In a blog posted October 5, 2015, a reference was made to an ongoing pursuit of the Giulietta Loretta Shoe — a style similar to the one described in IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes. Update: the elusive beauty has been acquired. Thank you Ebay, for making this girlie-girl’s day. The question now becomes: should I dye it FUCHSIA, to match the one in the novel?
FRANCIS LANOO has a thing for lovely-sounding words (and for those that use them well). Check out some of her favourite English-language sweet-sounders:
A plant of the buttercup family, possessing colorful showy flowers.
CLANDESTINE [klan-DES-tin] Done in secret.
CYNOSURE [SIN-uh-shoor] A focal point of admiration.
DALLIANCE [DAL-ee-uh ns] A brief love affair.
DEMURE [dih-MYOO R] Shy and reserved.
EBULLIENCE [ih-BUHL-yuh ns] Bubbling enthusiasm.
EVANESCENT [ev-uh-NES-un nt] Vanishing quickly; lasting a very short time.
Something extremely light or delicate; a spider’s silk.
HALCYON [HAL-see-uh n] Happy, sunny, carefree.
INGENUE [AN-zhuh-noo] A naïve young woman.
INGLENOOK [ING-guh l-noo k]
A cozy spot beside a fire.
LABYRINTHINE [lab-uh-RIN-theen] Twisting and turning.
LILT [lilt] To move musically.
LISSOME [LIS-uh m] Slender and graceful.
MELLIFLUOUS [muh-LIF-loo-uh s] Sweet sounding, pleasing to the ear.
Artwork combining materials from various sources; hodgepodge.
PLETHORA [PLETH-er-uh] A large quantity.
QUIESCENT [kwee-ES-uh nt] Being still or quiet.
SCINTILLA [sin-TIL-uh] A spark, or very small thing.
And not to be forgotten, for reasons explained in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes: WHEREWITHAL [HWAIR-with-awl] The means with which to accomplish something..
To the many other slick wordsmiths out there: Are there other English-language-lovelies that Francie ought to insert in her vocabulary?
They’re quirky, unique, cute-as-a-button and …. fingers crossed … hurt-less. And they’re on FRANCE LANOO’s WISHLIST OF SUMMER-2016 SHOES. Check them out:
FENDI flowery sandal: a statement shoe suitable for a girlie-girl brunch on a street-side patio, or an artsy garden party at the quirky home of an eccentric acquaintance.
Side Note: a blue mini-dress and cherry red lipstick would be exceptional complements to this stand-out style.
ACNE STUDIOS nude leather bootie with a knock-out futuristic heel: a sleek style suitable for attending a work-related event in a heavily air-conditioned room, or an outdoor social engagement on an unusually cool summer day.
Side Note: remember to slip on a pair of thin socks underneath, for some added warmth.
MARNI multi-material slingback sandals: an every-day work shoe well-suited when desiring to add pizzazz to a pair of jeans or simple black capris.
Side Note: do they, or do they not, scream, ” You gotta love me”?
CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTION white slip-on sneaker: a weekend walk-in-the-park shoe easily made snazzy by attaching some gold or silver bling.
Side Note: best worn with a translucent metallic tank-top and a super-cute pair of geometric-print short-shorts.
CHANEL clear booties: stylish and cute, and suitable for rainy-day-running, all around the city.
Side Note: a clear umbrella would be a nice all-in-the-family touch.
CHRISTIAN DIOR formal pump with buckled ankle ties: suitably worn to a chi-chi black-tie event, or a runway fashion show. All eyes will be on them.
Side Note: the accompanying evening dress needs to terminate well above the knee, to ensure that nothing interferes with an onlooker’s view to the shoe.
MANSUR GAVRIEL pink slip-ons: for those days when comfort is of the utmost priority, and added height is a close second.
Side Note: this shoe is produced in MANY different colors, so owning more than one pair is worth considering. Pick your pleasure.
