Renoir when it rains

The last few days have been overcast and brimming with the kind of temporary (but potent) melancholia that always comes with heavy rainfall.

I was inspired by the transformative effect of rain as seen in Pierre Auguste-Renoir’s Les Parapluies (The Umbrellas). The people in the painting seem almost to merge with the rest of the background; it’s as if the somber blacks, navies and grays from the sky and umbrellas have bled onto the people’s period fashions and even their expressions.  Life doesn’t stop when it rains, but maybe things are just a little cozier, a little lovelier when things glisten with fresh raindrops.

This dress from Zara reminded me so much of the painting in all of its evocative, dreamy detail. The lace has a delicate floral pattern with a unique blend of dark moss green, ivory, dark taupe, and grey with an off-white underlay underneath. When I move, the a-line skirt swings gently, making the lace overlay appear weightless and airy.

To make the dress work-appropriate, I added a satiny fitted black blazer with a very thin, modern lapel. I was keen on the fact that the jacket’s light shimmer was very similar to the umbrellas’ effect as seen in the painting.

For a dress as lovely as this, I only added some subtle purple earrings. I like how they remind me, in shape and in its color gradient, of raindrops mid-fall.

Inspired by the subjects in the painting, I only added simple black shoes to  finish the look. The pair on the left are simple pumps with a 1-inch heel and removable ankle straps. The pair on the right are black flats with a removable bow. The simple shoe style makes the outfit all about the dress.

Picture credit: Renoir Gallery 

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