17 Jun 2012

It Isn’t All Mink …Ginette Spanier… and Haute Couture

Ginette Spanier

I am married to one of those men who is a star when it comes to surprises. I am not talking big surprises… but little ones when you least expect it. What I am saying is that he knows me well… so well… and he is often on the look out for a small gift that I would enjoy. He is also pretty good when it comes to the grand gesture, but in truth it’s his thoughtfulness for no particular reason that I love so much. I will often come home and find a book, sitting on my desk… one that he has read about and found for me… or a magazine… or an article… all sorts of things that he knows would make me smile. He is a voracious reader and spys many fabulous articles about all things French (and all things girly) that I would otherwise miss.

It Isn’t All Mink miraculously appeared on my desk a couple of months ago… It’s not a new read but one first published in 1959, by Ginette Spanier.

” As Directrice of the House of Balmain – Ginette Spanier is at the height of her profession. This book is more than its own uninhibited and highly amusing inside account of the world of Haute Couture. It is the story of the gay and gifted girl, who during the 30’s took a job at Fornum and Masons and there discovered the talent for ‘selling very expensive things to very rich people’: who numbers many of the great names of the stage and cinema amongst her friends: who survived long years of hardship and continuous fear in occupied France.

She has achieved success in an unusual career, carried on in an atmosphere which is an exhilarating mixture of glitter, hysteria and big business and which demands just those qualities which she possesses in such generous measure: a sense of humour, of business ability, showmanship and personality.”

My copy is signed by Ginette Spanier, dated 1974 and includes a letter she wrote to one of her former clients from the House of Balmain. This memoir, with a foreward by Noel Coward, is a special glimpse into a world passed… extraordinary times and extraordinary circumstances… I think you will really love it… xv

For your library

It Isn’t All Minkhere

 for European readers… here

and from Alibris International Book Sellers… here

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40 Comments

Francine gardner

Dear Vicky: Your husband is a wonderful thoughtful man, it is indeed the small loving gestures that are the quintessential proof of love. I am to day celebrating my 30th anniversary and it is the deep friendship, love and … having breakfast in bed every morning since my wedding day…that keeps us together. I cannot wait to read It Isn’t all mink.
Bon week end, Francine

Reply
Dash

Your Husband sounds lovely, can he come and give mine some tuition!
I will definitely be checking this book out, it sounds right up my Alley.

Have a wonderful weekend.
X

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Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki!

How lovely to find this luscious post this morning as our Paris party has now come to a close, but the glamor and style of it all is still flows so graciously from YOU. MERCI MILLE FOIS for participating with us and I will be watching your blog closely; I have trouble however for your new posts do not show up on my list….I will come looking for YOU!

Bon samedi, Anita

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Clare

Wow! Your hubby is an absolute master of gift-giving! I’m amazed. This book must be a truly fabulous read.

~ Clare x

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Katherine

People who listen and quietly act on the knowledge are beyond thoughtful. Your description of your Husband made me smile….. I have a wonderful man just like that in my life and my heart.

The title of the book is enough to draw a reader in………. sounds interesting. Enjoy it!

Reply
Jane

Your husband sounds like mine…how lucky are we?!!

That lovely book is going on my wish list pronto….

Jane

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Helen Tilston

Dear Vicki

You delightful and thoughtful husband has given you a treasure in this book. You have a wonderful friendship as well, which is such a bonus. It is the little things and when they read our minds that makes it all so special.

I will seek out this book. I am off to spray some of my Gardenia Passion (my treasured gift from you) as we head off to a very special picnic

Helen xx

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Martine Alison

Vous avez beaucoup de chance d’avoir un mari aussi attentionné… Il a choisi un livre pour vous. C’est vraiment adorable.
Gros bisous.

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Elizabeth Kirkpatrick

I would love that book!Seems we both are lucky gals as I came home the other day and a new old FRENCH chandelier was hanging over my kitchen pine table!I had asked for it to be put up and was told not this weekend!!!!!!!!I was so THRILLED.IT truely is the little things!
xoxo

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Anita Rivera

Chère Vicki,

Merci for coming to visit me and I will put your name in for the win of le petit soulier de mon atelier!

What a generous husband you have. We are lucky women indeed, for my husband is also coming up with a surprise for me. He shows his love by making things for the house that have made our stone cottage a true French dream. He is my DREAMWEAVER!