TORY BURCH fringed black sandal: for that ‘bridge-gap’ or ‘transitional’ fashion situation, e.g. dressing something casual UP, or dressing something flashy DOWN.
Side Note: this shoe style works equally well in a country-western atmosphere … should the wind unexpectedly blow the wearer in that direction.
GUCCI turquoise chiseled-heeled Arielle dress shoe: suitable for a client meeting that involves walking all of six flights of stairs, or the catching of an airline flight that is located at the furthest possible terminal gate.
Side Note: floral ankle socks would make for a prissy accessory.
PROENZA SCHOULER striped-heel sexy evening shoe: for Date Night with a hottie that pays attention to details.
Side Note: a gal could wear a plastic-bag dress with these shoes and still make a favorable impression.
MUI MUI embellished-heel ankle strap sandal in the color ‘nude’: for any outing–morning, afternoon or evening– with a bunch of girlie-girl gal-pals.
Side Note: dark plum toenail polish is a ‘must’ with this one.
LOUIS VUITTON army boots: for knocking on the door of the apartment dweller one floor above, to mention that his bagpipe playing every night between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. is making you CRAZY.
Side Note: for added effect, wear an outfit of camo.
Quick shoe-question of the day: what stunners are on your footwear wish-list for the summer of 2016?
In response to a few readers forwarding cute illustrations linking fairytales to footwear, and a few others wondering if the IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes‘ cover art is intended to suggest a Cinderella parallel, I revisited the story of that femme fatale’s oppression and subsequent stroke of good luck, and couldn’t help but wonder how the saga is currently being perceived by the latest generation of readers.
Given today’s reality–that young impressionable female minds are constantly being told they have the power to control their own destiny … and that girls’ aspirations are, in most civilized societies, no longer affected by their chromosome make-up–I suspect that modern-day takes on this centuries-old saga are far more skeptical than those of previous generations. How could they not be, when it’s common knowledge that Prince Charmings are rare if not mythical, that glass shoes are in no way comfortable, and that mice should not be welcomed indoors even if they are amazing seamstresses.
For curiosity’s sake, I put myself in the shoes of Francie Lanoo (the quirky, modern-day, artsy lead character in IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes) and considered whether or not the notion of Cinderella’s happy ending held any appeal. This led to Cinderella’s Wikipedia page, and the discovery that there are many versions of the story, each from a different country and era … including The Little Glass Slipper (England), Centerentola (Italy), La Petite Pantoufle de verre (French), and Rhodopis (early Greece) … and that the plots vary significantly. For example, in one, Cinderella visits the palace three nights in a row and plays hard to get on the first two … which was a strategic move because it no doubt gave her time to make sure the guy was ‘ligit”. In another, Cinderella scores the prince and, afterward, witnesses the doves that made her fancy dress picking the eyes out of her two stepsisters, leaving them blind and hideous (yikes, I can see why Disney steered clear of that one). In yet another, Cinderella is depicted as the child of her father’s first wife (so she’s a stepchild to him, too) and sees her father play an active role in humiliating her, no doubt leaving her with some serious long-term daddy issues.
Last but not least came the most entertaining version of the centuries-old story, a fractured fairytale entitled Chickerella, written by Mary Jane & Herman Auch. It opens under a familiar pretence–with Chickerella’s dad making a poor 2nd-marriage choice, disappearing without explanation, and leaving his daughter with a wicked stepmother and two stepclucker-siblings–but goes down a different road altogether when the prince meets Chickerella, expresses no interest whatsoever in marriage, and alternatively, becomes infatuated with her unique style and suggests they go into the fashion business together. A fun twist, right?
