In 10 days exactly I will be celebrating a double-digit birthday. It made me think of my last big celebration, my Catherinette birthday. In France, on the 25th November, on Saint Catherine day, the Fashion and Couture houses of Paris celebrate every unmarried employee turning 25 years old. The ladies are called Catherinettes and the gentlemen are called Nicolas. This tradition serves two purposes: obviously getting the young bachelors to meet and mingle, but also and even more importantly, to do justice to the hard working seamstresses, the well-named "petites mains" (little hands is how we call them in Haute Couture in french) by putting them in the light.
The colours of the Sainte Catherine are green and yellow and the tradition wants the studio and seamstresses to create hats according to these colours for the 25 years old bachelors. After the big party and they are invited to Paris town-hall for a fashion show where they get to walk down a catwalk. That was definitively my favourite part: watching the hats from all major Fashion houses in Paris; Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Scherrer, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent...
When I turned 25, I was single and working for Christian Lacroix. Being the free-spirited man that he is, he decided to design the hats himself, forgot about the green and yellow colours and went for personalised items instead. Our studio team went thriftshopping for bowler hats and customised them according to each Catherinette and Nicolas personality. Mine was all about bullfighting, sorry for the sensitive souls, it's just something I had in common with Christian.
I loved turning 25 with the Lacroix family, I have amazing memories!
Christian's sketch. My face, my hat... Hated posing for the photo but love that sketch.
Christian putting my hat on.
The hat (I look so young!).