Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alice Je T'aime

 Arriving in Paris I couldn't help notice the current French obsession with Alice.
Vitrine/windows are full of  Alice figures (pronounced A-leece here).
At Printemps - 9 designers create special Alice dresses including the late Alexander McQueen. I ask Fr Girl, "What's up with all the Alice stuff?"
Fr Girl says, "The French are obsessed with Aleece."
"Ah ha" I say.
The wheels turn. I put 2 + 2 together.
Everywhere I see signs of Alice like this adorable pinney. My theory falls into place. Alice is the epitome of the naughty yet innocent little French school girl in her pinafore, long hair, hair ribbon and mary jane flats/ballerinas. 
Tim Burton's Alice is not so innocent looking. She looks like she's been round the block a few times.The dress is a disaster. Sorry Tim. Plus she has bazooms. Something many French girls are missing. I watch Fr Girl dress for work, fascinated by the layers she throws together. One day I say,
"You look exactly like a French school girl in that outfit"
Sonia adores the little girl sailor shirt - I would kill for one of these.
The ageless French obsession with the child's ballerina fits perfectly into my Alice theory. So innocent.
Headband with a big bow, worn with a decollete top reveals a black bra - naughty but nice. A grown French woman shopping with her beau, her ballerinas, headband and long goldie locks.  
Printemps has created the perfect chez Alice salon de thé
From the escalator, you look down and watch the tea party. Colette stirred the pot with her naughty/nice school girl novels - Claudine à l'école, Claudine a Paris etc.
This schoolgirl caught me snapping in Luxemburg jardin.
Lewis Carroll, inspired the French even more than the Brits in my opinion.
The Mad Hatters tea party continues...
I’m Carol Gillott, an artist living in Paris. Every month I send out beautifully illustrated letters that capture the true Parisian experience. 
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 Petite pastel macarons are the perfect accompaniment to the French school girl look.This is my theory and I'm sticking to it.
What do you think?


  1. The Alice combination...a little bit naughty and a lot nice - always a winner I think. Lovely post Carol, xv

  2. Love your blog Carol! Alice makes me smile too, She's everywhwere right now!...great photos. Also, I posted the painting you did for me on my blog (I gave you all the credit)...Your art and blog ROCKS! Keep it up!

  3. I attended chez Alice salon de the! It was lovely!

  4. Laduree's Alice Macaron Music box is incredible. Alice fever has certainly hit world-wide. How sad to see the late McQueen Alice dress. He genius was so magnificent. Carol yet another fabulous, informative, and fun post.
    Merci ~

  5. Fatty Likes To Eat6:07 AM

    I rather liked your post, although I must say that the posters of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter at Printemps rather scared me.

  6. Love your photos..!

    We have The Alice shop in Oxford.

  7. I am looking on Eurostar right now for tickets! Thank you for inspiring me to go to Laduree - I just needed that extra push!

  8. This story is a breath of fresh air
    Love your take on the French life styles

  9. Meghan in Seattle7:26 AM

    Paris - here I come!
    Friday the 19th...
    Can't wait to hit Laduree and the YSL show
    merci beaucoup pour tous


  10. Princess Di7:27 AM

    I have been following your antics by the way. Fashions shows, early to Paris, staying with French people etc etc. Just wish I were there.
    Keep enjoying your stay

  11. loved the huge tea pot and those different colored macaron, fun!

  12. Sweet, Carol--but you must see the movie. Alice's outfit you featured her in here is the outfit that she shrank down into, so they purposefully don't fit her here--this is not her "real" dress, but her shrunken body in her oversized clothes. If you see the movie, you'll understand.

  13. A provocative theory, Carol. I think you may be onto something!

  14. William Ternay, Jr.8:59 AM

    Seems to me you have a lot in common with Alice.
    You like to travel to exotic locales
    and you somehow always have (and happily share) your colorful adventures & mis-adventures...ok, maybe not all (that's the naughty part)and Paris is definitely your very own "Wonderland."
    Great post.

  15. Wonderful Post! I have part of my Alice post from Bloomingdales in NYC. Tomorrow will post the clothes. We are obsessed with Marie Antoniette and the French with Alice! lol Go figure. I want the box with Macaroons from Laduree also! lol I would have definately spent the money for it. I love visiting your blog. Hugs Grace

  16. Loved, loved, loved this post. Yes, I agree with your French = Alice comparison. Definitely more than British. Odd but true. Oh, how I wish I could fit into my school uniform look right now. Maybe if I drop 25 pounds ;)
    What a great time of the year to be in Paris. I will force myself to dream about it tonight.

  17. True, Carol--you are an Alice. Through and through. Love your box of mac goodies.

  18. yes, there is an alice obsession everywhere in store windows here too. She's taken all the big cities!

    Fashion-wise? I haven't seen it, but I'll begin looking for it to see.

