3 Books you won’t be able to put down

Perfect holiday reads

The Metamorphosis

A Novel By Franz Kafka

 

A trained lawyer, German speaking Czech-Jewish novelist Franz Kafka is widely regarded as one of the major 20th century literature figures, even though most of Kafka’s writing was actually done in his spare time. He fuses elements of realism and the fantastic to explore themes of alienation, anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. Considered one of his best-known works ‘The Metamorphosis’ is one of those rare books that completely sucks you in and I for one, couldn’t put it down.
 
The plot follows the story of a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find he has transformed into a ‘monstrous vermin’ – an insect. Initially, Gregor sees the change as temporary, and locks himself into his room worried about losing his job, but as time passes, he begins to adapt to the change, under the eye of his family who are horrified he has turned into an insect.
 
This incredible book symbolises how flexible the mind can be, and how the body follows. It questions our place within our family, and the opinion that society may have about changes that occur within our lives. As the sole provider within his family, Gregor became completely useless; and therefore, his family began to treat him in accordance. Even though Gregor’s mind adapts to being transformed into an insect and he becomes used to it, sadly, his family do not.
 
Something particularly striking about this book is that we never know why Gregor became an insect, and possibly even more powerful, Gregor, does not question it himself. This deep analysis of being conscious of who we are, our place in society and our self-consciousness is a masterpiece. I am certain it’s a must read for anyone and everyone.

Everything I know about love

By Dolly Alderton

 

London born author, Sunday Times columnist and podcast host, Dolly Alderton explores themes of love, female friendship, and her experiences living as a millennial woman in her work. She has a column Dear Dolly in Style magazine, has worked as a story producer for Made in Chelsea, written and directed two independent films; The Confluence and Anna Island. Alderton co-hosted a hugely popular weekly podcast The High Low and has published two books, a memoir, Everything I Know About Love and a novel, Ghosts. She’s just a all round brilliant woman!
 
This book is hilarious! Everything I Know About Love is an absolute must-read have for any millennial who wants to laugh! A candid read, about Dolly’s relationship history from her university years through her twenties, she vividly recounts falling in love, tales of disaster dates, one night stands, getting dumped, getting drunk on great nights out and hideous hangovers – Dolly’s writing style is just like a conversation with a friend, and totally relatable!
 
Dolly, documents her life, the struggles of early adulthood, the highs and the lows, the uncertainty, the sex, the heartache, the embarrassing moments – even a series of lists, and recipes. All with the underlying notion being that you are enough. I can say with absolute certainty that you have to add it to your reading list!

Lettres à Yves

by Pierre Bergé

 

French born Pierre Bergé shared his life with the great fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent for fifty years.  After they met in 1958, they became romantically involved and together launched Yves Saint Laurent Couture House in 1961, later splitting amicably in 1976 and remained lifelong friends and business partners.
 
These letters, written to Yves after his death relive their carefree early days, revealing secrets of their private conversations, their personal lives, from beautiful memories in Marrakech to the addictions Yves had for drugs and alcohol, and his depression. This homage uncovers how hectic their relationship was, yet deeply passionate.
 
“I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.” Pierre Bergé
 
This powerful little book written by Pierre Bergé to the love of his life Yves Saint Laurent is a beautiful, heartfelt farewell. A wonderful read.

Off To The Races

GHAZAL AT THE ROYAL ASCOT

Photo by Getty Images

The history of sport is inextricably tied to fashion, and there is perhaps no greater crucible of physical prowess and style than Royal Ascot. Taking place over five days at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire during June each year, Ascot brings together the crème de la crème of British high society, including the entirety of the royal family, and a generous smattering of supermodels, It-girls, and darlings of the silver screen. It was fitting, then, that Ghazal chose to celebrate the launch of our Spring 2022 collection with a private event hosted in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.

Founder Houda Ghazal wore a white cream lace dress by Erdem and the classic ‘Jackie’ shoe by Ghazal for the occasion, which was attended by an intimate mix of influencers and VIPs. Among them were Lady Sophie Windsor, Kelly Prehn, Ikram Abdi, Kate Mason, and Lilah Parsons.

“Ascot is an amazing opportunity to celebrate fashion,” says Ghazal.

 
 

Indeed, over the years Ascot has seen its fair share of memorable fashion moments. In 1982, Jerry Hall attended Ascot in a fabulous monochrome look, complete with Dynasty-esque lapels, a string of pearls, and a decorative solid gold binocular set, with model pal Marie Helvin on her arm. Four years later, Princess Diana stole the show in a cream peplum skirt suit, cinched at the waist and paired with a wide-brim Philip Somerville hat. Most recently, turns from the Duchess of Cambridge, in powder blue Elie Saab in 2019, and My Fair Lady-esque white lace Alexander McQueen in 2017, as well as Lady Kitty Spencer in Dolce & Gabbana and Sophie, Countess of Wessex in Emilia Wickstead, both in 2019, proved enduring Ascot best-dressed moments.

 

The race dates back to the 1700s, but it was at the turn of the 19th century that a dress code emerged, when Beau Brummel (a friend of the Prince Regent and early style savant who reportedly polished his boots with champagne) began demanding that male attendees must wear black coats, white cravats, and pantaloons. In 1910, to show respect for the late King Edward VII, those in attendance dressed entirely in black, save for the strings of pearls worn by the more fashionable female aristocrats. Today, Ascot boasts one of the most stringent dress codes in the world—guests of the Royal Enclosure must adhere to a 36-page dossier that specificies, among other things, the width of the straps on women’s dresses (one-inch), and the base of hats (10 centimeters). Dresses are expected to fall below the knee and halter neck dresses, and off-the-shoulder silhouettes are banned, as are fascinators and headbands. That’s not to say that the rules of the Royal Enclosure are completely unbendable, in 1971 Ascot allowed women to wear suiting for the first time, and in 2017 they introduced a stipulation allowing for jumpsuits.

 

However, anyone who finds such a detailed rulebook intimidating is largely missing the point. Codes have always been part of the joy of dressing up, and Ascot is the embodiment of an increasingly rare phenomenon: sartorial events that are reverent to tradition. It’s a tradition that continues to attract an outstanding number of guests. As Britain’s most popular racing meet, Ascot welcomes 300,000 racegoers over its five-day period (who, charmingly, consume 120,000 buttermilk scones and 80,000 cups of tea during that time), and is watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers in more than 200 countries around the world. Many attend and tune in, in part, for the chance to catch a glimpse of the Queen, who considers Ascot one of her favourite annual events. Her Majesty has attended every day of the meet for the last 66 years, save for 2020 and 2021, when the event was temporarily paused, and in 1953 when it clashed with her coronation. Punters have even taken to placing bets on which colour Elizabeth II will wear for each outing—over the course of six decades those colours have ranged from pistachio to lavender, strawberry to apricot. Always, however, the Queen has worn a bright hue that imbues the event with a sense of pomp, circumstance and—above all—joy. This is, after all, the woman who famously quipped “If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”