There are several fashion diaries we’d get our Houli’s in a twist over - Kate, Karl, Naomi – but, and we never thought we’d say this, the book we’re most excited about reading this summer is the diary of an eleven year old.
But this is not ANY eleven year-old girl, you understand. This is the diary of a young Edie Beale, a girl who would later become the most quirky style icon of the 20th century after the iconic 1976 documentary ‘Grey Gardens’ which took a candid look at her and her mother Big Edie’s life in a dilapidated house in the Hampton’s and was turned into an HBO film last year starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.
The diaries were written in 1929 when Edie was only eleven years old (eleven! Take THAT Tavi Gevinson) and whereas our diary aged eleven was filled with prosaic twaddle – losing our glitter pen in English and moaning about the cat giving us evils – the preview of 'I Only Mark the Hours that Shine’ looks to be an extraordinarily well-written and colourful account of life in The Hamptons in 1929, the year of the great Depression.
The cover quote tells the story of one of young Edie’s shopping trips. She writes “I bought some wonderful things, a marvellous tennis racket which was $15.00 but I got it for $10.00, also...some perfume for Mother - a new kind: you press a button, the metal case opens, and out pops the perfume.”
We are massively hoping that the diary is filled to the brim with brilliant new quotes like this from Miss Beale but since it’s not yet been released we’ve allowed our furtive imagination to continue Edie’s story (for the real deal, though, you can pre-order online now or pop to the shops on August 1st.)
Mother loved the perfume; less so the tennis racket which I had wanted to wear as a brooch to School. We had quite a fight, so I took off my skirt in toilets during first break and wore it as a cape until home time. Because I don't like women in skirts, you see. And you can always take off your skirt and use it as a cape. Caused quite a stir in gym class, but I said to the games mistress, I said that this was a revolutionary costume for today. She seemed stumped, but then she is rather narrow-minded. Never trust a woman who thinks brass buttons make her look chic.
Somehow Mother found out about the cape incident. I suspect the garden help for telling her. You can never be too careful around people these days. She sent me to my room for a whole day with the raccoons, but they'd bitten a hole in the wall so I squeezed through and went into town wearing a bathing costume and my favourite turban. My God, East Hampton is so pedestrian! They can practically get you for wearing red shoes after Labour Day.
Refused to talk to Mother for half a day but she was having a dinner party this evening and I felt should provide some entertainment. I do wonderful dances, you know. Kind of a cross between the Charleston and an American jive. Only with flags.
Dance went down a treat, though one of the cats began to do its business on a portrait of Father during the improvised end section and I had to cut the whole thing short. Went to the beach today. Wore a kimono and headscarf but lost one of Mother’s hatpins in the sand. Intending to blame the help.
- Alex Butt