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"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon ; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English Language."   Henry James in Edith Wharton’s A Backward Glance, 1934

Recently, SALONI has been recalling summer afternoons and the feeling of being in love for the first time.

These inspirations are the starting point for light, colourful, and effortlessly elegant clothes, perfect for a sultry summer’s day and whatever it may bring.

They are perfect for the day trips and romantic getaways we take with current lovers, perhaps not in the first throws of love, but delighting in each others company and ready for languid or lively days spent in the sun. Clothes that transport you to another place like a second skin, ready for a lover’s kiss, a sun-soaked afternoon picking flowers or exploring a beautiful old house in the Italian countryside.

SALONI’s creative director Nikhil Mansata and photographer Suleika Muller recreated the mood of first love in a series of atmospheric images that capture the high summer collection. They looked to the work of film makers, mystics, poets and pop stars across the ages all of whom have been inspired by love.

In the luminous film “Call Me By Your Name“ the lovers Elio and Oliver repeat each others names, an incantation of love, burning like a flame. As Nikhil reflects, the house in Crema, Lombardy or the food and colours, whether Oliver’s emerald green shirt or the patina of the ancient statues as they emerge from the Adriatic sea, all immerse one in a world of summer and Elio’s first love.

Because who can forget the rapture of first love. The dream-like feeling of magic in the air, when every detail, colour and mood is turned up in full colour. The excitement of each fleeting glance shared spins the mind in heady delight. The way gazing into each others eyes travels straight to your heart. Each time you look you notice the way they smile or laugh, and you fall in love with them a little more.

Rabia al Basri (717–801) was an eight centaur Sufi mystic, she wrote, ”Without You, my Life, my Love, I would never have wandered across these endless countries.”

When you fall in love no mountain is high enough, every song is a message and every sunrise a sign.

Why do we call it “falling” or being “head over heels in love? Is it because of the sense of a headlong plunge, like diving into the glittering surface of water on a summer’s day? Is it because of the depths unknown, the complete surrender to being submerged in another person? Sometimes its’ so unknown it feels like divine intervention.

In the 1976 Hindi-language film Khabi Khabi (Sometimes) the lover sings Tu Abse Pehle Sitaron Mein Bas Rahi Thi Kahin, (Until now, you’ve been residing among the stars), Tujhe Zameen Pe Bulaya Gaya Hai Mere Liye (You’ve just been called down to earth for me.)

The delirious concord of it all, stolen glances, impatient kisses, limbs entwined. The feeling that time is suspended and you are your lover and they are you. The feeling that all that exists in the world, are the moments you share together.

Transcendent love, which takes you closer to something unknowable. We might call it god or soul, or find it in art or poetry, and there is nothing quite like a summer afternoon spent in nature to invoke this feeling.

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