Monday, May 12, 2008

Afternoons at Tiffany


For an antidote to my more academic readings, I’ve been enjoying the frothy but charming Summer at Tiffany, about two Midwestern college students who are the first “girls” to work on the “floor” of that venerable jewelry house.

My very, very favorite detail is the aqua silk shirtwaist dress from Bonwit Teller that the girls wore as their “uniform.”

How romantic it would be to wear a floaty silk dress in that distinctive Tiffany shade on the gray-and-limestone-colored avenues of New York. The book also contains some lovely riffs on the in-store and home-made fashions, from rhinestone-embellished turbans to pink sharkskin dresses that make this a sweet summer read.

In a bizarre way, this little book reminds me of other New York “behind-the-scenes” stories of young women, like Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters, a memoir following her romance with Jack Kerouac, as well as Suze Rotolo’s forthcoming autobiography about her life with and without Bob Dylan.

Like Kerouac and Dylan, who wrote poetry and music with the emotional and sometimes financial support of their girlfriends, Tiffany was a man’s company, where there were only salesmen on the jewelry floor, men who were supported by the female staff.

But these heroines aren’t bitter; rather, they sparkle with starry-eyed excitement at their good fortune: to be young, pretty, living in New York, and working at Tiffany. The feeling’s contagious.

6 comments:

Mary-Laure said...

Ok, you convinced me, I rushed to Amazon (blessed Amazon!) and ordered it. I read A LOT, mostly so-called serious books and sometimes, between a dark Coetzee and an old classic,I feel like reading something as fun as Vogue. But properly written please, more Nancy Mitford than Plum Sykes (the latter's hooooorrrrrrible). So thanks for the recommendation!

pve design said...

Yes, me too, must dash out and pick this up for a Summer Read. Tiffany's is one of my favorite stores in the world. The Tiffany Blue Box and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Just makes me feel very Audrey!

enc said...

This sounds like a perfect read.

riz said...

Frothy and a fun break from all the work...sigh...

Mary-Laure said...

In case you're interested Suze Rotolo was interviewed on Fresh Air today
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90429995

bronwyn said...

Sounds like a fun read, I read Minor Characters and enjoyed it.