For a better understanding of Good Morning Keith, you need to know Paulette. The women behind every needles and detail that makes Good Morning Keith bandanas so unique. She's doing them by hand, in her own creative studio.
Even at 82, she still upholds her passion for fashion and sewing, even managing to associate it with another love of hers: music. Today, she resides in a beautiful house, decorated to her sumptuous tastes, on the outskirts of Paris. She’s graciously accepted to open her house and heart to us, allowing us to discover her world and her workshop, where she spends most of her day.
It’s in Morocco, in the 60’s, that her passion for fashion was born, and it hasn’t left her since. With time, she’s managed to accumulate countless pieces of ‘haute-couture’, as we French call it, whether they be her own designs or pieces from the 4 corners of the globe.
With the sound of Leonard Cohen locked in the background, a Moroccan tailor-made blue Majorelle caftan on her shoulders, and her bright attitude, we got to know the wonderful character of Paulette; her history, her passions, her life.
GMK: « Paulette, would you mind telling us who you are and how you fell in love with fashion? »
Paulette: « I was born in 1938, in a small village around the region of Lozère in France. When I was little, I was close to my grandfather, he loved to sew whenever he could, and watching him just… it fascinated me. He’s the one who taught me to sew from a young age. Then, when I was about 20 I had to leave my home in Montpellier to go and study medicine like my parents wanted me to. It broke my heart, but it was quickly mended, cause little did I know, I would meet the love of my life.
Together, we left France, and we went to Marrakech. Of course my parents weren’t too pleased and we had a falling out about it, but I couldn’t help it, my love was stronger than reason.
I fell in love with the city. I loved losing myself in the Medina, walking through the tanners and the dryers. The atmosphere, the smells, the hospitality of the people, it was love at first sight. Back in those days, I had a lot of time on my hands, and I often felt lonely, and maybe as if to banish the over looming presence of my parents’ rejection, I started buying fabrics and making clothes. At first, for myself, then for my husband, and suddenly, for most of my friends who would praise my work. It’s really in Morocco that my love for fashion developed and evolved into what it is today. »
GMK : « Marrakech, in the 60’s, how was it? »
Paulette: « It was magnificent! For me, a small-town girl, from a village with barely 5000 people, it was an assault of the senses. An explosion of colours! A city that embraced you as one of its own. A city that never slept. We walked in the gardens of Mamounia, had dinner on Jeema el-Fna square, lost ourselves in the labyrinth of the bazaar, but most of the time, we were receiving guests. It was the arrival of the 70’s back then, a carefree time, I mean we were all dressed in caftans, listening to music, and smoking tobacco all day long; there really was this sense of liberty, we were free. It was also around then that Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought properties in Marrakech. We fell in love with the city at the same time, I guess that’s a point in common (laughs).»
GMK: «And then you packed your bags and moved to Paris? »
Paulette: « Indeed, we decided to go and settle in Paris and honestly, once again, what a surprise! We settled down in 1969, in the middle of the whole social and cultural revolution brought about with the scandal provoked by Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, “Je t’aime… Moi non plus”. I already liked music a lot back then, but that year, it was like a revelation.»
GMK: « Really? And how did that really translate for you? »
Paulette: « Really, the whole Yang period seemed like the beginning of something strange, something bizarre, as if the young people needed to express themselves through a new sound, this whole new style. And of course, inevitably, I was swept with the tide, I tumbled with the crazy spiral that drove the time. Craziest years of my life!
For me, the 70’s were the time where everything was allowed in Paris, the time to gain some experience. Everyone seemed to be mixed: whether you were famous or anonymous, and I luckily had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the more famous, even if it was just for the evening.
I was changing style, and churning new looks with every new season; I loved Baba, and adored these new musicians, whether it was Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Bob Dylan or Janis Joplin, or even glam rock; I adulated David Bowie and his narcissism.
I did everything I could to attend the concerts of these amazing artists, I mean they were rock geniuses, and although drugs seemed to be all the craze back then, music was MY drug. »
GMK: « Do you remember which of these artists you went to see? »
Paulette: « Woah! I saw too many to name them all. Back in 70, with some girlfriends, we went to the UK to this big festival on the Isle of Wight and the line up was, more or less: Jimi Hendrix – his last show before disappearing - , The Doors, The Who, Donovan, Miles Davis, Free, Sly & Family Stone, Joni Mitchell, Ten Years After and Leonard Cohen, which we’re listening to now (laughs)…Still feels like it was yesterday, it was crazy. Sometimes, I still listen to their vinyl’s and it just takes me back, I guess it’s my own madeleine de Proust (laughs).
That’s not all though, then I saw Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Hallyday, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. In any case, the point is, if anything had to do with rock n roll, I was there (laughs).
Oh! I also saw The Velvet Underground with Nico in 72 at the Bataclan, and her style just inspired me. She wore all these silk scarves and I just adored her style, I still do today, and that really inspired me, it just made me wanna make some too, and I did.»
GMK: « Is that what made you want to work with Good Morning Keith? »
Paulette: «Definitely! I loved making them back in the day, so why not offer my skills to a brand that’s making the 60’s and 70’s come back to life? It encompasses everything I love! And I mean, today, I’m not really stressed for time, so why not keep sewing? To the music of course. (laughs)»
GMK: « Could you explain the technic you used to make these bandanas»
Paulette: « It’s called the hem hand, it’s the most refined technic I know. Basically, it consists of rolling the edge of the fabric between your fingers until you obtain a hem that’s sufficiently supple and taut. Once that that’s done, I fix it in place by hand stitching the hem. I always try to use thin threads that have a similar colour to the fabric as to make them blend into the pattern, rendering them practically invisible.»
GMK: « Are you still a passionate fan of today’s musical scene? »
Paulette: «Yes, of course, there's still so many great bands! Times are changing but the music is still very nice»
GMK: « Any examples? »
Paulette: « I did have a massive crush for Amy Winehouse, but that was a few years back. Today, I mainly listen to The War On Drugs, the Lemon Twigs, Courtney Barnett or sometimes, Cigarette After Sex. I even managed to go see the latter’s concert in Paris.»
GMK: « Finally, if you could have dinner with any 3 celebrities, who would they be?»
Paulette: « Evidently, Yves Sint-Laurent, Joni Mitchell and Marc Bolan around a nice table of Mechoui! (laughs). »