Alice and I went to see Coco Before Chanel at the weekend and thought it all very lovely and good, but with nowhere near enough about the way Coco Chanel developed her ideas, created her designs, and incoroprated her inspirations into her clothes. In short, we would have liked to see a lot more in the atelier and a lot less in the bedroom.
But the love interest longueurs gave me plenty of time to consider the details that we did glimpse, and I was once again bowled over by the beauty of simple, striking, timeless stripes, seen in the film in the Breton sweaters worn by the fishermen and then on Coco Chanel herself (who wears hers loose and cinched at the waist with a belt, so looks nothing like an old sea-dog). For years I, too, wore stripey Breton sweaters and long-sleeved tops (and no doubt looked more like an old sea-dog than Coco Chanel) after first discovering them on French exchanges to St Nazaire. And I still love blue on white stripes.
When I was making quilts for my book, I was thinking about stripes a great deal, and went looking for more inspiration. I found plenty in the deckchair and hammock fabrics sold by Deckchair Stripes, which has to have the best selection ever. I bought a swatch pack which contained a strip of every fabric they sell, and had a great time sorting them out and playing with stripes - making pictures that resemble the great canvases of Bridget Riley and testing out their infinite variety.
And agreeing with Coco Chanel that stripes are complete stars.