Loveable about this version are the multitude of fowl puns, the loud-and-clear message that pursuing one’s own dreams is the true key to happiness, and the ambiguous ending that allows the reader’s imagination to choose whatever happily-ever-after they so desire. Maybe the prince and Chickerella, after a few years of working side by side, do become crazy-mad lovebirds (pardon the pun) and blissfully wed in a grand ballroom. Or maybe the prince and Chickerella’s careers become the priority, but because they both want to be parents, they arrange to lay an egg together and go through life as non-married co-parents. Or maybe Chickerella recognizes that she’s the one with all of the talent, so she orchestrates a hostel takeover of the fashion company, and banishes the prince back to his mundane princely duties. In Francie Lanoo’s version, likely the grand finale would feature the happy couple doing the Chicken Dance under the stars on a warm tropical beach, wearing super-snazzy Chickerella-designed high-heeled web-toed shoes that suit them perfectly. And as icing on the cake, she would feature a woven hammock, strung between two trees, in a secluded spot nearby.
Which leads me to a query: if you were asked to write a story involving a poor persecuted heroine who–by twist of fate–receives the good fortune she deserves, what would its 2016 ultimate ending be?
Francie Lanoo relays several holiday-related experiences throughout her decade-long adventure in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes: the starry-night photo-centric first Christmas spent with Berkeley; the mistletoe-focused, sneaking-around second Christmas spent with Berkeley; the sad return-home-for-the-holidays when she’s no longer dating Berkeley; the family-vacation holidays in tropical destinations that turn home for the holidays into a memory. Throughout her sentimental holiday dialogue, she strongly implies that what makes the holidays special is the company you keep, and that it doesn’t matter where the holiday festivities take place because home is where the heart is.
Beyond the novel’s end, it goes without saying that this mushy-quirky-artsy character would have a beloved list of holiday traditions, all of which she would celebrate no matter where on earth she might be. And though the list might see some add-ons and tweaks as the years pass, the spirit of the occasion would be felt in each and every one.
FRANCIE LANOO’S Holiday Must-Do’s:
- A Christmas tree covered with sparkly lights, bobble-garland, happy hearts and whimsical/quirky shoe ornaments. Side note: in all likelihood, there’s a matching wreath hanging on the front door.
- Homemade baking displayed fancifully on tiered cake stands, featuring: sugar cookies, shortbread, butter tarts, coconut macaroons, gingerbread cookies, Pizelles, Russian teacakes (to remind her of a favorite hang-out in NYC), and pistachio biscotti (to remind her of a favorite hang-out in Florence, Italy).
- A movie night, featuring films like The Family Stone, The Princess Bride, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, Planes Trains and Automobiles, The Holiday and Love Actually.
- Gifts carefully created from her own hand: uplifting paintings, tree ornaments, personalized puzzles made from family photographs, and knitted scarves (as she attempts to acquire her mother’s handiwork skill).
- Bubbly cold champagne: mixed with orange juice and cranberries when served at brunch, mixed with strawberries and a side of dark chocolate when served in the evening.
- Candle illumination everywhere, some scented with pine, some scented with champagne.
- Background music playing throughout her waking hours: songs like I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Wonderful Christmas Time, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), and A Holly Jolly Christmas.
- Night after night of fancy dress-up, including remarkable shoes.
- Lots of photo taking—a practice taught to her by someone special—in order to preserve the memory of life’s best moments.
- The hanging of Mistletoe, to carry on the late-night shenanigans that commenced in Foot Note Twenty.
Out of curiosity, are any of Francie’s Top Ten in synch with your holiday traditions?
Do you have a Holiday Top Ten List of your own that you’d like to share?
Whatever you do to celebrate, may you smile often.
Happy New Year!
There’s a lot of fashion talk going on in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that it’s written from the first-person perspective of the fashion-centric, expressionistic, artsy-girl Francie Lanoo. Woven into that chit-chat is the notion that the protagonist’s wardrobe choices are influenced by a variety of external factors—peer pressure, fashion school, world travel, and, of course, her greatest admirer, Berkeley Mills—and that how she appears in the mirror directly affects how she feels when she walks out the door. The ongoing rhetoric serves to impart an important life message to readers: that life choices (clothing included) should be about pleasing oneself, and not about pleasing someone else. It’s an issue that, for the most part, is about self-confidence … particularly as it pertains to young women caught up in the world of fashion … but because I’m not an expert on it, I would direct those interested in more in-depth information to the currently 816,000 Google articles linking clothing to emotional state of mind.
