Tag Archives: alice in wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Speaking of Marc Jacobs, he is featured in one of the best Vogue portfolios of all time, from the December 2003 issue. It features Natalia Vodianova as Alice, and showcases frocks from Chanel, Versace, Gucci, and Lacroix to name a few. I love how Vogue incorporated the designers themselves into the story – Galliano as the Queen of Hearts, Tom Ford as the White Rabbit, Jean Paul Gaultier as the Cheshire Cat, Viktor + Rolf as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Christian Lacroix as the March Hare, and my beloved Marc Jacobs as the Caterpillar (I had this picture of him hanging up in my closet for years).

Here’s the shoot in its entirety (photographed by Annie Leibovitz).



alice 3











Skillin’ In Wonderland

President Fox lives in the White House now.

If the White House was in Wonderland instead of Washington the South Lawn would probably look something like this:

skillin' in wonderland



She lives in a world that’s half real, half her dreams
Nothing is ever quite what it seems
She is the roof and they are the beams
And it all comes tumbling down.

Where have you been, he asks with a frown
I’ve heard all the stories going round town
They say that you’re trying to knock yourself down
Why would you do such a thing?

How can you know what your choices will bring?
You’d like to stop by with a book and a ring
Thinking you might someday get me to sing
But you’ll never hear me do that.

Sometimes she feels like the Cheshire Cat
All gleaming white teeth, in a tree branch she sat
While the man poured his tea, in a checkered top hat
This is surely the end of it all.

Sometimes the world seems so terribly small
She threw down a brick and it shattered a wall
She lost her balance, could not stop the fall
She’s broken, but closer to free.


lewis carroll

I was never a huge fan of poetry. When I had to study it in high school and college (you can’t really complete an English Lit degree without having to read at least some poetry — believe me, I tried) I remember rolling my eyes and thinking it was all so dense and inaccessible. Prose just always made more sense to me. You say what you mean and you mean what you say.

As I got older, though, I started to develop an appreciation for poetry. Sometimes verse can paint an amazingly vivid picture, and convey a mood or a setting just as effectively as a lengthier block of prose. I love the fragmentation of ideas that poetry allows for. Sentences don’t need to be finished, the completion of thoughts is not a requirement. The reader will still glean meaning, with perhaps more room for imagination and spontenaity than prose can provide. Poetry can be both playful and profound, in the right hands (or pen, as the case may be).

One of my very favourite poems, in fact, is probably the ultimate example of nonsense verse. With ‘Jabberwocky’ Lewis Carroll literally invented words out of thin air and strung them together to create his poem, but even though probably 50% of the lines are total gibberish you still get a completely vivid sense of what is happening in the narrative. Here is the poem:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought–
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Here are my favorite terms: ‘vorpal sword’, ‘manxome foe’, ‘uffish thought’, and ‘frabjous day’. Each one of these combines a nonsense word with a real word, and even though vorpal, manxome, uffish, and frabjous don’t mean anything, you know exactly what they mean — or, at least, you have a reasonably good idea. You can use your imagination to project onto these words whatever images make them sensical to you.

My favourite line has always been: ‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?’ I don’t know why, exactly. It has a nice ring to it, and I like how Carroll uses very formal language here to inject a sense of earnest gravitas amongst all the absurdism. The entire poem, really, is both silly and solemn at the same time. Like much of life.