2 Jan 2014

Mademoiselle au chapeau rouge

Quick drawing of the view out of my bedroom window in Grenoble.

This was essentially just an exercise in drawing quickly and without worrying too much about proportions. I suppose I was thinking along the lines of Matisse's Blue Nudes and I quite like how it came out.

Story time:
So, about two months ago it started getting kind of chilly in Grenoble, inspiring me to get my red bobble hat out from the back of the wardrobe. The first day I wore it was on the day we went walking up to L'Ecoutoux and before we started the walk we stopped in a little village where I went into a shop to buy some walking essentials (chocolate-covered waffles). As I was standing at the counter waiting to pay for my v. important purchase, a Frenchman came through the door and upon seeing me exclaimed: "Ah! C'est mademoiselle au chapeau rouge!" He and the shopkeeper looked amused as I humoured their unexpected reaction to my hat, smiling good-naturedly and thanking the shopkeeper as he handed me my change.
After that, I started to notice that my red hat garnered an unusual amount of attention even in the city. People would do small double-takes as they passed me on the street, I would quite often hear the word 'rouge' whispered as I went through my day-to-day business. I assumed that my red hat was simply a little out of place amongst the sea of black that is the French sartorial palette. Then, just last week, I remembered something I'd heard about my first week at uni: les bonnets rouges, notorious right-wing protesters from over Nantes way. I wondered, eyes going wide as I sat astride my bicycle: do people think my red hat is a symbol? Do they think I'm aligning myself with les bonnets rouges? I cast my mind, trying to remember if I'd ever seen anyone else wearing a red hat, trying to retroactively look for clues that people had assumed I spent my free time trailing Francois Hollande around the country, telling him he's rubbish in various imaginative ways.
I'm hoping it is the former, rather than the latter, explanation that accounts for the curious reactions to my red hat, but either way there will always be a small part of me who identifies as Mlle au chapeau rouge.

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