FLIGHTS OF FANCY

Harper's Bazaar (UK) - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

As a child, I was com­pletely be­guiled by PL Travers’ Mary Pop­pins sto­ries; to such a de­gree that when I saw the Dis­ney film, it was a slight dis­ap­point­ment. True, the songs were un­for­get­table, and Julie An­drews was beau­teous, but I’d never imag­ined that Mary would be quite such an an­gelic fig­ure, and Hol­ly­wood’s Tech­ni­color car­toons sim­ply weren’t as as­ton­ish­ing as the mys­te­ri­ous land­scape of the orig­i­nal books.

In Dis­ney’s new film ver­sion, how­ever, Emily Blunt plays the fa­mous nanny with the same streak of thrilling un­pre­dictabil­ity as the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter, which is why we are so de­lighted to be cel­e­brat­ing her on our cover this month (along with a charm­ing robin red­breast and a pack of harum-scarum dogs). Sim­i­larly, the spirit of magic – with a dash of may­hem – runs through the rest of the is­sue, too, in­spired by Travers’ won­der­fully anar­chic con­tri­bu­tions to Harper’s Bazaar in the 1930s. In her world, the ev­ery­day land­scape of Lon­don con­tains li­ons and uni­corns, min­gling with the fa­mil­iar flocks of pi­geons; and though we have no myth­i­cal beasts in this edi­tion, we do fea­ture deerhounds, horses, ravens, owls and a pair of twin chin­chilla kit­tens. Keen read­ers of Mary Pop­pins will re­mem­ber that she un­der­stands the lan­guage of an­i­mals and birds; and for­tu­nately for us, we have a bril­liant con­tem­po­rary equiv­a­lent in Richard Phibbs, who pho­tographed Emily Blunt and our fan­tas­ti­cal fash­ion ex­trav­a­ganza – both of which in­volved his con­sid­er­able tal­ents as a dog-whis­perer, as well as his love of all crea­tures, great and small.

Mean­while, if you are won­der­ing whether you might be too old for Mary Pop­pins: I can only sug­gest that in my ex­pe­ri­ence, Christ­mas tends to con­jure up chaos, and that the ap­peal of Travers’ sto­ries is that they re­veal the en­chant­ment that ac­com­pa­nies pan­de­mo­nium, just as much as our de­sire for or­der to be re­stored. Therein lies the true magic of the sea­son… the wild winds and mis­chief, stir­ring up the re­as­sur­ing scent of Sun­light soap and toast.

Emily Blunt wears Dior in this month’s cover story (page 112). Be­low: Kati Nescher at HolkhamHall (page 128)

£2,130 Rado £1,750 Gior­gio Ar­mani Bot­tega Veneta

Jus­tine Pi­cardie PS: Don’t miss the chance to sub­scribe to Harper’s Bazaar– turn to pages 45 and 89 for this month’s of­fers.

£825 Rok­sanda From a se­lec­tion Jes­sica McCor­mack

£1,260

£720 Gior­gio Ar­mani

£835 Manolo Blah­nik

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