Strange how seemingly unrelated events sometimes coincide. There's never (at least as far as I remember) been a stranger and more unsettling time to be a foreigner in the UK or in my specific case a French person, a Parisienne, in London. I have no intentions of getting political here, I've shared my many, many thoughts about it all in other places and am trying to get to grips with the reality of it. I feel at home in London, have friends here and my little family. Most of the time, London suits me and I suit it (at least I think so, I haven't actually asked) even if we occasionally don't see eye-to-eye and I sometimes wish I could walk away. You know, like in any relationship: we have our ups and downs but ultimately work well together.
Of course I'm not the only Parisienne in town, no. There's another one, only that this one happens to be of Italian heritage. And it's not - strictly speaking - a 'she', but a chair from Calligaris. This perspex chair is modelled on the classic parisian bistro chair, hence the name Parisienne, and I had been tasked with taking it on a personal tour of London. Yes, you read right, I took a chair on a little outing around the city as I would any friend visiting. Of course it had to be "dressed" for each location. I mean, London is possibly the most tolerant city on the planet, but you still don't turn up dressed like a Sloan Ranger on Brick Lane, right? Then again, maybe you do, considering that 'pie crust' blouses are apparently making a comeback *shudders*...
Anyway, off we went then to Brick Lane and Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. This very multicultural part of London has such a vibrant atmosphere that it's always on my list of places to take any friends who are visiting. After much deliberation over the sheer choice of flowers, I bought some sunflowers from a vendor who had just about set up his stall - well, I was admittedly very early. We then made our way to the National Gallery for the more traditional art and the Millennium Bridge for the glorious views of St Paul's Cathedral where a nice gentleman with bright yellow shoes offered to model - yes, he stopped his walk to the cathedral and asked if I needed a model. With shoes like that, how could I possibly refuse? China Town was next with its cultural clash of yellow newspaper boxes and traditional red phone boxes followed by, of course, Carnaby Street. Being famous the world over for its association with the 'swinging London' of the 60s, music and fashion, it - at least back then - epitomised what London is all about. After all these venues, there was only one thing left: chill in Green Park for a little while before making my way back home past the art vendors on Piccadilly.
What can I say? Of course it's nicer to take an actual friend - you know, a walking, talking human being - on a tour like this, but it was fun to have a model (the chair) to put into the context of each location and of course the look on people's faces: what is she doing? Now we're back home where vintage meets modern, wood meets perspex and French meets Italian. They've settled nicely into the existing decor: one at my dressing table, one at my desk in the office.
Disclaimer: The Parisienne chairs have been gifted to me by Calligaris, however, all opinions, styling, photographs and words are my own.