  19. Anonymous12:45 PM

    One of the highlights of my 3 week visit to Paris was my day at Disneyland. They do not have the Alice in Wonderland ride like I was used to growing up in Anaheim. They had "Alice's Curious Labyrinth". It was a full sized maze that you walk through and see all the Alice characters (speaking French naturellement) The Queen of Hearts rages, "COUPEZ SA TETE!!!" At the end of the maze is the Queen of Hearts castle which you climb to the top and get a spectacular view of the entire park. They were celebrating their 10th anniversary at the time so there were parades and special shows. I was a kid again.

  20. Just got back from London. They had a terrific exhibit at the British Library with the original manuscript and drawing by Lewis Caroll, along with various renditions of Alice through the ages. It was terrific.

    Hooray for Aleeece!

  21. You pass with flying colors and shall be henceforth called "Doctor of Alicean Philosophy"!

    Loved, loved, loved, that post, Carol.
    So much work and so much fun for me to read.
    Loved especially your "Tm Burton's Alice looks like she has been around the block too many times"! *giggles*

  22. Very cute and imaginative interpretation of Alice!

  23. Alice...
    Alice is everywhere right now,
    but ever present in France me thinks
    Carolg :)

  24. Shelley3:35 PM

    Sharp, luscious photos (as always) + witty, light, insightful commentary = one hell of a blog.

    That huge overhanging teapot in Printemps is fabulous, esp. with the live tea party below of mainly bored, or uncomfortable, Japanese (?) tourists -- hard to see clearly....

    Loved the bunny mannequin too, and the bunny masquerade headpieces yesterday, if that's what they were, in the SR window.

    And then we have the Tim Burton/ Parisienne Alice -- the leetle girl who is also naughty temptress. I like unexpected combinations, and at first it did seem interesting and creative to combine school girl hair bows with, say, black lace bras. But, um, er, if no one else is going to say it.... Well, I'm wondering about the revival -- or continuation -- of the two main stereotypes of woman as helpless child, and as seductive, manipulative femme fatale (literally, "deadly woman"). Now, in order to save time or something, we have them fused into one entity, or ensemble at any rate.... Not sure how helpful this is sociologically....

    Any one out there agree, or shall I just lighten up (or, heaven forfend) shutten up?

  25. Catherine4:09 PM

    I love the way you pull together so many different images to express a theme--tres bien fait!

  26. Bonjour Carol,
    Really enjoyed this post. I've never thought about it before but you're right, French women do look a bit like Alice - in a way.
    I love how you point out so many little details that I seem to overlook. Merci!
    You must have brought all this beautiful sunshine with you!

  27. Carol, I'm sure you know about this, but just on the offchance, here's the link for free macaron day!
    Found it on chowhound, and of course thought of you. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!
    Berkshire Tsarina

  28. William Ternay, Jr.8:09 PM

    I love Shelly's word; "Shutten."!
    Sounds almost Shakespearean,
    as in: "I bid you, good sir,
    to shutten your waggish,rapscallion tongue within a fortnight.
    That's about the same amount of time you're spending in Paris, Carol.

  29. How could Disney have missed the boat and left macarrons off the tea table? Poor American rube! Macs were simply made for aAice!

  30. I'm loving the Parisian obsession with Alice! Can't wait to see the movie.

  31. Instead of the theory: 'naughty/yet innocent little French girl,' how about the idea of Jean d'Arc. Alice is an independent thinker who surely seemed strange to her peers; Jean stood outside her gender box and lead the French army. And eventually, Alice took up the sword and became the Champion, who slayed the Jaberwocky (sp?).

  32. DORA-
    I'm simply talking French fashion here. Nothing deeply philasophical or analytical aboiut AIW.

    JEANETTE - You are soooooo RIGHT!
    How could Tim leave the macarons off the table?
    He needed Sophia as a pastry consultant certainment.

    Yes JUDITH I have been getting in mental and physical shape all week (all ear) for JOUR DU MACARONS but thanks for the link - I must check all the places to hit on Saturday.

    I forgot to mention that the Printemps windows were shouting, "COUPEZ SA TETE!!!"
    Merci anonymouse.

  33. PS
    SUE, what you say may be true about Alice's shrinking causing her dress to droop, but I still say Tim's Alice looks too much like a wanton hussey for my taste.

  34. What flavor macaron makes you shrink?


  35. Clever you Uyek!
    I can only say the macarons in my Alice music box have shrunk to ZERO !!!
    Moi, on the other hand has not shrunk AT ALL :(

  36. Dear Merisi,

    We are society's astute observers doncha know?
    Today Samuel Johnson would be blogging non?
    You in Vienna's cafes
    and moi on the streets and pastry shops of Paris.
    It's a dirty job but someones got to do it
    c'est la vie
    xx cg

  37. I really adore this post. I'm not so crazy about Alice but this just makes me want to have a tea party already.

  38. Even though I am sick to death of Alice this is THE BEST post on the subject. Well done you


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