Bon samedi, Anita

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Relyn

You know, I really love reading about wonderful husbands. I get such pleasure from the obvious love that shines through the lucky wive’s words. It makes me feel instantly kindred as I have a Prince Charming of my own. Aren’t we so blessed?

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Karena

Vicki give your husband a big hug from Moi for being so thoughtful and loving to you!!

I am off to check out this book!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena
2012 Artists Series

Reply
Keri

Hi Vicki,

This post completely sucked me in: small romantic gestures.. voracious reader.. thoughtful surprises and a book description that has me headed over to order it! I just ordered the book you recommended a few weeks ago, Paris in Color & am looking forward to its arrival. Thanks for the recommendation. I really enjoy your blog!

Keri

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Heather in Arles

My honey has many good qualities may alas…surprises are not at all up his alley save for one time only when he arranged for a private breakfast on a roof in Rajasthan to watch the kite festival while we sipped our coffee. The server brought everything up the ladder. I can forgive him for not thinking of more–perhaps he gave all he could on that one!

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Maria de Fatima Moraes Rodrigues

Olá Vicki, é um prazer receber seus posts, de uma qualidade e beleza unicas.
A matéria atual é super interessante, pois fala da delicadeza e dos pequenos e importantes gestos entre jum casal. Amei!
Afetuoso abraço.

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Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux

What a neat book – and truly a lovely husband! I am also lucky to have a husband who is very kind and full of little surprises – he has a wonderful knack of picking out beautiful pieces of handcrafted jewelry. Thanks for the fun post and reminding us not to take for granted the wonderful people that surround us everyday!

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A Gift Wrapped Life

Ahhh………….no wonder you keep him! He takes care of his queen quite well I would say. tell that prince of a guy that I hope he has the most wonderful Father’s day too. Much love XO

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The Enchanted Home

Vicki…cannot decide if I am more impressed by your husbands thoughtfulness or the title he selected, think the former! What a wonderful, kind and thoughtful man you have…I find that quality so endearing:) Surprises are wonderful especially when showered with love as all of his little surprises seem to be……

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Amanda Leader

I have It Isn’t All Mink on the shelf right next to me as I read this! Ginette Spanier was a friend of my grandmother’s and my copy is signed to her, 1959.

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kabayoz

Vicki, I do admire your husband, his love for you and the little things he does to show his love. When a man is happy and content…it really does show in the little things he does for those he loves. Salut to your wonderful man! And on the same note…to my wonderful husband, who is also a kind and loving father to his son and daughter, on Father’s Day, here in the U.S.

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Lynda Schekoske

Your husband sounds a gem. But Vicki, I love your writing and attention to detail and was surprised to read ‘forward’ instead of ‘foreword’ and ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ – you must have been tired when you wrote this piece!

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Kaaren Eastwood

Me too! I cannot believe so many spelling mistakes when I write replies to your blogs I promise I will proof read mine next time before publishing .

Reply
pve

Vicki,
Obviously, you have an extraordinary husband who knows that elegance is in the art of giving and finding just the right gift that will pluck at your extraordinary heartstrings. I think elegance needs to be revived. I want that book now! (and more elegance!)
pve

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Teri in NJ

Hmmm… how timely that I should get around to reading this on the day when I have just filed divorce papers! Thank you, Vicki, for reminding me of how it SHOULD be but certainly hasn’t been for myself and many wonderful women that I know. Here’s hoping I remember this and choose more wisely next time…

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Barbara

How wonderfully delicious to see that you have found & enjoyed my friend Ginette Spanier’s book IT ISN’T ALL MINK! I hope you have also found & read AND NOW IT’S SABLE.
I spent many a wonderful evening with Mme.Spanier & her Dr. husband ( poor Emile) Paul Emile Seidmann in their salon. Lovely for me to reminece about them so many years later.

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Suemo

September 5th 2013
Vicki, I started to write alerting you to Ginette’s next book, but “And Now It’s Sables” I see is already mentioned!. I loved her writing. Another very much older but interesting book was ” This Feminine World”, written by Mrs Robert Henry 1956. A parisian by birth, she wrote many books but in this one she wrote portraits of the personalities of the day, interviewing them, that helped make up ‘this feminine world’ at that time. These ranged from Mme Suzy Volterra, the Begum Aga Khan, Mme Jacques Fath, Christian Dior, Hubert Givenchy etc & the world of fashion & beauty as it was exemplified in Paris, the undisputed capital of the arts, to the lesser-known figures behind the scenes who were playing their equally important parts.

Reply

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