Belle Chatter

UK Editor Round-up: D-Day, Vintage Paris and Wartime Fashion

D-Day: 70 Years On

Tissues at the ready – just listening to Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ has me in tears, so goodness knows the mess I’ll be in on the 6th June, watching the 70th Anniversary celebrations of D-Day, broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall. Celebrations will of course also be taking place in Normandy too, all in commemoration of the troops who stormed the beaches to the echoes of Churchill’s rousing speeches and started ‘the beginning of the end’ of World War II. The British Legion announced some of the stars taking part in the celebrations:

Patrick Stewart, playing Sir Winston Churchill, will lead a cast of actors as they narrate stories – from right across Europe – based on extracts from D-Day diary entries and letters.

Patrick Stewart said: “I am delighted and proud to be part of this anniversary commemoration. Churchill wrote English to be spoken and I have always loved quoting his remark that ‘The greatest virtue is courage, because it makes all the other virtues possible’.”

The D-Day operation during the Second World War was the largest amphibious invasion in world history and was executed by land, sea and air.

And the indomitable Dame Vera Lynn, aged 97, will be releasing a new album of wartime songs, including some never heard before, to coincide with the anniversary.


Paris in the Springtime

PARIS, 1989

Four words which conjure up romance, Audrey Hepburn elegance, black-and-white photos of the City of Light. London Art Gallery Beetles & Huxley has a new exhibition featuring images from some iconic photographers across the decades, from wartime to flower power and beyond. If you can’t get to the exhibition, many of the photos are available on their website, and each one will make you fall in love with Paris all over again. They also explain the ideas behind the exhibition:

Paris and photography are the perfect match, and this exhibition contains key images by some of the major photographers that have fallen in love with, and photographed, the French capital.

On a simple level, the exhibition shows how photographers have responded to the famous charms of the city and its people. However, it is also an examination of the French cliché that has contributed to an international reputation for romance, culture and fine living. The “look” of France that we know from a thousand films, books, posters and advertisements was born in Paris.

I’m ending my current European trip in Paris in a couple of weeks time – because, where better? So I have been obsessing over these pictures as I get more excited about the prospect!


 Great War Fashion

As I’m clearly lost in a bout of nostalgia for eras long past, I was on the lookout for a fun vintage fashion piece to include here. Though I am a fan of the glamorous ‘Old Hollywood’ look, à la Rita Hayworth, what really caught my attention was this Huffington Post article about a new book entitled Great War Fashion: Tales from the History Wardrobe. The book is filled with vintage photography, advertisements and prints. As the article explains:

From the beginning of the war, organizations such as the Women’s Legion fell back on quasi-military styles as they designed uniforms. The next four years saw an unprecedented opportunity for women to adopt some of the status, duty and sense of belonging represented by uniforms.


These women may not be exhibiting glitz and glamour, but these wartime uniforms, totally radical at the time, changed the way we dressed forever, allowing women to wear practical clothes (gasp!) which they still manage to carry off with utter sass and style.


Skipping from the First to the Second World War brings us neatly back to where we started – and since I gave you plenty of warning to get tissues, I’ll leave you with the one and only Vera Lynn. We’ll Meet Again, dear Travel Belles, adieu for now!

Originally from Salisbury in the UK, Katy Stewart is an itinerant freelance writer. She indulges her passions for travel, film and literature at her blog, Starry-Eyed Travels. You can follow her on twitter @SEtravels.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Judith Works

    I have toured the Normandy beaches and surrounding towns – a moving experience that will make visitors contemplate the sacrifices of so many. It is so peaceful now it is hard to imagine the horror of those first days of the invasion.

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