Gratitude in Blue: Give with Grammar

WORDS Callie Smith

PHOTOGRAPHS Yekaterina Gyadu

Callie responds to our Fall Fairytale Editorial, photographed by Yekaterina Gyadu, with Model Silvia Ranguelova and Beauty by Yana Gorcheva.

As a response to Callie's response, we're donating a portion of sales to an organization she volunteers with weekly: Acadiana Native Plant Project. Read more about this incredible organization below.

In 2011,The New Yorker, NPR, The Atlantic, among others, published articles about a recent scientific discovery in the lepidopterist community: novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s 1945 hypothesis about the Polyommatus blue butterflies was right. These iridescent, blue-topaz-hued butterflies, whose coloration varies from solid blue to wings mottled with brown spots, migrated to the Americas in five successive waves across the Bering Strait over a period of 10 million years. It is a marvel that in one lifetime Nabokov was not only one of the best novelists of the twentieth century, but also a groundbreaking researcher and curator of the butterfly collection at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology whose discoveries were decades ahead of his time.

Channeling Girl With a Pearl Earring

Yeka and Silvia create a moment frozen in time that recalls Vermeer's classic painting.

But wait,what do Nabokov and butterflies have to do with GRAMMAR? When Althea asked me if I would like to write something in response to this photoshoot, I knew that whatever I came up with would in some way be inspired by the stunning blue backdrop and how each design seems to glow against the rich blue. As someone who has spent hours looking at and writing about GRAMMAR’S beautiful designs, this visual collaboration between photographer Yeka and model Silvia best captures the luminous quality and cut of the fabric. After thinking about my favorite blue things including Pluto’s icy atmosphere and the unrivaled size and majesty of a blue whale--Earth’s largest animal--I remembered a short composition by Max Richter, “Vladimir's Blues.” It was through music, a 2020 Tiny Desk performance by Richter, that I first learned about Nabokov's scientific pursuits.

A Romantic Gesture

From the willowy silhouette to the perfectly pleated cuffs, every expression of The Poetry Blouse is lyrical and romantic.

It is this spiritof multi-disciplinary layers of inspiration that first led me to GRAMMAR. In January, I sent a message to GRAMMAR’S Instagram account saying how much I admired the brand and its clever use of a foundational text on grammar, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. On the surface, it wasn’t clear why Althea should agree to work with me, a PhD candidate in English living in Louisiana with no prior experience writing for the fashion industry, but she did. There are so many ways in which GRAMMAR is exceptional, but for me, I will always love GRAMMAR because of Althea and the creativity that she inspires--butterflies and all.

Space to Dream

The Inflection Jumpsuit wraps you in a luxurious cocoon, perfect for winter snuggling and reading your favorite book.

This holiday, your GRAMMAR purchase will do even more good for our planet by supporting the Acadiana Native Plant Project (ANPP), a Louisiana-based, volunteer-run nonprofit that advocates for ecosystem health via native plants.

Again and again, Louisiana makes headlines as a hotbed of environmental crises: hurricanes, oil spills, “Cancer Alley,” among others. The native plant movement is a tangible way for people in Louisiana and nationwide to make a difference in their backyards and beyond.

ANPP Team Collecting Seeds

Native plants support the local ecosystem in Louisiana

The Acadiana Native Plant Project is one of several regional organizations across the nation advocating for the importance of native plants. Your purchase supports us in the following ways:

$50:A tray of cone-tainers. Several species of native plants have long tap-roots adapted for drought tolerance. Special, cone-shaped containers give native plants room to take root. One tray supports 100 plants.

$100:A “native plant starter kit” reduces costs for groups interested in growing native plants.

$200:Scholarship for a local farmer. A shortage of native seeds is one of the biggest obstacles for large-scale native plant projects. ANPP will partner with local farmers to produce native seeds.

Interested in learning more about native plants? Check out these resources:

Recommended reading: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Doug Tallamy.

Live in the northeast? Visit Wild Ones to find a native plant organization near you.

Learn more about the Acadiana Native Plant Project at Greaux Native!

Callie with Seeds

Callie shows off seeds she's gathered for the Acadiana Native Plant Project.

The Polyommatus Blue Butterfly

Novelist, researcher, and curator Vladimir Nabokov's 1945 hypothesis turned out to be true.

Fall Fairytale

See the inspiration for the above written piece.

A Poem

Read another one of Callie's Grammar responses