I have an imaginary friend who loves to lie in bed and ramble on about his past, he’s called Marcel Proust, and an imaginary foe who bores me to death, he’s called Charles Foster Kane. Tonight, they both inspired me to bother you with this sequel, some kind of photographic rambling on, a post photum rather than a post scriptum, but there were still pictures from my past, of my mind’s Swiss materialization that I hadn’t yet shown you. The selection has no theme, it’s just a potpourri of my favourite places, happy memories, eclectically put together subjects of beauty, just like all the stuff that this rosebud fanatic Mr Kane had put together at Xanadu, you are familiar with Citizen Kane, aren’t you? I never understood this film, really, call me a cinephobic if you must, but as far as Mr Kane’s sense for beauty and idyllic magnificence goes, this I get. Judge for yourselves.
After the war, when fashion was given the New Look by Christian Dior, the world was given Robert Doisneau as a society and fashion photographer when Michel de Brunhoff, the editor in chief of Vogue Paris, had the brilliant idea to hire him. I had not known about this collaboration and would never have seen the splendid photographs that illustrate post war Parisian high society life, I would only have known of his famous shot of the kissing couple in front of Paris’ Hôtel de Ville, I had the poster in my kitchen for crying out loud, if Flammarion hadn’t published this wonderful book. It shows it all: aristocratic weddings, parties, receptions, men in tails, women in ball gowns, the rich and famous, elegant home stories, restaurants filled with celebrities, Hélène Rochas, Jacques Fath, Jean Cocteau, Orson Welles and Elsa Maxwell, all in black and white and not once do you miss a single colour. Robert Doisneau captures it all in shades of grey. Don’t you dare buy it and let it gather dust on your coffee table, open it, let your eyes travel and take the most wonderful journey back in time.