Sunday Chronicles: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

movie poster-pink- with an older woman in a skirt suit and hate, holding a briefcase with Dior dresses, a man raising his hat and two women in the background with text Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

This week I went to the movies for the first time since the pandemic started. There’s a whole post to be written about my love for movies, how I used to go at least once a week, and how nervous I was to go back to the movie theater. I did wear my mask the whole time, chose a smaller theater, and a weekday matinee. All which made me feel more comfortable. But. This post is about Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, which was not only a great movie to see (and about fashion!) but a movie that reminded me why I love movies and stories so SO much.

Not giving the entire plot away, but in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris a London cleaning lady in 1957 saves up to buy herself a Dior dress (when it was still all couture), and her adventures doing so. I will never be the one to discourage you from saving and buying yourself something beautiful (Dior dress or not), but that wasn’t the only thing I loved about this movie!

I loved that Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris reminded me that:

Fashion is Magical
an older woman in a teal cardigan and red hat looks on in awe , behind her sit a woman in a floral dress and a man in a black suit

When Mrs. Harris gets to Paris, specifically to the House of Dior, she stumbles into a fashion show. Her expressions during the display of dresses, suits, coats, and hats is simply one of awe. She even claps at certain looks. I understand that impulse- I’ve clapped when buying shoes. But it was a reminder that fashion is magical, it can make you feel things, it’s awe inspiring. Yes, fashion is functional and tells our stories, and is often beautiful, but I think that sometimes we forget that the combination of all of those many things that fashion is can be magic. And sometimes, in a couture house, or when we see fashion that moves us, or when fashion is incredibly beautiful, I think the appropriate response is to call it magic and be awe struck by it.

Fashion is mad of details
One scene in the movie, one of the workers gives Mrs. Harris a tour of the Dior workroom. From buttons to patterns to embellishments, there was an attention to detail- from the magical to the mundane. Yes, the movie reminded me that fashion (and we) are magic, but there is also function, business, work, and detail that goes into fashion. Yes, there are conversations to be had about who makes our clothes, how they make them, and our own needed details. I loved that this movie- about the magic of fashion- took the time to point them out. And it was also a reminder to me that the little things about our outfits- the ones we think maybe no one notices? They matter.

Our Stories Matter
In the film, Mrs. Harris is a simple war window, a cleaner called an “invisible woman” by more than one person. Yet her story- falling in love with a dress, yearning for that beauty, saving and coming to live out her dream inspires others. From love to work, Mrs. Harris inspires and changes the lives of those who she comes into contact with. In this blog I’ve made it my mission to tell our stories, with fashion, to make sure that our stories matter. There was a part in the movie where it’s mentioned that even if Mrs. Harris is simply going to keep her Dior dress for herself that it’s worth it, and I agree with that. I also agree with the notion that the stories we tell- who we are, what we do, what we wear, can change others.

There is so much more to this movie. I truly loved every minute of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (I may have to get back to the theater more often!), and highly suggest seeing it! It’s also a book (which I’m reading), and I believe that you can get the entire Mrs. Harris series (she also goes to New York and Moscow!) on Kindle for under $10!! And because of who I am, and the stories I tell, I did make my movie going outfit an occasion:
a woman in a blue silt shirt, white pleated silk skirt, studded brown sandals stands in front of a red wall, brown door, sink
(The skirt is vintage Dior because I love a theme!)

Have you made it back to the movies? Have you seen (or read) Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris? What were your take aways?

Wishing us all a week of magic and amazing shoes!XO RA