Hadley Hemingway C. 1928
When I started the first dregs of ideas for The Paris Collection, like all other creative endeavors it usually starts when your creative muse strikes a match and you suddenly find a glowing light of inspiration drawing from somewhere in your past or interests. There's always a well of reserve every artist draws from; if you've lived a bit and I have.
Paris even before I ever walked it's cobbled stone streets and famed avenues and arrondissements held a fascination for me and a particular time period in its history most of all; the early part of the 20th Century. What Gertrude Stein came to call "The Lost Generation."
Inspired fashion from my travels
You see, the first World War had ended and with it so many of the world's youth that had engaged on behalf of God and Country for the stop of tyranny; many of them thought the war wouldn't last for more than a year. They would head on over across the sea and teach that nasty Kaiser a lesson. They thought.
Well, the history books and many homes around the world can lay testament to the youthful, idealistic generation that never came home.
This past year the world commemorated the Centenarian year of WW1, one hundred years since the guns fell silent in that horrible calamity of, "the war to end all wars." What followed the end of the WW1, what remained of that youth that had served and now returned to find the world through their ancient eyes made ancient by what they had witnessed? Disillusionment? Cynicism? Yes, for many that was true but there was a part of that generation that wanted to grab on with both hands and really live each moment.
It was the start of the Jazz age and many American's crossed the Atlantic after the war to Paris. As I remember in all of my reading and fascination with this generation, that to me was not fully lost -perhaps, in the beginning, we all are when we're young, a bit- but it was a moment in time in Paris, when so many gifts were given to the world in the form of literary and artistic expression.
From Gertrude Stein's salon to the streets of Montmartre and their studios, Picasso was among them. They would visit Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co at no.7 Rue de L'Odeon, a bookshop that she opened as a lending library for the English and American expatriate community. Everyone from James Joyce, Hemingway, D.H Lawrence, Ezra Pound, T.S. Elliot sat at her table, perused her library of books that she lent as support to their literary ambitions; she was the first to publish Joyce's Ulysses when no one else would.
Sylvia Beach, Paris, Shakespeare & Co
Some of my designs will capture in just their name, perhaps a street, or really from my heart what this generation, not at all lost, gave to those that followed and the gifts that they left to the world.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Ernest was right.