Like most West Indian literature students, I first encountered Chinua Achebe's writings through Things Fall Apart. As a fourth or fifth form student who was more than a little familiar with all the 'classics' one must read in preparation for Cambridge Examinations, Achebe's first book was a welcome change of pace from the world of Thackeray, Austen, Elliot and Dickens.
Beyond the fact that it was refreshing to read about an Africa written by an African, Achebe's lyrical and oratory approach to writing made for tales that were extremely rich and endearing; how could you not feel for Okonkwo and Ikemefuna when the former is commanded to kill the latter by the village's oracle?
Once you read the rest of the tale in Things Fall Apart, Achebe's style lured you to seek out his other works like Girls at War and one of my personal favourites, Chike and the River - a children's book I plan on reading to my own son.
So of course, the news of his death comes like an unexpected blow to all who loved his works; the New York Times rightfully calls Achebe a 'literary titan' whose novels and "poignant short stories... [made him one of] the continents towering men of letters." I daresay the Nigerian author's legacy has long gone far beyond the continent and towers over the literary world at large.
By way of honouring the writer, I wanted to share the work of Edel Rodriguez, a Cuban artist whose spartan illustrations have covered many an Achebe book with just the right amount of evocative flair.
Rest in peace, Chinua...
NB Images Courtesy Edel Rodriguez
As I was reviewing this post, I thought to myself, 'is using the word 'aging' in the title too brash?' Because you know, some people can get quite touchy when faced with mortality and the inevitable process of getting older.
So I toyed for awhile with more euphemistic terms like 'maturing', 'wisdom' and 'seasoned' before deciding there's just no way around it - after a certain point in life, one simply ages. And you know what?
There's nothing wrong with that. Because it is truly a blessing if one can live long enough to show life's journey across one's face.
I mean, look at Kate Moss - and even Marc Jacobs - in that backstage shot from Louis Vuitton's FW13/14 show. There's something supremely beautiful about the knowingness of their faces. As lovely as the younger girls are, Moss, with all those tiny creases around the eyes and lips, easily outshines them. And it doesn't hurt that after all these years, she's kept that snaggle tooth.
Here's to aging gracefully...
NB Images Courtesy Please Magazine
So, over the weekend I got brief email from a reader that contained only the following words: "Check Bayer's Transitions - I think you'd love it..."
Sure enough, I revisited Samuel Bayer's website since posting about his new exhibition at the Ace Gallery in LA, and instantly fell in love with these shots of butterflies, wings splayed and seemingly suspended in mid-flight.
Photographers and graphic artists have toyed with images of other airborne creatures before; Paul Octavious does a good job with birds in his Aperture photo series.
But what's special about the images above is how Bayer conveys a fleeting sensibility through the blurred and slightly off-focus shots. And besides, it's all but impossible to shoot a bad picture of a butterfly with boldly patterned wings, no?
You guys always send me the nicest emails - thanks!
NB Images Courtesy Samuel Bayer
In 1997, my mother was on vacation in New York City. With my finicky tastes being a thing of legend, and with the opinion that clothes should be multi purpose and long-wearing, she purchased two simple items for my wardrobe: a floor length, columnar Ann Demeulemeester skirt and a single-breasted jacket from a newly launched label, Theory.
Of course, both pieces were in a finicky-proof, basic black.
The Ann D. skirt I've worn for many a formal occasion, but its length alone prevents me from dragging it out too often. The Theory jacket however, versatile thing that it is, has seen me through interviews, dinner parties, funerals, brunch and any other occasion where a fairly pulled-together look is needed.
It's a bit faded now, but never fails to be revived with a quick dry-clean and press around the collar. In fact, I just wore it to an appointment a few weeks ago and it looked as sharp as ever...
I daresay that over their decade-plus of existence, Theory has retained the ability to create clothes that can work similarly in different scenarios. This spring, I'm seeing their virgin wool vests as being able to achieve the same longevity as my old jacket; for my part, I'm quite fond of their lightweight leather shifts, as well.
And the accessories aren't too bad either - that black pump, top image, is as good a basic as you'll ever find.
NB Images Courtesy Theory
Marissa Webb launched her eponymous label last September in New York, and already she's got her SS2013 pieces available online for purchase directly through her newly-launched online shop.
Why other designers can't operate with a similar level of alacrity, we'll never know.
Anyways, whilst perusing the full collection online, I noticed this darling, ankle-strapped heel and had to share it with you. The fact that it's made from the finest leather uppers and soles is winning enough, but what ultimately caught my eye was the pointy, almond-shaped toe and the heel that's thin, but not too thin.
Now, imagine wearing those with jeans and a sharp blazer, just the way that Webb herself would.
Perfection, I tell you...
NB Images Courtesy Marissa Webb