Galeries Lafayette is a spectacular emporium in the heart of Paris’s Opéra district—palatial architecture that whispers of a bygone age, moderating the din of twenty-first century retail. It was October when I was there, on the trail of Kathleen O’Connor, but the store was already in the process of being decorated for Christmas, with a white tree rising through the central atrium.
Kate’s connection with Galeries Lafayette was in the 1920s, when she diversified into the decorative arts. She produced designs for fabric, wallpaper and soft furnishings in a modernist style influenced by Art Deco—wild colours and avant-garde creations that suited Jazz Age Paris but were considered ‘startling’ and ‘bizarre’ in Australia.
Her clients included La Maîtrise, the design workshop of Galeries Lafayette headed by renowned designer Maurice Dufrêne.
You can see an example of Kate’s handpainted fabric on the National Gallery of Australia site here. I would not usually describe myself as a covetous person when it comes to clothes, but oh, how I covet that dress!
Kathleen O’Connor of Paris coming soon from Fremantle Press