BAZAAR AT FIVE
The very first MILESTONE BIRTHDAY, it’s from your fifth year onwards that life becomes interesting. To celebrate ours, we asked designers to share their growing up memories with us.
“At that age, your parents are the biggest influence in your life. Mine always gave me big shoes to fill.”
“In this photo, I am with my twin sister, Licia. We were about five years old and we loved to pick roses from the gorgeous garden of our house, facing the scolding of my mother Odette, who used to say that the roses should only be admired and not collected. The house I lived in with my parents was in fact surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with scented flowers and plants, which my mother taught me to know and love. I believe that this experience provided me with a deep sense of beauty, and of the harmony between our inner lives and the nature that surrounds us. My way of seeing fashion was definitely inspired by this.”
“I still remember my first handbag. It was a present from my father, founder of the Furla Company. I was probably six years old and I remember being so proud and happy when I got it. It was a small cylinder made of light calf with top zip and two short handles. If I close my eyes, I can still remember how it smelled: Real high-quality leather, smooth and shiny. The inside was unlined and you could see the back of the leather like lighter suede. I could have never dreamt that my whole life would have been i n the l uxury handbag industry.“
“I have wonderful memories growing up in Dehradun with my siblings and parents—much loved and often dressed up for pictures and fancy dress parties! Here is me wearing a rather big hat.... maybe that’s where my interest in headdresses for my shows comes from. I’ve always liked the idea of hats, turbans, some sort of headgear!”
“My father, who was in the Indian Army, was posted in Pune at the time this picture was taken. I remember that our house was being painted, and I had discovered some rusty, dilapidated serving trays in all the mess. I took these to the painters and told them to paint flowers on the trays. A few hours later, I went to see what they had done, and I was amazed! The trays had been transformed! Now when I think about it, they looked like something Frida Kahlo could have done. So excited was I that I took them and ran inside to show them to my mother. As I was running, I slipped on the floor and chipped my front teeth. To this day, my chipped teeth remind me of that day, when I discovered beauty in something so ordinary.”
“In our great family occasions, when all my family and my mother’s family members were reunited around the dining table—we could be around 30-35 people—the children were expected to stand on chairs to recite a little poem. I remember my controversial feelings of joyful excitement and anxiety. I really liked the idea to be on that stage in front of all my loved ones. At the same time, I felt embarrassed, and fearful to confront such a l arge audience. So, each time I tried, I got distressed, and it all ended in tears.”
“My mother and I were very close—I was kind of her partner in crime for everything—and when I was five years old, she took me to her wedding dress fitting. She puts it on, and my grandmother is ecstatic. Then my mom turns to me, and I must have had a face on, and she goes ‘What? What’s wrong?’ I told her, ‘It’s too busy, there’s too many bows’ —there must have been a zillion bows. My grandmother is telling her not to listen to me —‘It’s Priscilla of Boston, it’s perfect’. But next thing I know, she’s telling the tailor to cut off the bows. The dress became classic, and chic, and timeless.
“‘Don’t be afraid.’ These were the last words that my father Giorgio said to me before being taken away by German soldiers. He was taken from our home and executed in front of my mother on July 4, 1944. Those words stayed in my mind forever and have helped me become who I am. They taught me to not be afraid of anything and helped me overcome my fears. I had to grow up quickly.
“I am glad I had a mother who taught me to live. But don’t get me wrong, I also have a lot of nice memories from that period of my life. After the war, we returned to the streets, where people began their lives again. They stopped to speak to each other. For us kids, it meant that we could finally go out of our homes again and play in the streets or in the garden. Now we had new spaces to play and we didn’t need to hide. The roads, full of rocks and holes, suddenly appeared as a big playground. The orchards became our favourite places. We loved making the farmers mad by stealing a few of the fruits. I was just five years old, and it was a time for me to be free, and it allowed me to become a person who is still full of life, love, and joy: The man I am today.”
PATRICK LOUIS VUITTON, 5TH GENERATION OF THE LOUIS VUITTON FAMILY
“Happy 5th Anniversary Harper’s Bazaar IndIA. Congratulations to the entire team on five glorious years of fashion, design, and savoir faire.”
“It is not easy to recall the shoot when one is five years old. But yes, it took place in the garden of the old family home in Amritsar, the city of The Golden Temple, where I was born. It was an old colonial home, where we all grew up in a joint family of three families and a host of cousins. There was a lot of interaction between the various members of the family and never a dull moment. Winter mornings, in particular, were icy cold, with freezing temperatures, and many times the cars used to have a fine covering of ice on them when we went to school. This picture was taken on a balmy sunny afternoon when all the children were sent to play in the sun.”
“When I was five, I was obsessed with pop culture. Mickey Mouse and Howdy Doody were my heroes. I have been inspired by American pop culture my entire life.”
“I got my first racing bike when I was 11 years old. In fact, that’s the first memory of my life. I really can’t remember much about my childhood at all. It’s really odd. I call it a punctuation mark in my life. You know, suddenly I got this bike and this freedom that the bike brought with it. A guy who was a member of the cycling club said to my dad, ‘If Paul ever wants to go out on one of the cycle runs, there are lots of us. He’ll be safe.’ And I started to go out with them, and I suddenly looked around and thought ‘Oooh, there’s no mum or dad.’ It was quite nice. It was like, I had freedom. Not that I needed to be free, I was very happy with my parents. It was good.”
Ritu Kumar, extreme right
Tommy Hilfiger, standing centre