Blog 78 - Questionable Art Nouveau




I thought I would send out my New Year greetings wearing an Art Nouveau scarf. I had selected this stylish number by Emilio Pucci but on closer inspection I think it is more Art Deco. Stylish it certainly is, as was the designer. He was born to a centuries old noble family living in the Pucci Palace in Florence. Emilio was a keen sportsman whose first design of the all-in-one ski suit led him to the couturier world and the use of new synthetic fabrics which incorporated stretch. Thank goodness these past two years for all that extra ‘give’ in loungewear as we gave up waistbands and zips during lockdown and went for stretchy leggings, baggy tops and comfort!



Emilio left the Italian Air Force and set up his fashion business in Capri in 1950 making swimwear….and silk scarves. I had a wonderful holiday not too long ago on the Amalfi Coast and we had an exciting boat trip to this glamorous island. There is a new Pucci store there, but I window gazed only. Early on in my Series 1 blog writing I described my Capri adventure in LA FARFALLA so no need to direct the magic carpet there today. Instead we will make off for Dallas,Texas and then to San Francisco.



So what memory connects my Emilio Pucci scarf so far afield? I finger the long white scarf with flower swirls and geometric shapes. My study of the designer takes me back to when my children were small and I could not easily travel to foreign places for practical and economic reasons. Instead, I brought the world to my own home in Essex. I gave hospitality to foreign guests and formed lifelong friendships. Our family interests and backgrounds were matched to those of our guests. There was an Italian from New York who played the bagpipes and arrived with a kilt and pipes; a twelve year old daughter of a PANAM pilot who was left with us between flights; countless Germans eager to improve their English and a couple from Texas who prompted my memory flight today. Years later we would visit that young New Yorker child, grown up and married to a doctor who showed us parts of their city we would have never visited. The piper emigrated to Scotland, working as a care assistant in an old people’s home and invited us to his wedding. The couple from Dallas provided us with surprises much later in life. Our home at the time of their visit was small and modest and they shared the family bathroom. They visited a second time so they evidently liked living en famille, and we kept in touch. When we eventually visited them in Dallas a decade or so later, wow! were we surprised at the sweeping driveway and their grand home. A bigger surprise was to be greeted by a butler and waited on by staff wearing dainty white aprons! Little did we know, our unpretentious guests were associated with America’s famous luxury store Nieman Marcus. One of our dear friend Stanley’s ancestors had crossed that great continent selling pots and pans, etc. What a success story from a humble beginning.



You may well be asking, so what has this to do with your silk Emilio Pucci scarf? Let’s go back. The enterprising young Emilio, skier, swimmer, fast car driver visited the United States with a Winter Olympics team and was eventually offered a college education in exchange for his sports skills. That first design of the one piece ski suit came before the swimwear, scarves and the roll up creaseless silk dress. He became the darling couturier of the Sixties, dressing the rich and famous, even designing many airline uniforms…..copied as six Barbie doll air hostess outfits! My goodness, Marilyn Monroe was even interred wearing one of his dresses! He went on to win awards, including, guess what? the NIEMAN MARCUS fashion design award. When we were living in California we were invited as guests to the grand opening of the new Nieman Marcus store in San Francisco by our unassuming house guest, Mr.Stanley Marcus. Little did I imagine I would be writing about this scarf today and flying for another look at the store. I wonder if I can find my cocktail hat I wore for the opening. It was grey felt with a veil and grey feathers. Last time I wore it was at a Christmas fancy dress golf game when I plonked an artificial birds’ nest on top of it, complete with holly and a robin. Didn’t even get first prize for my Christmas hat, overshadowed by a fetching Mother Christmas in silver cap and white wool plaited pigtails. My robin’s nest didn’t do much for my wintry golf game either. Difficult to keep your head down balancing such headgear.



Time to turn the carpet towards home. I circled over Dallas resolving I must check that my son in law is enjoying my late husband’s Stetson hat bought there. San Francisco was quiet with large Omicron numbers keeping the New Year shoppers away. It has been a pleasant journey remembering the value of old friendships. My scarf design today may not be truly Art Nouveau but seemed apt for the first blog of the New Year 2022.



Shall I make a New Year Resolution to resist searching for interesting silk scarves? I think not! The Emilio Pucci brand now uses fabric from recycled ocean plastic and nylon waste. Hopping around on one leg following my freak foot fracture, I need a new goal. Yes, to become mobile and continue my own weird recycling scarf collector’s passion. I still prefer silk to plastic!



Happy New Year to all.



Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 78.

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