The Comedians and I.

In the summer of 1980, after having visited friends of my parents in New York and San Francisco, my mother and I sent my father back off to Europe and continued our journey to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where we stayed at the Grand Hotel Oloffson, a 19th-century Gothic gingerbread mansion, set in a lush tropical garden, a place once described as the darling of the theatre people, the literary set and newspaper men. And a literary place it was indeed. The moment we sat down on the Hotel’s beautiful porch to have a cold drink, we were directly transported into a novel, all of a sudden we were part of the set of Graham Greene’s The Comedians. None other than Petit Pierre approached us, ever so elegantly, just like in the book, wearing a fine double-breasted suit despite the Caribbean summer heat, his perfectly knotted tie seemed to be mocking the indolent temperatures, a walking cane with a silver knob gave him even more grandezza, as he strutted from table to table, looking for some material for his columns. Of course it was not Petit Pierre, but Aubelin Jolicœur, so my mother explained to me, as I at the age of 12 was not that familiar with Graham Greene’s work, the Haitian journalist and columnist that was the inspiration for Graham Greene’s character who then took a place at our table, started chatting with my mother, even flirting a little bit, totally ignoring me, leaving me to sip my icy lemonades for ever and ever. And so, before he took us to his gallery with Haitian naive paintings, in a black limousine steered by one of his sons, I started to write one of the hotel postcards to my best friend Daniel in Luxembourg. For some reasons, I never sent it off but took it home with me, as a souvenir maybe, just like my mother took one of the ashtrays. Looking at it now, it makes me smile that while somebody taken out of a famous novel was sitting at my very table, I had no other things to tell him about than the beautiful hotel pool and its cool water. But I can somehow get my 12-year-old me – the pool situation was gorgeous indeed. I must return soon, this time with the book…

Louis Vuitton‘s magic.

It’s lost on me. Completely. When you live in Zurich, for any length ot time, you cannot help but grow tired of that monogram, or even worse, their Damier pattern, it’s positively everywhere, or to use college talk, it’s downright ubiquitous. Ubiquitous to such a degree that it makes you want to run away, or to get blind, or just have more vodka, depends on the time of day. Anyway, one day, I needed Louis Vuitton’s San Francisco City Guide when writing an article on interior designer Jonathan Rachman who happens to be mentioned in it, well, mentioned is actually a sheer understatement, they did praise him in it, and so I wanted a photo of the guide for my blog. The next day, I had to go to Louis Vuitton on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, and instead of being appalled, I was amazed, first by their windows, some cute white ermines presented a black attaché case, just black leather, no pattern at all, then by a clutch, also black, this time in cuir épi, but most intriguingly, with an owl on it, both really beautiful, stunning even, what can I say, apparently it’s not Louis Vuitton’s fault that the Swiss all buy the very same stuff, and why nobody has bought one of these bags is beyond me, I really don’t get it, I absolutely loved that owl clutch, and, truth be told, that monogram canvas looks really good on the suitcases, I think, I need one, so much better than these black or silver ones everybody seems to have, they’re so very ubiquitous.

A pillow from San Francisco.

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One lazy afternoon, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, through selfies and haute couture dresses, admiring the ones by Cristóbal Balenciaga, the best designer there ever was, through Japanese architecture and perfectly set dinner tables, followed by chickens and ducks in the countryside, when suddenly a pillow on display in Jonathan Rachman’s San Francisco shop made me stop. Just liking wasn’t enough, I had to tell Mr Rachman how I felt about it, so I did just that, by telling him this pillow was missing in my life. Now guess what happened. Some minutes later, Jonathan replied “Shall I send you one?”, and just a week later, that same pillow had crossed the pond, arrived in Zurich, in a gigantic parcel, wrapped in brown silk paper with his store’s beautiful logo, and was joyfully thrown on my couch.

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The most amazing thing was that this pillow’s colours matched the colours of my grandmother’s oil painting, hanging just over it, how marvelous, I thought, but somehow, quite strangely, it made me feel like that rockstar in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and her Sisters”, that obnoxiously uncultivated guy who wants to buy an oil painting in the very same colour as his new ottoman, a way of art reception that made the artist, played by Max von Sydow, throw him out of his studio, telling him to go to hell or something of the sort. Of course I always subscribed to von Sydow’s character’s point of view, thought it an idiotic idea to match art with furniture, one of the things you expect from Melania Trump once she redecorates the White House, until now, now I can relate. Actually, I love this wonderful coincidence. I just hope, my grandmother won’t be insulted by it.

Anyway, I’m not the only one who’s fond of Jonathan Rachman’s good taste in interior design. You find him in Louis Vuitton’s new San Francisco City Guide, too. Mousey is really attracted to him and insisted on showing his awesome portrait on page 209.

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