I admit it: When it comes to bags, I am a shopaholic. And maybe when it comes to shoes, as well, and accessories, and …… But that will be themes for later blog post.
Back to my bags: I recently help my Dad cleaning out some of the garage, and there I found a box containing some old toys of mine, including my first handbag. Being the youngest of four children, I started marking my stuff from an early age, as you can see I’ve written Ellen to the best of a tree year old ability…
Now, I don’t think that any of my brothers would have tried to take my bag, and my sister probably had one on her own, but I really think that I was around the age of tree, when I discovered the joy of possessing multiple handbags!
I know a lot of people, especially men, wonder why I need so many handbags; it’s clearly just possible to use one at the time…
My passion for handbags is not only in the use, even though I never leave my house without one. A handbag is so much more than a bag to carry your wallet and make up in. First of all, I know several persons, including me, that have our whole lives in the handbag of the day. When my sister comes with her huge and brilliant bag, my brother in law usually comments that “Here comes Ida and her apartment!”
I don’t usually buy that large handbags for myself, I like them a little bit smaller. (And I don’t have four children, my bags are all for me only) I have some of them, though, and they are great for a couple of days and useful for weekends away. My favourite is the white Donna Karan bag, which is one of the few designer bags that I own.
A handbag can of course be a fashion statement, and is that for most of us, at one or several points in our lives. I still feel the thrill when I dust off my first designer bag I bought at the age of fifteen.
Having said that, I must admit, that for me there is so much more to the love of handbags and I’ve never been so particular focused at those designer handbags. This is of course also due to economy and the fact that I see so many bags that I just love, and feel the need to buy. It’s a choice, if you want to buy multiple handbags, you cannot buy only designer handbags.
My handbags are my souvenirs. Whenever I travel, I always end up buying a new handbag, and very often I don’t restrict myself to the one. That’s why I came home with eight bags from Dublin, and five from Rome.
Using handbags as souvenirs is brilliant. Whenever I use my blue big bag from Copenhagen, I think of all the fun I had there, and when I see my summarily multiple colour bag from Athen I think of the day we spent there before going off sailing for two weeks.
Shopping for handbags abroad also prevent me from having the same handbags that everybody else have. They become a part of my unique style, and not everybody would feel comfortable carrying all of my bags. My first shoe bag is from Paris. I love it, and I’ve used it in several weddings and small handbag occasions. I found my second shoe hand bag in Dublin, and yes, I have the matching pumps.
My all-time favourite special handbag was also bought in Paris, not by me, but for me. My good friend Vegar, carillonist and shopping lover, saw this pink handbag in Paris several years ago, and bought it to me. The first time I ever used it, was when he had his carillon diploma concert at the City Hall of Oslo. It’s not an everyday bag, this I pull out for those special occasions.
Since we still are in summer season, my bag de jour is my pink Guess bag, and so it has been for weeks. I love it, and it’s just the right size for my life as it is, right now.
My passion for beautiful and unique handbags has taken me on some crazy shopping trips, and I wouldn’t have missed out on any of those occasions. And tips on the road, if you see a great handbag on your vacation, buy it! Or you might continue your life thinking of the one you left behind.
As we all know, Paris is the true city of love and it holds a romantic candle over all the lovers and dreamers of the world.
Fine food, wine and flowers are commodities that stroke the embers of French passion. But true love also sparks in gritty garret rooftops and back alleys as witnessed in Damsels of the Night, Citie Ballet’s final production of the season.
Playing this Saturday at the Timms Centre for the Arts, this tale was inspired by Jean Anouilh’s story of cats on Paris rooftops. Prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn first danced Les Demoiselles de la Nuit in its premiere production in 1948.
In true ballet tradition, Les Demoiselles was a tragedy of star-crossed lovers where a Parisian violinist and the white cat he loves plunge to their deaths.
However, Citie artistic director Francoise Chevennement has brought out the mischief in his dancers by adapting and transforming Damsels into a frothy comedy.
Still using the original score by stage and film composer Jean Françaix, Chevennement brought on board ballet mistress Laurence Menotti and librettist Katherine Koller to spin the confection in a completely different direction while still evoking moonlit nights.
In this updated adaptation, Leon (Jason Vaz) is a poverty-stricken clarinettist obsessed with a beautiful White Cat (Danica Smith) he sees from his rooftop. He brings her food and tries to tame the alley cat. And while the White Cat wants to be pampered, she still demands the freedom to roam.
Leon is so enamoured with the White Cat, he fails to notice Mimi (Lauren O’Kell), an equally poor seamstress hopelessly in love with him. She brings Leon food, sews his clothing and tussles with the cat for his affections.
But cue the orchestra. In the background is a villainess. The Queen of Cats creates conflict by luring the White Cat back into the wild ways of the alley.
Despite the fizzy plotline, Damsels is a technically complex dance that demands a strong emotive flair from its principals. For instance, O’Kell as Mimi dances four solos with a combination of pirouettes, jetés, bourées and a lot of quick and fast pointe work.
Classically trained in the Royal Academy dance style, O’Kell, a Grade 12 student at Bellerose High, is more than up to the physical challenges.
“Technically I’ve been able to do the steps, but what’s been difficult is getting the emotional attachment to the ballet and connecting with other members. I have to pretend to love Leon and hate the cat. The acting is definitely a challenge for me,” says O’Kell as the production’s ingénue. She is enrolled in the summer intensive at Boston Ballet and hopes to be accepted into the winter program.
For the St. Albert dancer, Damsels is a bittersweet ballet in part because it is her last one with Citie. Yet the partner work performed with Jason Vaz may be some of the season’s strongest.
“This is our last show together so we’re trying to show off what we’re doing.”
O’Kell also has a duelling scene with Art of Dance teacher, Danica Smith’s White Cat. In a delicious tongue-in-cheek moment, Chevennement has incorporated Duetto buffo di due gatti, a famed ditty borrowed from a Gioachino Rossetti opera.
“They do a mirror dance where they make fun of each other,” explains Chevennement.
He is lush with praise of his principals and adds there were a few events that cut into rehearsal times. A dance of this calibre usually takes about 360 hours to rehearse. Unfortunately with Damsels there was only slightly more than 250 hours of rehearsal time.
Yet Chevennement predicts a rousing performance from the principals. Of O’Kell’s Mimi he says, “She has beautiful technique and since this is her last ballet with us, I wanted to challenge her a bit more.”
As the White Cat, Smith’s character embodies the feline stylization of the cat world.
“Danica is one of the company’s most mature dancers. She is really good with acting. To perform a cat is challenging for a dancer, and you need a good character dancer.”
Chevennement wraps it up by saying the dance is full of serenity and joy, comedy and laughter.
“It’s a love story but it’s a fun ballet. It’s appropriate for kids and when we did a preview for an audience the other night, they were getting all pumped up.”