One of the women I most admire in the world of fashion journalism is Stephanie LaCava, the mysterious redheaded writer who bounces around Paris and New York dressed as a street style dream. As with most journalists I meet during fashion week, I want to know everything about them- how did they start, where do they come from, who do they write for, and most importantly, can we become friends? When I heard Stephanie came out with a memoir, I instantly ordered it for next day delivery from Amazon UK. I think the thing that attracted me to the memoir first was that it was written by Stephanie and the cover & binding is in my all time favorite sea foam green. (Don’t judge.)
I actually read excerpts and descriptions of the book after clicking purchase, and when it arrived on my doorstep the next day, it could not have been better timing. Not only is Paris rather grey and depressing during the winter months, but at this particular moment in life, I was feeling completely and totally lost in Paris (my home for 2.5 years!)- something, that happens when you’re a struggling freelance writer trying to find a (legal) place in a city that chews my kind up and spits us out somewhere far far away.
I read half of the book in less than a day. The next day, I kept reading. On the bus, at the laundromat, freezing outside at a café in the Marais (dining solo), the book went where I did. The stories so succinctly & emotionally expressed by Stephanie, about her struggles as a teen in France- her depression, her insecurities, and her obsession with strange, inanimate objects, her love of slip dresses and late night walks, her adolescent eating disorder, and finding beauty in the strange or obscure- resonated with me in a way that I have to attribute to good timing (has Mercury been in retrograde lately?) and stellar writing. I finished her book in record time (and if you know me at all, you will know that I am the Queen of reading a 75% of a book and then starting a new one) and then immediately passed it onto a friend, who fell equally in love with Stephanie’s stories.
An Extraordinary Theory of Objects is a poignant tale of a young girl trying to find her footing in the world, which becomes evidently difficult after she is exported to a bourgeois suburb of Paris because of her father’s mysterious job. As she battles the awkward years in a country that makes it easy for even the most confident girls lose their grace, Stephanie finds comfort in objects she collects along her journey. I particularly loved the stories of Stephanie and her brother hunting for treasures at the flea markets of Paris, like the bowl of glass eyeballs or the box covered in beetle shells, and the historical references explaining the significance of each object Stephanie mentions in the book. As if you haven’t already began ordering this book in a separate window, you should- this memoir is a must read. While it didn’t indulge me in stories of how Stephanie became the writer she is today, or give me a behind the scenes look at her life as a fashion journalist, there is still hope that those stories are to come in the next installment. Bravo Stephanie!
Stephanie LaCava will be reading and signing her book, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects in:
London: January 21 @ Bookmarc
Paris: January 23 @ Bookmarc, Marché Saint Honoré 6-8pm
Paris: February 1 @ Shakespeare & Co. 7pm
All proceeds of the special Stephanie LaCava x Marc Jacobs collaboration will go to The Child Mind Institute. How perfect.