Saturday, January 16, 2010

Daniel Hechter, Cintra Wilson, and Me


As I read Cintra Wilson’s Critical Shopper column earlier this week, I was unexpectedly transported to 1985.

For although she was unfamiliar with Daniel Hechter, the designer of the wool jacket that the owner of Lily et Cie grudgingly let her try on, and even more haughtily contextualized for her, I knew exactly who he was.

Now, this is hardly bragging, because the Daniel Hechter I knew in 1985 was not the “French designer from the early 70s” from Wilson’s uncomfortable visit to Lily et Cie, but the man whose name graced his bridge-line shops throughout Canada, shops that sold colorful clothing to a university-student and first-job clientele.
                


He was better known in Canada for his men’s line, which was more formal, but for women, he made clothing that was the more sophisticated French cousin to, say, Esprit.

I remember going to Holt Renfrew’s shopping centre in Ottawa and gazing upon the ceiling-to-floor display of perfectly folded, bright, cheerful stacks of DH sweaters.

In fact, I purchased the quintessential mid-80s ensemble there. It was a heavy jersey knit, marled-charcoal-gray long skirt and v-neck cardigan (with shoulder pads, bien sur). And it was perfect for the time.



From his current collection

I haven’t thought of Daniel Hechter in years, so thanks, Ms. Wilson, for that unexpected rush of nostalgia.

And I encourage LA readers to go to Lily et Cie to try on something. From Ms. Wilson’s article, it sounds like Lily needs a little more Cie.


12 comments:

Make Do Style said...

Yes you can buy his menswear line in the UK!

Christa Weil said...

Daniel Hechter also sold through Ann Taylor in the States in the early 80s. My mom got me a beautiful plaid kilt and matching merino sweater. It no longer fit after I put on the fabled freshman 10.

Am not into snobbery, especially as regards vintage, so will not be patronizing Lily & Cie anytime soon.

Angie Muresan said...

Love the stuff in his current collection!

Laura [What I Like] said...

I loved that column!

materfamilias said...

at one point, it seems to me, Daniel Hecter had some kind of affiliation with Fairweather's, a considerably less lofty venue than HR! I seem to remember his name on some of those oversize sweatshirts worn over leggings in the height of the FAME decade, although I remember happier incarnations of his design as well.

enc said...

Inspiring! I love the photography. The [current] black and grey look is really sharp and looks comfortable. But I can't help loving that older stuff. Especially the motorbike.

Anonymous said...

I too thought that I had sometimes bought Daniel Hechter at Fairweather's too. If it's the same man, I don't remember what I bought but I do know his label was a go-to for me back in the day.

Christine

Toby Wollin said...

I actually have several of his licensed sewing patterns from the 70s in my collection.

WendyB said...

Her "eat the rug" comment in that column had me laughing.

Miss Cavendish said...

I can see the Fairweather logo atop the shop entrance, but cannot recall the inside of the shop, alas. If DH was sold in FW, I *think* that it was in a freestanding section; I do remember entering separate shop in the HR complex to get to DH . . .

Am loving reading all these associations and recollections from all of you!

WendyB said...

P.S. added your KLJ link to my post.

Karen B said...

I remember buying Daniel Hecter track suits from Fairweathers. The whole back wall was a rainbow of shades.