“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”
(Oscar Wilde, quoted in “Oscar Wilde, an idler’s impression” by Edgar Saltus, 1917)
I’m a sucker for Oscar Wilde quotes. They’re so delightfully witty. The above one is a favourite of mine, perhaps because it applies to me seamlessly.
There’s no denying I was satisfied at the moment these photos were taken. It was a few minutes past 9 a.m. and we had just made the most delightful morning walk from the entrance of the Alhambra, all the way through the flourishing gardens, to the high point of the Alhambra, the Nazrid Palaces. After taking in the details of the Mexuar and the Oratorio, we gasped when stepping outside into the first courtyard on our path: the Patio del Cuarto Dorado (Courtyard of the Golden Room). Due to the early hour the light entering through the open roof had a soft, almost felt-like quality. The way it reflected on the sand coloured walls, illuminating the intricate stucco and colourful tile work, was prodigious. In my gushy view at least, which, I confess, might be more susceptible to romance than average.
(For the sake of precision, I should add that the last outfit photos in this post are taken in the Hall of the Ambassadors (Salón de Embajadores) and the Court of the Myrtles (Patio de los Arrayanes). More photos of these places will appear in a separate photo diary of the Alhambra.)
Completing my Oscar Wildish satisfaction, I was wearing one of my very favourite outfits ever. I was drawn to the classic aesthetic of the black and white hues, more specifically a very soft black (almost dark grey) and the kind of crisp white that succeeds better than any other shade in bringing out a beginning summer tan. It’s a simple outfit but for me those are often the most effective ones. Remember what Oscar Wilde said about simple tastes? There must be a Wilde quote about that but I do not find it at the moment. Well, Leonardo da Vinci is a good stand-in: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Part of that sophistication is another contrast: the one of textures: slightly edgy denim at the bottom and more dreamy crochet on top, which leaves this look just that little extra intriguing.
A timeless outfit in my view, that might even have passed the test of time in the eyes of the 14th century women who would peek down, in all discretion, from behind the lattice windows of the upper floors, on to the courtyard where emirs would give audiences to their subjects. My guess is that the men would have been either thrilled or scandalised (or perhaps both) by the show of bare skin. And what would they think of that coarse looking fabric they don’t know goes under the name of “denim”? Nothing good, I suspect. But I’d like to believe that the real experts, the women, would hastily descend from their private rooms to ask me the name of my tailor.
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