I didn’t come to see trunks when I went to see the Olga Picasso exhibition in Paris’ Musée Picasso, beautifully situated in an hôtel particulier in the Marais, Paris’ oldest quarter, one of these elegant mansions, châteaux to go so to speak, family mansions shrunk to fit into Paris, like Levi’s 501s in the 1980s, but Olga’s fabulous trunk by Goyard, exhibited on a par with Picasso’s paintings, struck me nonetheless. I can’t say that I liked it more than the stunning portraits Pablo did of her and their son Paul in the 1920s when they lived on rue de la Boétie, but it was the only object in the exhibition I took three photos of. Three! I therefore declare Goyard trunks works of art and give you all three photos – and some of the café on top of the Picasso museum (just because it’s such a great place to have a coffee). Picasso’s famous portraits, well, I leave them to the others, all these people less interested in art and coffee.
I have a thing for green things. First of all British racing green. And then trees of course. Especially the evergreen ones. Or when they insist on losing their leaves, the ivy covered ones, totally overgrown by this special sort of ivy with these beautifully pompous big leaves, blossoming in late summer, attracting flies and bees and wasps and all kinds of little flying things, I just love that, but I think I digress, actually I wanted to talk about my green briefcases. I bought both of them only because they were green. Taiga green the first one. Louis Vuitton. Bought it in 2000 in Hamburg. I remember that, quite idiotically, I had to take a taxi to make it on time to Hamburg’s Louis Vuitton store on Neuer Wall before closing time as I couldn’t wait another day for that briefcase. It’s turning 17 this year and, as it will soon leave me for some Ivy League college, I had to find a replacement. This time I had to travel to Paris – Zurich, however grand the Swiss love to think it is, has no Goyard store – and went directly to 352, rue Saint-Honoré where I picked their Senat clutch, while some cute dog and his mistress were trying on a variety of collars. For some odd reasons my credit cards weren’t working on that day, overstraining maybe, so I had to pay in cash, more embarrassingly so as the local ATM on rue Saint-Honoré spilled out nothing but small notes, really small notes, twenty euro notes, do you know how many twenty euro notes it takes to pay for a green Goyard Senat clutch? Lots of them, vast amounts, believe you me. Anyway, my clutch and I had a coffee on rue de Rivoli afterwards and have been inseparable ever since. Where is it actually? I think my lighter is still in it.
This February, Mousey and I went to Paris, I in my Balmain caban, he in his Sonia Rykiel-ish outfit, stuck somewhere inside, not compromising my military allure, representing the Swiss battalion of the Balmain Army, we went goose-stepping through the streets of my favourite town, starting in the Marais, ignoring the cold and the endless drizzle, but rather enjoying emptied side-walks, no bumping into tourists when they suddenly stop to take selfies, just some slim silhouettes of Parisians, slim as their black umbrellas, crossing the river to get via Île St.Louis to Saint-Germain, and crossing it again to get to the Tuileries, admiring their elegant tristesse on such a day, void of flowers, colours and people, the Louvre’s glorious façades and rooftops just in front of you, the Musée d’Orsay on your right, on the other bank of the Seine, an architectural ensemble you find nowhere else in the world, breathing it all in while stepping over puddle after puddle, to get to Galignani’s on rue de Rivoli, the best bookstore in the world.
One thing, however, I took no account of. My lactose intolerance. After all those cafés au lait I had to warm up from the cold, my stomach became bloated. All of a sudden, I was nine months pregnant. The military shape of my jacket was gone, not only did I look like I had no self-control, I lost one of my buttons, it just popped off my jacket, the one moment I forgot to tuck my belly in when admiring Goyard’s window display. But hell, it was worth it. The French know how to make a good coffee.