The magic carpet has been idle in the past few weeks so it’s time for another flight. Let’s go over the Channel today and hover over a few places in France....it will have to be a Gallic scarf then for the journey. What about this Guy Laroche? I haven’t written about one by this designer before. It’s a small silk kerchief so will tie nicely round my head to keep my new hairstyle in place. The hair scrunchies of the past months have now been discarded as the long hair in a ponytail or chignon has gone with the first haircut in a year. So glad to see my hairdresser again after months of lockdown.
My Guy Laroche is a vintage silk square with geometric design in blue, yellow and white, well sewn and could be worn equally as a dashing kerchief in a trendy gentleman’s jacket pocket. His surname LAROCHE gives a clue where we will hover first having crossed La Manche. It seems quite a coincidence that he was born in LA ROCHELLE in the early Twenties.....no idea if he changed his name. Shall we land here and have a scrummy seafood meal in this old port on the Atlantic coast of France or follow his journey as a young 25 year old to Paris to realise his dream of a career in fashion? He was lucky enough to have a cousin working at the Jean Patou fashion house, so he had a foot in the door and then followed that by a stint with Desses, another prestigious couturier. I think we will just observe Paris from the air with its distinctive Arc de Triomphe reminding me of my lovely new garden parasol with its spokes of roads radiating from its centre.....and who could miss the Eiffel Tower? I wonder what tugs of the heart strings were felt by Mr. Laroche leaving this city to freelance in New York, exchanging that aerial view for the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building? I am talking of the Fifties. How the city skylines have changed over the decades throughout the world. Flying about on a carpet, one notices these things.
Not only skylines change, but methods of manufacturing. Guy Laroche pioneered such in USA and introduced ready-to-wear clothing, quite different from haute couture. He came back to Paris in 1957 and opened his own couture house, created perfumes, men’s wear and in the Seventies introduced the woman’s trouser suit. He was so successful he was made Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour started by Napoleon. I find it slightly amusing he also received the accolade of the Golden Thimble Award. More seriously, he died quite a young man at 66 years old having just received his second Golden Thimble. Last week we had golden elephants and this week you have thimbles. But what about the fossil?
Well, it is encased in a shattered man-made plastic block edged in gold. Many of my scarves are vintage, but now we are talking about something really old....two hundred million years old petrified wood. I must concentrate now and guide the carpet further south to the Mediterranean. We are going to land on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. It’s two and a half miles long, so will give me a chance to find a quiet spot. I hope I don’t get too emotional thinking of the carnage wreaked by the madman lorry driver on Bastille Day a few years ago killing 84 innocent people. I have only happy memories of holidays there in the school breaks, the most amazing washroom in The Negresco Hotel and visits to Thorenc high in the mountains behind Nice. (If anyone wants to buy a half share in a piece of land, once a polo field in the Alpes Maritime, I’d be happy to offload!) I just happened to photograph my scarf against the fossil some weeks ago and thought I would tell you about it. My husband was involved in a large building project in the centre of Nice which necessitated the driving of deep piles. The petrified timber was found deep under the streets of Nice during the piling and I was presented with a birthday gift of this little bit of fossil, millions of years old, set in clear plastic which was then intentionally smashed, and the crazed block edged with gold. It is now an unusual souvenir, designed by my husband and executed by a French craftsman. (I think at the time, I would have preferred a Hermes scarf!) I understand there is a spectacular petrified forest which is a great tourist attraction at Champ Clauson further north so I might try to find that on the way home. It’s a little nearer than those in New Mexico or Nevada......missed them when I lived in USA. Now, for the moment, I am looking forward to my bowl of bouillabaisse looking at the Mediterranean. The garlic will keep me safe from demons lurking in dark forests or fanatic killers.
When I get home, I must take all my trouser suits to a charity shop. My waistline has expanded during lockdown, arthritic shoulders prefer less structured garments....and then I might have a look at all these high heeled shoes which I have not worn for some time. Thank you Guy Laroche for this fashion, but time to move on. Trainers and more freedom.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 46.