FLIGHTS OF FANCY
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
£720 Giorgio Armani
£835 Manolo Blahnik