On a Sanctuary of Ladies

autumn-ladiesImagine, if you will, a mellow old building. It should have the look of a friendly, hospitable country hotel. There should be green blinds and little outside balconies on its upper floors, and windows with looped lace curtains; and white pillars standing at the entrance, at the top of a low flight of steps. It is either in the most beautiful countryside, or if in the city, then it is sequestered within a large garden and high hedges whose role is not so much to hide the building from outsiders, but discreetly veil the distasteful outside from the eyes of the fortunate ones inside.
The door-windows are of stained glass most elegantly and curiously worked. Most of the windows are wreathed with lace shades in designs of birds, cupids, and garlands of flowers. In the entrance hall crimson silk shades lined with black netting are used, as the light penetrating through them fills the hall with a rich, subdued glow. This gentle glow sets the visitor at once in the right frame of mind. She is to abandon the tense, cynical outlook necessary to shield oneself from the harmful influences of the current age, and instead allow herself to be what she really is: a faithful servant of Beauty. The building she has entered is a sanctuary of Beauty, and nothing that mars the special atmosphere is allowed within. From the architectural proportions to the most minute details of embroidered napkins, everything is in harmony and chosen for their beauty. It is a place of rest for those whose daily existence makes them suffer a thousand little indignities and attacks on their sense of aesthetics – a resort for a weekend or as long as it takes to cure the effects of the Cloud of Ugliness.

luggageThey arrive alone or in small groups, dressed in elegant travel suits and carrying stylish luggage and colourful hat boxes. Already on the entrance steps they feel the cares of the outside world melting away. Visitors are asked to dress accordingly, and of course they do, for it is their longing to wear the most beautiful and charming fashions among others who share the same desire. From the morning meal, served in a lovely pastel-toned breakfast room, to the evening dances in the grand hall, each activity shall be enjoyed in just the correct outfit.

luggage1Each lady visitor takes care to match the occasion, season, time of the day and even the decoration of the room with her appearance. They nod approvingly at each others’ neat morning gowns and linen caps during the breakfast. The share smiles of pure delight when meeting in the parlor for an educational lecture, each and every one wearing a trim morning dress, chic hat and fresh gloves – all following the rules of good taste and yet each one different, suited to the wearer’s personality and type. Afternoon tea is the chance to take pleasure in the tea gown, garnished with every luxury which extravagance could suggest. Those with taste for cocktails may at the appointed hour garb themselves in the most gorgeous hats the world has ever had the joy to witness. And the conclusion of the day is the grand evening dance, as formal dress affords the greatest opportunity for the esteemed visitors to dress up, to express through their clothes gaiety and romance, beauty and sophistication.

dancesIt is, alas, just a dream, but a dream so wonderful that it gives the dreamer courage and conviction to keep on her path of Beauty.

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