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.