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English Muse: The girl with the pink gloves

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The girl with the pink gloves


This is a story about beauty and obsession, sparked by a small photograph deep inside the New York Times Style section on a Sunday three years ago. I've tried, unsuccessfully, to train myself not to fall so deeply in love with objets. I'm a newspaper reporter. I lack the necessary requirement -- money -- needed to enjoy the hunt for beautiful and expensive things.

But there was something about this girl and the way she was captured (by the brilliant photographer Bill Cunningham) pulling on her pink gloves on a March afternoon in Paris. I wanted a pair of pink gloves just like hers, like they held the key to life's happiness. Granted, I live in Los Angeles, where people barely wear coats let alone long beautiful gloves. But I figured (and hoped) I would wear them on trips to cold, metropolitan cities while strolling along fashionable boulevards.

So my quest began: I combed all the usual Beverly Hills haunts. No gloves to be found. Especially not pale pink ones. I searched through Internet stores. Nothing. Then I turned to eBay. Surely someone somewhere was trying to unload a pair. Right? In fact, there were lots of pairs -- all made in the 1950s. It quickly became apparent why no one wanted those gloves: Only Hollywood actresses have hands small enough to wear them.

I should have just given up. But I didn't. I couldn't. Somehow these gloves became a symbol of luxury amid the mundane, a promise that the future would be grand. Or at the very least, anything but ordinary. Finally, I found a place in New York that made bespoke gloves with the finest Italian leather. I gave them my hand measurements and sent them my New York Times clipping. Six weeks later, the most gorgeous gloves you've ever seen arrived wrapped in tissue. Just like the girl's in the picture.

I have taken these gloves with me many places, to New York, Washington DC, Rome and Paris. I've pulled them on many times and admired them, fastening their little pearlized buttons. But I've always ended up putting them back in their satin pouch. I have yet to wear them out.

I'm saving them for the future, I guess. For the grand (or not). The promise remains the same.

PS: I found the gloves {here}!




Blogger Mujer imperfecta said...

Maybe it's the start of a novel or a short story: who's the girl on the pink gloves? why pink and not other color?

March 16, 2009 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

I'm not sure I would have felt the same about them if they were, say, navy blue.

March 16, 2009 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger The Cottage Cheese said...

What a lovely story - that photograph is intriguing. Your gloves are so beautiful, I hope you find just the occasion to wear them soon (until then, it is nice to know that you have something so special!)

March 16, 2009 at 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Caroline Bouvier said...

I´ve read your little story and I´ve enjoy a lot, you have a lot of sensibility (you know). If youre interesting, in Zara shop you can find a lot of gloves of different colours (pink too). You should write a novel, you´re a great writer;)


March 16, 2009 at 6:32 AM  
Blogger giulia said... odd that -- or not -- that something similar is on my mind. When I awoke this a.m., the following (among other poems) were in mind. I realize it's not the exact situation--but then, a poem needn't be to have same effect. I hope you will reconsider wearing the gloves next time the opportunity arises -- anytime. I learned the hard way that the time may never arrive if you don't deem it so. xo, Susan

"Yet she put the good things away/
for the good day that must surely/
come, when promises would open/
like tulips their satin cups/

Marge Piercy, "Putting the Good Things Away" rest here:

March 16, 2009 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Miranda said...

I agree with Caroline. So few people have the courage of their obsessions. . .or the talent to write about what follows from pursuing one's passions.

March 16, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Char said...

I am currently obsessed with some pillows I saw once with purple martins on them...I can't find them. I must go back to that shop.

March 16, 2009 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger trishiekoh said...

That's a great tale. Now I want a pair of pink gloves too!

March 16, 2009 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Micaela said...

I LOOOOOOVE your writing (duh, you're a reporter! you have a way with words BUT STILL!) :)

loooove your gloves! a girl determined: she is unstoppable!

March 16, 2009 at 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember those pink gloves! I thought you had certainly worn them at least once by now. What an exciting prospect for a future engagement!
xo Susan

March 16, 2009 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Little Gray Pixel said...

Oh gorgeous. I feel the same way about a turquoise cape, y'know, '60s style with the little chain? I imagine myself wearing it when Husband and I meet at the airport after a long time apart. But the airport in my mind is not the LAX of today, alas.

March 16, 2009 at 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Sit said...

How delicate the colour and the feeling that you describe.
I like such stories, when clothes become a bit more than just clothes :-)
I discovered your blog last week and I found it so nice that I added it today to my little blogroll.

March 16, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger The Wanderers' Daughter said...

This is a little gem of a story. It's actual the definition and the raison d'etre of the "objet". What object in this world is worth coveting if it doesn't somehow hold the secret promise that the future will be grand? It's what our imagination does for us. And it's lovely.

March 17, 2009 at 3:55 AM  
Anonymous P. said...

I just love that you had pink gloves made. They are so lovely - I can imagine myself taking them out and visiting them from time to time. You must wear them to a wonderful party in New York sometime...

March 17, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger BloomingPink said...

Wear those gloves! Wear Them.

There's no time like a cold time.

However, I must admit that I'm the same way with special paper. I don't want to use it my mixed media, cards, etc....because I'm "saving" it for that special....

But recently I've told myself to quit stowing aways those precious things and pull them out, display them, use them, pass them on...

Because being in my 40's I am now realizing that my time here is limited.

SO....Wear them! They are worthly of a showing :)

March 17, 2009 at 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Melly said...

I completely understand what you mean about falling so deeply in love with objects you can't afford. Have you ever seen Lula magazine? That will definitely not help with the addiction.

March 17, 2009 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Micah said...

Tina, I think you should wear your gloves the very next chance you get.

I made a similar search last year for the perfect pair of dark, eggplant-colored elbow-length kid gloves. It was very difficult, but I finally took a pair of my great-grandmother's ivory gloves and had them dyed the shade I wanted (a rich, ruby-ish brown on the purple side). I actually took a Japanese eggplant into my dyer.

They make this little girl from Little Rock feel oh so glam when I walk into my office. Or out to lunch with friends.

Now, alas, after reading your lovely post and drooling over the photo, I must have the palest heirloom damask rose pink.

How am I going to explain that one to my intrepid dyer???

March 17, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger vicki archer said...

Such a lovely story but you must wear them if they are to do what they must do - transport you to where you want to be on any day. The romantic notions that you conjure will only live if you wear them. Love your blog, xv.

March 17, 2009 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

You have to wear them. They are the best!

March 18, 2009 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Amelia said...

charming post, I enjoyed reading it!

April 4, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger .¤.Beah.¤. said...

And I am so so soooo jealous of your gloves.. lol.. I guess is the same feeling you had when you saw the girl's gloves.. *-*

April 11, 2009 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger *Sandra* said...

Ab Fab gloves, dahling. When did women stop wearing gloves as an every-day accessory? I'm wondering if we could make them stage a come-back? Whatdya think?

Don't you just love some of the 'verification' words? Mine here is beadesse... eat my beads!

June 16, 2009 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

oh yes! let's stage a comeback!!
although it's frightfully difficult to type on a Blackberry while wearing gloves...hmmm...

June 16, 2009 at 8:30 PM  

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