Friday, May 18, 2018


Current outrage put back on the shelf next to past and future outrages to be brought out again whenever their SOS beeps become impossible to ignore.

When my mother, Blanche, was very young she worked for an haute couture atelier in Paris which made flapper-style dresses embellished with wondrous designs in beads and sequins. She had worn some of these herself and kept them carefully over the years. Not long before she died aged 97 - in full possession of all her faculties, by the way - she and I unwrapped these relics and found that, while the beadwork and sequins were intact, the fragile fabrics had more or less disintegrated.

With Blanche's agreement (she was always game for creative adventures) I cut the beaded and sequinned sections away from the crumbling cloth and started playing with ideas of applying them to a modern garment. I sewed them onto a denim jacket I had, combined with swatches of bright-coloured fabrics in a kind of abstract collage. I loved the result but dared to wear it only once - I'm too short to carry it off and anyway I was too much in awe of those gleaming patches of fashion history.

A couple of days ago I finally took the jacket to a local Vintage shop and asked the owner if she'd like to sell it. Instant interest. My 1920s-infused denim collage jacket went into the shop window. It may still be there but I doubt it. I wish I could see who's wearing it now. My Blanche Maman would be pleased.

Below is a Youtube link to a slideshow I made in honour of her and the beautiful paintings she began to create at the age of 94.

My late parents, Sacha and Blanche d'Arbeloff, dancing in their nineties.

No comments: