Nostalgic, magical umbrellas and romantic adventures
When I think of umbrellas, two works of fiction come to mind: the well known children's book "Mary Poppins" set in 'Cherry Tree Lane' London by P. L. Travers and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" 1964 film, written and directed by Jacques Demy. Mary Poppins is about the grown up world experienced magically, by children, and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is about two young people growing through the magic of youthful hopes and dreams, into the reality of two mature people. Anyway, both of them feature umbrellas and the winds of change! And another connection - the first Disney film adaptation of the Mary Poppins was also released in 1964.
Here is the wonderful - original - trailer for the "Mary Poppins" film.
And here is the trailer for the Cherbourg film (it's a musical by the way). If you love 1960s fashion and style this is a fabulous film to discover. It features a wonderful umbrella shop in France, packed with parapluies and lavishly papered with hot pink and green striped wallpaper. If you catch it over Christmas, it does include a Christmas scene towards the end. A real gem. Keep your tissues handy though!
Well, I mention all this to set the mood, as I'd like to introduce a fantastic set of truly magical umbrellas that I just added to the shop. They must have been made by elves, as they're exactly like human umbrellas on a tiny scale. You slide the metal centre of the spokes up to the clip and the umbrella bounces into a taut shower proof dome of perfection, just like a real life size version.
Scale 1:6 working umbrellas are really very hard to find. It's much easier to find scale 1:4 versions but they are too chunky for Sindy and Barbie sized dolls. I've never seen a scale 1:12 'doll's house size' working umbrella except for a paper cocktail umbrella, but perhaps they exist?
I also have a couple of Takara Tomy umbrellas in pink with white polka dots. These have plastic spokes, but they're equally satisfying.
Next time you are in London (hopefully some time soon, in the post-covid future) track down this marvellous umbrella shop James Smith & Sons on Oxford Street. It's been in London's West End for nearly 200 years.
Of course, after the fame of the film there must be some umbrella shops in Cherbourg! But I'd like to finish this umbrella inspired blog post, with a link to an article about Thierry Millet "The Last Umbrella Fixer of Paris" because a broken umbrella deserves to be mended and tended, just like a broken doll.