Marlowe Granados' Spring Fling
Marlowe Granados is a writer who knows a thing or two about frivolity. Capturing the critics’ attention with her stunning debut novel, Happy Hour, the book tells the story of a heady New York summer in which the protagonists, Isa and Gala, flit from cocktail parties to industry events, their antics fizzing like a glass of chilled champagne on a summer’s eve.
With winter in the rear-view mirror, who better to attend summer’s soft launch party and get us dreaming of the warmer weather? In her characteristic anecdotal style, Granados takes us on a cocktail-soaked fantasy ride, talking us through her spring essentials. Consider this an ode to your new spring mood.
The winter days passed without distinction, morphing from one grey sky to another. Somehow, books kept arriving on my doorstep, but I never got around to reading them. They sat in piles around my apartment, untouched. In the meantime, I have been desperately preoccupied with fantasies about the near future, which always appears more glamorous and enticing. Spring is for dreamers, and that’s what I’ve been doing for much of the last eight weeks—dreaming of sun, pleasure, change. I scroll through apartment listings, tropical vacations, and last-minute flights with a kind of frenzied excitement.
I will shed the dull skin of winter and go forth into the warm spring air. The list of what I imagine I will need for the upcoming season expands, with an eye for curating a new destiny. The possibilities are endless - Who will I meet? Where will I go? What will I wear? The latter being of the utmost importance. Besides charisma, clothes really do set the tone - and I like things spirited. When I get this way, my friends look at each other and remark: “She’s got that dangerous look.”
I imagine myself on the beach in Quintana Roo drinking a Campari soda in a Pucci kaftan. I’d get those tan lines that make for the best summer accessory; the 45-degree shadow of a bikini strap around the neck. I’ll go to a dear friend’s wedding where I’m guaranteed to cry, dabbing my face with a silk scarf stashed discreetly in my pearl Vanina purse.
Maybe I’m out in Tuscany dining al fresco after a day of hiking wearing some sensible boots - I’ve always wanted to walk the gardens of the Medici villas and drink wine in Montepulciano. Perhaps Italy is where I’ll fall for a handsome man in head-to-toe Lemaire drinking an espresso standing up - but I must be careful. As Barbara Pym writes, “Surely many a romance must have been nipped in the bud by sitting opposite somebody eating spaghetti.”
I have a natural desire to live life like a Florine Stettheimer painting (whether this is a good thing is still up for debate). Have you ever seen one? They’re rhapsodic; all colour and dancing and cocktails. My favourite is called Spring Sale At Bendel’s, which captures all the glory of throwing on a dress with its price tag still on, a boa for size, and a delicate pump that is so irresistible you say, “I’ll wear them out of the store!” Like one of the New York socialites in her paintings, I dream of wearing a feather-trimmed 16Arlington dress and getting swept up by the sparkling mood of a party - maybe fall into a lively debate, or new liaison. The shoe I’d wear to dance must be satin, maybe bejewelled, but definitely Manolo. I’d wear earrings that look like they’ve been plucked from a constellation of stars to add a touch of the surreal. Frankly, we all need to get into the habit of dressing up, because that’s where the fantasy begins.
Nevertheless, not all fun has to be had away from home. Dorothy Draper, the 20th century interior designer wrote that the recipe for entertaining is, “Take what you’ve got; mix well with imagination, courage, a dash of humour and the desire to enjoy life. The result is guaranteed to please.” Sage advice that is not limited to hosting.
I can see it now - friends will text me on their Summer Fridays (starting in May), wanting to come by for a cheeky drink. I’ll serve martinis out of the most charming cocktail glasses, while practising how much Vermouth is really too much, as I’ve never been one to measure. If my guests are fine with the only food being the olives in their glass, entertaining at home really could be a success. (That reminds me to look for Cantilever chairs for extra seating. See, the spring shopping list just expands!)
Lastly, I am looking forward to ushering in other people’s dreams of the new season. I will receive texts and photos of outfits saying, “What about this for my cousin’s wedding?” Together we will go from hair to toe. There’s a real pleasure in encouraging others to add a little flair, to unleash the fabulous side of themselves. Every sartorial choice can be a catalyst for something good. I will say things like: “Add a colourful shoe!” Or: “Tie a scarf in your hair, and never forget to wear earrings.” After that, how they pursue their evenings is up to them—I know what I’d do…
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Marlowe Granados is the author of Happy Hour (Verso, 2021), a novel the New York Times called “confident, charismatic and alive to the pleasure of observation.” She is a writer and filmmaker based in Toronto.