To travel down a more lighthearted road on this subject, I’ve chosen to depict Francie’s style coming-of-age by interpreting the written word of IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes into tangible wardrobe selections. In doing so, I’ve factored in Francie’s quirky character, her love of all things artsy, her self-awareness of her body type, and her presumed fashion crushes—1960’s Mary Quant, early 1970’s Carnaby Street, Audrey Hepburn and Victoria Beckham (which … because I’m the decider … happen to be my own).
If nothing else, I hope the exercise takes people down the memory lane of their own fashion history and transformation. It certainly reminded me of the numerous fashionable skeletons from my closet.
FOOT NOTE TWO: The bell-sleeved mini at the school dance. The look is daring, attention seeking, and totally influenced by peer pressure (a.k.a. Francie’s best friend, Phoebe). Even Francie knows she has stepped outside of her comfort zone, thinking: If my father were to see me looking this enhanced, he’d nail every door and window of the house shut.
Photo Credit: http://www.polyvore.com.
FOOT NOTE SIX: The Valentine’s Day overcoat (but picture it a little bit longer) accompanied by a pair of unique patent pink gloves. The look is delectable (as per her intention), cute-as-a-button, and flirty. No wonder the night ends the way it does.
Photo Credit: http://www.thefashioncuisine.com.
FOOT NOTE TWENTY-ONE: The space-aged outfit worn on Francie’s first New Year’s Eve Party (in the novel, it’s silver pants), influenced by having spent a semester among a wealth of fashionista classmates, and in the very fashion-centric Florence, Italy. The look is way-out-there, square-peg-in-a-round-hole in her conservative hometown, and the kick-start of Francie’s growing away from her roots.
Photo Credit: www.mintagevintage.com.
Ironically, it didn’t get appreciated by the person meant to please.
Photo Credit: JarloAriashopstyle.co.uk.
FOOT NOTE TWENTY-SIX: The monochromatic outfit worn home from Italy after having spent a full year there. It’s chichi, fashionably European, and an indicator that Francie is beginning to understand what works for her boyish, petite body.
Photo Credit: 36.media.tumblr.com.
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-THREE: The off-the-shoulder short dress worn to the high school graduation in Florence, Italy. The look is unadorned, subdued and a bit tame for Francie … an accurate reflection of her deflated and somber mood that day. Perhaps, the warm color was an attempt to sooth her aching heart.
Photo Credit: J Mendel
FOOT NOTE THIRTY-FIVE: The strapless beaded mini-dress worn to the high school graduation in Riverly Heights. The look is bubbly, free-spirited, and effervescent … well suited to Francie’s upturned mood. All that’s missing in this pic is that stunning corsage.
Photo Credit: www.kissydress.co.uk.
It’s uninhibited, uncharacteristic, and outright provocative … part of Francie’s experimental fashion phase brought on by the extroverted new guy in her life, Mr. Vale.
Photo Credit: GQ Magazine
FOOT NOTE FIFTY: The halter gown worn for Francie’s college graduation dance in NYC. The look is classic, flattering and elegant … and fits her like a glove (which is not surprising since she self-designed it as part of her design school curriculum).
The cold dark blue color is a reflection of her despondency and self-loathing on that very messed-up day.
Photo Credit: www.lookastic.com.
The look is monochromatic, understated, and dictated by her employer … yet it’s every bit as striking as her other wardrobe pieces.
