London, Thursday, 6:00 p.m., and this shot was taken as we ran between two shows last February at London Fashion Week. There is always an unusual silence as we make our way between venues… sometimes it’s because I’m excited at what I’ve just witnessed and need to calm down a bit and process it before I can take in the next show, but mostly it’s because in between a bit of chatting, I’m trying to figure out where are we meant to be next? Are we even going the right way?
When I spotted these jacket(s) climbing the steep street in front of me for a brief moment I stopped…. should I rush up to its owner to inquire quietly? The idea made me feel anxious so I let her slip gently away from questions.
Yet the real challenge was that I could simply admire these back silhouettes of both of these jeckets from afar without knowing what the fronts looked like as they walked on and out of shot. What is that feeling? You know the one. It’s kind of like that feeling the French call L’esprit de l’escalier a combination of regret and remorse, an unrealized thought.
I’m sure you know it. It’s when you leave a room without having thought of a clever response to something witty someone else has said and then five seconds later the answer comes to you and suddenly you’re all Joan Rivers. Although maybe not because Joan would just turn around and walk back into that room, reply loudly and then leave (AGAIN).
The term L’esprit de l’escalier literally translated means “staircase words”… or in plain G language ‘thinking of something too late’. (In French houses in the past, parties were held on the first floor (the étage noble or the noble storey) and if one reached the ground floor via the stairs without having figured out a response to something witty said upstairs, it meant it was too late. You had officially left the party.)
We’ve come a long way since then, but not far enough (I should probably think that 70% of weekend tweets and texts are in response to that feeling of L’esprit de l’escalier). Of course while thinking about all of this, the ‘jackets’ walked on ahead. I would have had to have had a periscope, on a stepladder, on tiptoe, to see the backs again let alone the fronts quite frankly. I don’t even know if this title suits this blog post? It’s just the feelings I had when I saw these beautiful jackets. I think the picture says it all really.