La Petite / by Kamie Chang Kahlo

La Petite rings from Paola of Le Chou Chou

What do these adorable tea rings have to do with Proust, Swan Lake or Best Actress Natalie Portman? (And, no I will not muddy the waters with the 4th degree of separation, M. Galliano’s drunken rant.) In the 3 degrees of separation Proust's novel, "Swann's Way" involves the odd relationship of M. Swann and his beloved Odette, a rather plain, average girl with whom Swann ‘drowns’ in his love for. Was this a witty literary nod to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake where the main character Odette battles with her adoration of the beloved Prince Siegfried whom she can only meet in death by plunging her feathery incarnation into the dark lake? And did Natalie Portman, the Harvard graduate, take her leap of love knowing that Proust would be riding her wings to Oscar night? Both the second and third questions may never be confirmed. 

But this is what I can tell you in my opinion. Proust's charming story is the first volume from 7 in the novel, Remembrance of Things Past and I understand Lydia Davis does a fine translation in English. Swan Lake is one of the most beautiful and tragic ballets. Odette is a character that will forever attract endless interpretation; she is complex and sweet because of her passion and the spell that is cast upon her. She is not Odile, her dark imposter but, since both roles are played by the same ballerina, the roles themselves become one. The dancer melds into a duality both dark and light. Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her recent portrayal of a ballerina caught between reality and fantasy in her quest to be consumed and eventually destroyed by the roles of Odette and Odile (the White Swan and her evil counterpart, The Black Swan). Although Portman's performance was assiduous and penetrating to say the least, she is not a ballerina. So her part was less about the complex feelings of a dancer and more about the madness of a pathetic child.

The ring? So sweet, a slice of heavenly citrus floats in the abyss of dark tea. La Petite, the ring, was inspired by Swann's Way, which may have been inspired by Swan Lake, which was most definitely portrayed by Oscar winner Natalie Portman. Who would have thought a whimsical ring could have such an intense and multifaceted meaning? You can get it and the other components of the story’s inspiration at Etsy shop Le Chou Chou!