When I was nine our family took in a french foreign exchange student, Jacques, for a month in early summer. He was my brother’s age at the time, thirteen, and a pain in everyone’s neck. He insulted my mom’s hot dogs that she prepared for dinner, refused to participate in summer camp and made fun of my eleven year-old sister’s French language skills. (Today she speaks perfect, fluent French.)
When it came time for my brother to head to Jacques family’s home in the French Riviera for the summer, he was not happy about the exchange. My parents thought it would be good for him. This was in the mid-90’s when international travel was still an event: less common, very exciting and much more expensive than today. He complained that he didn’t want to go. They replied that this was a privilege and it would build character.
He was going to have to endure six weeks of Jacques and whatever else was in store. He looked glum as he left for the airport. My sister and I felt bad for him. I remember wondering if I would ever see him again. It seemed like a long way to go and a long time to be gone. I was so glad it was not me.
A couple weeks into his trip, he called home. Back then, overseas phone calls were scant because of their expense. My mother chatted for a brief few minutes, asking a lot of questions. She got off the phone. My sister and I were hovering nearby. We were nervous.
“Is he okay?” We asked.
“Yes. He said the family is lovely. He’s enjoying it over there. They go to the beach, they sail, they eat well.”
Maybe Jacques is nicer in his own habitat? I thought.
My mother’s report brightened further. “There’s an older sister too. Delphine. She’s said to be beautiful.” She continued on, “I tell you guys, you could do a lot worse than the French Riviera for the summer… ”
I had never heard that name before and when it fell on my nine year-old ears I thought it was the loveliest name I had ever heard. All at once it was exotic, intriguing, feminine, and FRENCH – which to me has always been a word to mean glamorous, cool and confident. Delphine – her name, her beauty, her french lifestyle – took on an identity of its own in my imagination. She became a goddess of the riviera, an otherworldy beauty. A mystery and a force all in one.
I never met Delphine. She exists as a metaphor for me. Each day that we wake up and put ourselves together, the possibility of defining our own inner Delphine is within our reach.
I find myself often in dialogue with other women about the facialist who takes three years off your face, which perfumes stay fragrant until the end of the day, and how to style an office outfit that can take you straight into dinner. These are the silly and useful sorts of things I am constantly exploring and considering and discussing. I decided I should finally chronicle this curiosity of mine in a template to share, and so this blog, an ode to Delphine, was created. Here you will find a devotion to beauty and fashion – great products, trends, inspirational photography, beauty pointers and tips, my reflections on style – but because I believe the best secrets and discoveries come from the ground up instead of from the magazines down, here you will also find the wisdom and voices of my friends.
Defining Delphine is a metaphor for the journey toward feeling confident and beautiful. I hope you will join me as we embark!