Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rennie Mackintosh, Garden Purples, and a Riot of Pastels

I've never owned pastel pants but my recent success with pastels has made me bold. I thought it would be fun to wear lavender jeans for a change. As it turns out, change is good: my riot of purple and pink made me see my garden with new eyes, and also recalled to me my recently discovered love of the Arts and Crafts artist, Rennie Mackintosh. Bear with me; I'll explain in good time.

Speaking of bears, even our bears are getting in on the pastel action, all on their own picking two of my pink brooches to enjoy for a while. (Beau, as usual, swears he had nothing to do with it.)

I bought my pastel jeans several weeks ago and wanted to wear them right away but the weather wasn't cooperating. It was hot and sunny for a long time, not the weather for long pants, no matter how pale. On the day these fabo earrings arrived in the mail, it was finally cool and rainy, and the earrings just screamed to be paired with the jeans, so this outfit finally came to life.

Shoes: Tsubo; Jeans and top: Reitman's; Purse: Ingledew's; Jacket, hat, brooch, earrings, and bracelet: vintage

The rain may have cooled the day for the jeans but it was not conducive to good photos: I kept blinking, shutting my eyes, and ruffling my brows and forehead as the drops fell on my face, so I've got a lot of photographs like this. But we're all used to stuff like that here. How else would we get the abundance of life you see behind me?

I paired the slacks and earrings with this swirly top which gave a bit of darkness to an otherwise very light outfit. At the last minute, I grabbed this replica of a Rennie Mackintosh glass panel form my shelves simply because it matched my outfit so well. Sal gave it to me many years ago, before I'd ever heard of Rennie Mackintosh, though I had, by then heard of and fallen in love with the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At a time when men were wearing stiff collars, top hats, and tightly tailored suits, Mackintosh dressed like this. I'm quite sure he would have approved of my own play and experimentation with fashion. His wife, also a noted Arts and Crafts artist, was also an experimental dresser. As far as I can tell from her photographs, she didn't even wear corsets! Shocking, I know.

I wouldn't say that Mackintosh was my outfit muse for the day, but grabbing this little panel did make me look at my outfit and my garden a bit differently.

Last year, Beau and I had no idea what we were doing with our new garden. Although it bore many signs that it had once been deeply loved and well cared for, it had become patchy and, quite frankly, kind of ugly. With complete ignorance, we planted a few things here and there, did some weeding, moved a few things... and it still looked awful.

But this year, everything is springing up and filling out most beautifully. It's amazing. The bees are absolutely thrilled. We didn't plan it this way but we find ourselves with a garden full of purples and pinks. We're both quite happy about this, though we do plan to branch out next year. (Our project this year had been planning and paying for our upcoming wedding.)

Judging from a great deal of Mackintosh's art, I think he too would have been happy with the purples and pinks of our garden.

All that purple just happened to match my outfit perfectly. It was very pleasant to notice this continuity between myself and my garden.

I think this too might have suited Mackintosh. When I look at this piece, I think even the rain of the day would have been okay by him. Sometimes muted beauty is wonderful.

Coincidentally, the colours in this Mackintosh piece are pretty much a perfect match to the colours of our wedding decorations. But add cedar, lots of cedar, provided by the room itself. This is the west coast, after all. It's going to be beautiful.

The rain necessitated both a hat and a jacket, which was, for me, was just another excuse to be creative.

I'm sharing this post with the incredibly sophisticated Style Crone's Hat Attack, so I'm embarrassed to admit that I completely forgot to use a lint brush on the hat, a mistake no cat owner should ever make.

It's really not a very nice hat. I got it second hand and then left it in the sun too long which faded it in uneven patches. Thus the uneven colour. Add the cat hair and, well, I don't think the Style Crone would approve! Oh well. You can't really see any of these faults from a distance.

People often comment with some amazement that I'm always very coordinated. They seem to think that such a level of coordination requires some secret talent that they lack. Odd, that. Sometimes I worry that I'm too matchy-matchy, as Oprah would say, but head to toe coordination is too much fun to resist.

I even picked my reading glasses because they matched my shirt. I think I'm going to end up with collections of reading glasses and canes to rival my brooch collection!

Harmonies of colour, tone, texture, and shape please me.

Mackintosh wouldn't have had a problem with that. He designed every element of Hill House so that each element of it was in harmony with every other element. Notice the pink roses on the lights. They were practically his trademark, showing up in slight variations in much of his work.

This glass rose panel is a replica of one that was originally part of a desk ...

... very similar to this one. Wouldn't you just love to sit down at this desk and write an old-fashioned, hand-written letter?

Mackintosh would probably also have been okay with my riot of pastels.

See what I mean? This is another room in Hill House.

My pastel pink, leather jacket was another matchy-match element of my outfit. I got it at a thrift store for $70 and spent as much again on getting it cleaned, but it was worth it. Not only did the cleaner clean it beautifully, but he also brought it back to its original colour, removing streaks and stains, and seems to have "reblocked" it (or whatever its called) so its original shape is more apparent.

I love how it nips in at the waist and the small of my back to accentuate my curves. Now it does so even when it's not zipped up.

Finally, a note about the hair: This side-sweep was entirely for Beau's benefit, not Mackintosh's. Beau's always telling me how great my hair would look if I wore it like this, and he brushes it this way when he's brushing my hair. I often object. But, just to please him, I tossed my hair over to one side when I took off my hat. I must admit that he's right: It does look good like this.

My main motivation in pulling it back was to show off my earrings which are drowned by my hair, especially since it's quite long these days.

When Beau's right, he's right. I will indeed wear my hair like this again, perhaps with an early 90s outfit? Stay tuned.

(I'm sharing this at Happiness at Mid Life and with Patti's Visible Mondays.)


  1. Your purple hat is well loved! I highly approve of wearing hats that express how they have participated in your life. It gives them a certain patina. Thank you so much for sharing with Hat Attack!

  2. Your garden is lovely and you are its biggest bloom. Thanks for introducing me to Rennie Mackintosh. Gosh his stuff is lovely, and I am inspired by his suit :-)
    You look great in pants for a change, and those lavender ones are cute. I too am constantly being told about my matchiness. Maybe people who notice colour are prone to this?
    Your hat makes me feel at home. I'm always posting without ironing and removing fluff! And the shape on you is amazing! I love it with the brooch and it looks entirely practical in the rain. I love a brimmed hat to keep rain off my glasses.
    I say yes to a collection of reading glasses and canes. How flamboyant!
    Your bears are too cute and remind me of fun Bushy and I had with our bears when we met. Now we have moved on to a drawing mannequin and a glow in the dark skeleton, that we find in the strangest places! :-D xo Jazzy Jack

  3. This pink jacket is fab!! I am so glad you shared it with me. I have never worn pink and purple but love the combo!


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion linkup.