During my early childhood, I would often spend New Year’s Eve with my sister, Cécile, at the home of my grandparents, in the south-west of France, in the town of Montauban. Every year, my grandmother would tell me to watch out for the first 12 days of January, as they would set the tone for the 12 months to come.
Her warning had the power both to terrify me and to fill me with hope and smiles. So I would wake up on every one of those 12 days and check the weather (if it rained, a whole month’s weather forecast was ruined), my parents’ mood, my sister’s willingness to share her favourite shirt with me, the food that was served … anything that would give me an inkling of how the day would go and how it would define the months ahead.
Needless to say, after about the 20th of every January, I had forgotten what the days that started the month had indicated for the year to come. Yet now, years later, even though my grandmother has passed away, January arrives and I still make mental notes of the first 12 days of the new year; I don’t really believe that they’ll be a portent for things to come; I do it because, as I moved into (hopefully) a wiser stage of my life, I realised that my grandmother really wanted to teach me to pay attention to the world around me.
A talented seamstress, all her life she made beautiful clothes for us and, throughout her work, her attention to detail was resolute. By focusing my attention on those 12 days, she was pushing me to notice, consider and appreciate what was happening around me. She was teaching me to pay heed to things both significant and trivial, and to regard them all with affection, as they exist for a reason. She gave me a great deal – through her words, her indestructible optimism and her joie de vivre. Her interest in life, work and the people around her is something that I will cherish forever.
Today, I feel fortunate: I know that it is with exactly the same level of care that we have brought this issue to you. No page is less important than the other, no story less worthy of being told and shared than the next one. Everything we have written, shot, put together, double-checked and discussed is what we truly think warrants your full attention.
We are pointing out the beautiful things we hope you will want to see and care about: it might be the story of Tamara Chérie Dyson, the winner of the 2014 ELLE Rising Star in association with Mr Price competition, fabulous garments by talented designers from all around Africa, new looks for the season, the fascinating story of vinyl collectors or the shade of a particular lipstick. Remember, they all have a reason to exist.
I hope you take your time, open your eyes and enjoy it. It will be a great year, 2015.
Don’t forget to buy our January issue, currently on shelves now for just R33!