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18 March 2009

Lessons from Empress Bianca

I have been so enjoying Mrs. Blandings' recent posts on the New York apartment of Diana Vreeland. This made me contemplate taking up needlework, and this made me reconsider ceramic Spaniels, that old WASP standby.

But when I read that much of DV's collection was given as gifts by her friends and admirers, who were surely legion in number, I thought - what I am doing wrong?!

That very night the answer came to me in the pages of Lady Colen Campbell's delectable page-turner Empress Bianca (buy it this week from Potterton for 25% off!) - Bianca knows that half the pleasure in giving is seeing how delighted the recipient is by your efforts. And can't you just imagine how thrilling it would be to be thanked by DV - she no doubt thanked with gusto and flair. A proper thank you in fact is a gift in itself, which is why hand-written notes will never go out of style.

N.B. Bianca's philosophy of thanking includes being enthusiastic even if you don't love the gift - it's not about the gift, tell yourself, it's the gesture. Eventually they'll give you something you really do like - a priceless diamond demi-parure, anyone? - and it will all be worth the while! Empress Bianca is full of all sorts of helpful tips, particularly if you're looking for advice on how to get away with murder in Mexico or Monaco...

6 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

It's quite an inspiring room and quite an inspiring woman. I, too, wondered how you let drop, "You know, I just can't get enough of Scottish horn snuff boxes." I'm sure one can work that kind of thing in if one tries.

Toby Worthington said...

On one occasion, so the story goes, Diana Vreeland was given a rare old silver vodka cup that Diana Ross found for her at A La Vielle Russie~perfect for DV who loved her vodka. Yet the next time Miss Ross visited, she saw that the silver cup was being used to store Q-tips.

Janet said...

Some of the most wonderful things in my apartment are the gifts I have received from my friends and family. I think sometimes they know me better than I know myself.

Incidentally, most of the needlework I have done, I have given away. There is something really wonderful about giving someone a true labor of love.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Mr. Worthington, A silver cup from ALVR? Most likely the world's most expensive Q-tip (cotton bud for our English friends) holder! But why not - ideally everything one owned would be beautiful (which of course doesn't mean it has to be expensive)

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Janet, As it may take me awhile to make a foray into needlepointing, perhaps I'll start lurking outside of needlepoint meetups in the hopes of picking up some new friends! xo

Janet said...

Dahling, you already have a friend who stitches...no need to stalk unsuspecting needlework groups. We will talk.