Saturday, October 17, 2009

Collection FW2009: La Femme aux Semelles de Vent

The design of this scarf didn't really capture my interest until I discovered, thanks to a friend, the story behind it: it depicts a scene from Alexandra David-Neel's travel to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital "hidden" on a plateau up in the Himalayas and forbidden to foreigners.  The story goes that while living in Japan, our hero (a Belgian-French explorer, spiritualist and Buddhist) she met someone who, disguised as a Chinese doctor, had visited the Tibetans in their capital city in 1901.  Emboldened by both curiosity and her spirit of adventure, Alexandra put her courage to the test in 1924 by endeavouring to reach Lhasa herself disguised as a pilgrim - a feat embraced by the world media immediately, which sealed her reputation as a true pioneer.  "La femme aux semelles de vent" ("the woman with wind as her soles") pays tribute to the legendary heroes who brought the world closer to us - who, in fact, helped us open up to the world.

The reason why I stated that this scarf failed to captivate my attention is because of the very busy patterns employed around the edges, edges that prove rather "thick" relative to the focal scene.  Encassing the scene with a heavy border - the same pattern along the edges - gives the impression that we look at the travelers - Alexandra and her companion - through a window.  Indeed, this window into Alexandra's experiences provides, like a window into her soul, glimpses of the hardship and obstacles she confronted along the way, and, indeed, the achievements at the end of her voyage of discovery.

A monochromatic scard is perhaps better alternative to the very busy, bordering on ostentatious display, that brighter colours give.

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