Photo Credit: www.somarthasomary.ca
FOOT NOTE FIFTY-ONE: A collection of outfits worn for her entry-level designer position in New York, after having spent a year living in London. The looks are very UK influenced, chipper, and suggestive that she has emotionally turned a corner. Bye, Bye, Basic Black. Photo Credit: http://www.kaylazkloset.com.
FOOT NOTES FIFTY-TWO through FIFTY-SEVEN: A collection of Francie outfits while moving up the ladder in the fashion industry. The looks are flattering, sophisticated, and leading edge … a strong indicator that she has finally slipped into her meant-to-be groove. Photo Credit: www.firstavenuemagazine.com.
The look is super-stylish, eye-catching and indicative of her newfound self-assuredness. It seems to combines all of the influences to date.
Photo Credit: www.thefashiontag.com
The look is comfortable, confident, and seeking of no one’s approval but Francie’s own. It took a decade, but she has clearly come into her own.
Photo Credit: www.fashiongum.com.
These examples cover only a sampling of the wardrobe described in the novel. If anyone would like to offer suggestions for some of Francie’s other outfits—especially the swimsuit worn in FOOT NOTE SEVEN, the birthday outfit in FOOT NOTE FIFTEEN, the makeshift raincoat in FOOT NOTE FORTY-THREE—feel free to do some posting.
According to http://www.dictionary.com, a COLLECTOR is a person that accumulates, and a HOARDER is a person that accumulates for preservation and/or future use. Both appear to be rooted in acquisitiveness, so how do you know when the venerable 1930’s Vintage Flex drinking straw has broken the camel’s back, and sent you to the dark side?
Like Francie Lanoo, the lead character in the novel IF NOT 4 U and Some Shoes (a collector of shoes, mementoes, London trinkets, and some inherited lovelies that I won’t elaborate on or I’ll give away part of the plot), I like to accumulate. Full confession, I have a total of four pursuits on the go, and can’t see myself saying, “enough is enough” to any of them (why would I, when they all make me so happy?) This list includes:
Depression Era Glass (pictured above): brightly colored, oddly shaped, ornate plates, goblets, and serving dishes that I often use as mismatched table settings.
Original Artwork: which I began purchasing as soon as I started earning an income … that has pretty much covered every wall and every horizontal surface in my home to the extent that I’m now contemplating securing pieces to the ceilings so I can display more.
Hearts: including both natural ones like a leaf of arugula (NO, I don’t keep the actual leaf, I keep a photo record of it), and fabricated ones like paperweights and jewelry.
Mementoes With Significance (good and bad): like a Spanish red-leather portfolio given to me by someone special that reminds me of all the good in the world, and a tiny diamond stud earring given to me by someone psychotic that reminds me of all the bad in the world.
All under one roof, these possessions do amount to a lot of stuff. So, should I be worried? Umm, let’s see. According to an article entitled What’s the Difference between Hoarding and Collecting posted by TLC, obsessive hoarding is a mental health condition that falls under the realm of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), with three telltale signs that an individual’s ‘accumulation’ has gone too far:
- An inability to discard objects.
- An impaired ability to function due to the hoarding.
- A cluttered living space that has become so filled with objects that it can’t be used effectively.
Assuming that these three conditions are the tell-all, how do I measure up?
- Yes, I have an inability to discard my objects. In fact, I can see myself, one day, renting an off-site storage container to accommodate what my home can’t.
- No, I am not in any way functionally impaired by the collections’ existence. Rather, I believe I’m enhanced and happier as a result of them.
- No, my living space is not cluttered. Quite the contrary; I maintain my favored minimalist interior aesthetic simply by stuffing closets to the brim.
Because I have answered yes to only one of the symptoms, I’m going to go out on a limb and diagnose myself as NOT being a hoarder. Which is good to know, because my glass collection is lacking in Dell Glass Company Tulip pieces, in the color amethyst.
To any fellow accumulators out there reading this blog. I’m curious. What is your pursuit, and what is your diagnosis: COLLECTOR or HOARDER?