I was in Country Road the other day when I saw this yellow dress.
There I was almost 30 years ago seeing myself wearing similar patterns and styles. It is very evocative of the South East of France and Provence in particular. The kind of clothes that makes you almost feel the sun on your skin, hear the cicadas and remember the special feeling of freedom that came with summer holidays. Not that it doesn’t come anymore, it is just that I am not sure I will ever adapt to Christmas being my summer holidays….
At the time my skirts or dresses were coming from a very traditional fabric house called Souleiado based in Tarascon in the heart of Provence.
It all started in the middle of the 17th century after the plague and a few rebellions around the Mediterranean Sea had left the area stranded and needing to find a solution to replace the shipments of fabrics and colours from India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire, that were not coming anymore. These never seen before fabrics had become very popular among the riches and the court and were in high demand. Marseille had the craftmanship and seized the opportunity.
The “Indiennes Provençales” were created and developed in Marseille to become the original European centre for “indiennage” or calico printing. The production spread through Provence and has become a very important part of the French Provencal culture.
The brand Souleiado was first created in 1939. They possess close to 50 000 “indienne” printing blocks which is what allowed them to become so successful. Chantal Thomass was their head of design in the 70’s. Like a phoenix reborn from the ashes they are back into the fashion spotlight after a few years in the dark.
What a trip to Country Road can trigger is incredible…Hahaha… I just thought it is nice to have brands such as Souleiado able to survive and carry onto next generations a part of our culture.
I thought I’d share with you their style motto just because I love it and I am sure you will too:
…”With the astonishing diversity of its traditional printed textile, rich and colorful, Souleiado personified the spirit of the South long before Dolce & Gabbana, Marni or Galliano got hold of those patterns and colours.
The Souleiado style draws its inspiration directly from the soul of Provence. A strong soul, which is synonymous with sun, colors, heat, smell of summer and vacation, Féria, guitars, sea, dance, party, and sensual pleasures.
The women of the South, the women who love the South, have that extra sensuality and joy of living inspired by the southern sun .
That gentle sun makes them feel beautiful and young when they are 20 years old.
Beautiful and young when they are 40 years old.
Beautiful and young when they are 60 years old.
The Souleiado style is based on that insolent confidence. It’s a style for the woman who knows how to take advantage of every facet of her life. The clothes she likes to wear are timeless, like her. Her style is not from yesterday nor tomorrow. Her elegance doesn’t care about what fashion dictates , her sensuality defies time.
She is a free woman who loves contrasts and doesn’t give a damn about gossips. She goes to the most fashionable party dressed with a long faded skirt and down-at-the-heel Mexican boots, she struts about dressed in an evening gown and her father’s old Gardian jacket, she wears a spangled beret and a fire-red coat that challenges winter.
As long as she feels good, it’s of no consequence! Her seduction shines, happy and natural, like a small provençal dress that passes through fashions and time, with insouciance.”