I love the way Spark looks on the cover of this book (sorry I couldn't find a bigger image)
This means that whilst I could tell you everything you didn’t want to know about Muriel Spark, I have been out of the fashion loop for a while (as you can no doubt tell from my shameless recent blogging record). So because I’m tired and this is the only ‘break’ I’m going to take for the next 3 hours, I’m going to go with what I know and write about Muriel Spark; fabulous writer, eccentric super-bitch, and worthy fashion icon.
Tight sweater, necklace with an animal pendant, and sexy tilted specs? What’s not to love??
Muriel Spark was obsessed with fashion (a woman after my own heart) and always dressed flamboyantly. It pleases me more than you can ever know to picture her zipping around Italy aged 80 in her alfa romeo and her fur coat: an image recounted in each of her obituaries, so it obviously pleased more people than just me! One journalist recorded that Spark swept in for an interview (then in her 70s) looking demure and sophisticated in a black and white Chanel suit that she had chosen to team with fluroscent pink ankle socks.
How can such a cruel woman have such a kind face?
Derek Stanford (Muriel's sworn enemy) described Muriels love of vintage jewelry and accessories; "there was generally within her wardrobe some small family property-a brooch, a clasp, a pair of earrings or her silver topped umberella- which had come from her mother or grandmother". He also wrote some lovely things about Muriel and her mothers relationship in his unofficial biography; "Mother and daughter hd a true feminine love of dress, jewelry and adornment....Whenever she visited her mother in Scotland they would do a deal or a swap with each other over some trinket or treasure. And later maybe the swap would be undone, redone"
I love this extract because it reminds me of my own relationship with my mum and especially my nan; I love going through their wardrobes picking out clothes and jewellery they haven't worn for years and trying them on all at once like a toddler. My mum is a very petite (and naturally beautiful) lady, and it breaks my balls that I can't fit into any of her couture ball gowns from the early '80s. (When i'm at home next weekend I will dig out some of the photo's and share them) And it was in part my nan (a lady who still obsesses about fashion despite being in her 70s) who inspired me to start my collection of vintage brooches-I know they aren't 'in vogue' at the moment, and it's a pretty old fashioned thing to collect, but I love them! They're sparkly delicate and garish all at the same time -what more do you need?!Wearing things that have been worn by people I love makes me happy. My wardrobe had as many of my sisters clothes in it as it does mine; The Spark concept of fashion as a family heritage is something I can get behind.
I'm not saying that 'the Sparklet' was perfect just because she liked dresses (i've done my research!) She abandoned her son before he was a teenager, attacked anyone who crossed her loudly in the press, and was a generally 'difficult' lady (to put it nicely!) But she loved fashion and literature, just like 2 other pretty cool young ladies I know, and that makes her noteworthy at the least, and admirable at the most generous. Phew! And now I feel inspired to go and work some more on that essay......
Hope you all had a great bank holiday!