SPECIAL DELIVERY BY SOPHIE VAN DER STAP
Most of the time, the postman forgets me, or maybe it’s me forgetting him, that’s possible too. But this year, he came by and insisted that I get down to the post office asap to collect the parcel that was waiting for me there, a package that had been signed by a certain Sylvie. I popped the piece of paper in my pocket and ran to the post office; after all, it’s not every day that you get a present from Sylvie.
I left the post office with a massive box. Given that the package contained five new people, I thought it only right that it was the size it was, that is, so big that I almost couldn’t walk with it. But I did think it was a little odd that it could be so light. Could it really be that easy to walk in another person’s shoes? In another woman’s?
Once I got home, I opened the parcel like an overexcited child. I took out five beautiful black cardboard Hunkemöller boxes, with a lingerie set in each one. I was already familiar with them, as a few months ago I personally witnessed how they transformed Sylvie from a sweet girl picking flowers in the Tuileries to a femme fatale at the quai du Trocadero, and then into a preppy girl who looked like she came straight out of a boarding school. As she slipped into each of these roles, they ceased being roles; Sylvie simply became the role.
Fantastic, I thought to myself, I want to do that too. Be all those women that is. And now I can: all the roles lie in front of me in five little boxes. I take a look outside. Apparently the weather and the time of day are going to decide which role I’m going to play first: it’s raining and dusk is falling. The perfect setting for an evening on the sofa, but the lingerie has other ideas. I open up each of the boxes. The Sweet One, the French Maid, the Boarding School type, la Femme Fatale, the Lady. I take another look outside. It’s bucketing down now. Hmmmm. The sweet girl isn’t going to help me get to the other side of the Seine on this wet and windy evening. It’ll have to be la Femme Fatale then. I put on the set and… the magic begins. As soon as the soft material of the lingerie and the stockings slides over my skin, I can feel another woman taking me over, a woman with no insecurities, a woman who knows what she wants. Quite possibly, the best kind of woman to be, but I won’t be able to share that with you until tomorrow.
Sophie van der Stap loves Paris, languages, stories and people, whiling away rainy days in small museums and combing bric-a-brac and antiques markets for vintage treasures and one-of-a-kind dresses on sunny days. She also really loves having lunch on her own with a good book and a carafe of wine in one of the many Parisian bistros in the city.
Sophie van der Stap started writing by pure accident and because the life and image of being a writer in Paris appealed to her. Her first book, Meisje met negen pruiken [literally: The girl with nine wigs] was published by Uitgeverij Prometheus and filmed in Germany by director Marc Rothemund. For a very long time, she thought that all she wanted to do was write books, so that’s exactly what she did. Until two years ago that is, when she started writing shorter pieces and found a home for them at daily Dutch newspaper NRC. She is now trying to write in French, something she has a love/hate relationship with. Every now and then, a wonderfully unexpected collaboration comes her way, such as the book The Sylvie Collection by Hunkemöller and this blog for Hunkemöller. She still finds the image of being a writer in Paris a brilliant one.
- 06 February, 2020
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