th century, as French priest John Francis Regis helped women out of prostitution, by training them in the lace trade. Though I’m attracted to lace, I don’t flirt easily with romantic style. It can be too sweet for me, needing a hit of acid for more subtle levels of flavor. Denim is that neutralizer to lace, and pairing it with tie-dye brings in a bohemian note.
Romantic, dark florals have been trending as the daring sister to English garden prints. Black patent leather has been summer’s darling since the 1960’s when it connected go-go boots to ladylike, kitten-heel slingbacks. Wear this for a night out, or on a rainy day so the dreary drops bead off your back.
Kimonos have gone from traditional, to fad, to classic. Endlessly flattering and exotic, they’re transportive and chic. Flowing here over a ladies-who-lunch knit, it mixes up the makings into a fresh fusion. Metal, geometric, big earrings (which are so hot this summer), combine with each piece to beat any style rut the individual ones could get into.
Especially this time of year I indulge in romancing passions, cafes, gardens, architecture, culture and style. Manhattan now entertains that mystical Paris place in my mind that fizzled away unnoticed these last years. Even so, Paris will be an eternal touchstone to a dreamy existence. But for now it can wait. (You know I had to.)
Photos: Dawn Bell Solich
Unedited Central Park photos–it looked like this IRL!