I have always been a collector of pretty things. When I was a child, my father gave me pieces of Victorian and Jazz-Age pottery he would dig up in the garden of our country house upstate, and my mother would save the beads and stones from her broken vintage jewelry, which we would bring out on rainy afternoons. The pottery lit my imagination with fantasies of garden parties and croquette matches, and my mother’s beads became the currency of some imaginary bartering game that we both now admit had no rules or real objective.
It should come as no surprise that this penchant for the impractical and fanciful has not left me. As an adult, I have begun to collect coffee table books (they’re like the physical manifestation of Instagram, I promise). Two of my favorites are In the Spirit of St. Barths, written by Pamela Fiori and published by Assouline, and Irreverent, by Carine Roitfeld and published by Rizzoli. The former allows me to dream of vacations I hope to one day take in a place that combines two of my favorite elements of travel—the beach and French food. The latter is a scrapbook memoir of a woman I very much admire and good-naturedly envy; as the editor of French VOGUE, Roitfeld consistently rocked all of our worlds, and this collection of her work makes me feel as if I’ve stretched my aesthetic eye each time I open it.
The highest value a beautiful thing can possess is the ability to inspire beauty within us.