We watched in horror as my mother ran across multiple lanes of a two directional highway to pick up deliveries for her business. She left the car on one side to avoid taking five extra minutes to turn around at the proper place. At times we were less concerned that she would be hit, than we were that our friends would be travelling the same road en route to school with their parents, and see the spectacle. But boy, oh boy did my mother make it all seem possible.
A trip to the moon, Mom? “Yes, you’re going!”
My mother likes to say, "You built something out of nothing" when she talks about how I started Tucker. No business school, no fashion school, no business plan, nor capital financing, but with audacity, devotion, and tenacity.
Backed with my own version of V.C. (very crazy,) and words of exemplary figures to cling to. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston (and Clementine) Churchill, inspiration in spades.
I am also uplifted by everyday players: mothers and fathers walking children to school.
Simple, awesome and beautiful. I am enthralled by mathematicians, captivated by photographers, and entranced by circus stars. It’s all part of the meal, the pre-race dish to feed my desire to make things, to connect, to express, the hypotheses that a beautiful blouse has the power to enliven and restore. A blouse that is not inanimate. Wearing a beautiful blouse, that billows in the wind and caresses skins, is an act of generosity.
Fast forward to women around the world wearing Tucker blouses and dresses. From New York to Delhi, in fabrics named after the memory of a smell in the hallway in the south of France, or of stomping feet with sisters, learning dances from an Indian dance troope, to the sounds of neighbors below banging brooms on the ceiling.
Memories and meetings are plentiful. The seemingly magical, the smart, the spectacular, the special, the strong, the simple and the stylish. Shakuntala Devi, Nell Gifford and Virginia Thoren, today’s chosen few, I want Tucker to be just like you.
Imagine a circus, Gifford's Family Circus, founded by an Oxford professor of Literature and her husband, Toti Gifford. Nell Gifford said, “I held the jewel of my childhood up to my eye, and through it I saw ponies and a dressing-up box and a tent, and that was Giffords Circus." A circus based on classic works of fiction.
War and Peace, the summer the Basora family went to find them in the Cotswolds. And a restaurant with sixty seats, serving homemade delicious food in a train car follows the show. In the midst of the circus performance Nell's children were brought to her, their mother to be held. Oh Nell!
Shakuntala Devi’s father rebelled against his Brahmin family and joined a circus as a lion tamer, tightrope walker, and trapeze artist. Her mathematical prowess was unbelievable. She was called the human computer. And in the 1970’s Devi wrote a book about homosexuality because the man she married was homosexual, Devi was interested to understand. She then called for its complete acceptance. Beauty in sequences, patterns and the courage to look. “Numbers have a life. There not just symbols on a paper. “ “Nobody challenges me. I challenge myself.” Oh Devi!
In 1924, at the age of 10, Virginia Thoren wrote to her mother, on Christmas Eve,
"Dear Mother, I know I am more often naughty than nice… but one day when I am grown and making my own living you will see just how responsible I can be."
Virginia loved the camera and movement. She started working as a desk girl at Vogue, became an art director, and then photographer. In Paris, after World War II, when the photographer didn't show up for the assignment, Virginia took the pictures and a career was started. She went on to photograph Yves St Laurent’s first collection for Dior, and campaigns for Bergdorf Goodman.
When asked about her life, her work, her accomplishments, Virginia replies…”I just went with the flow” In the face of the natural and unnatural sadness of life's circumstances and events, "Don’t be too mournful." She smiled and laughed telling stories of her beautiful son Gordon, at his funeral. And when tough choices are hard to make, the voice of reason,
"What you want, it's impossible, Dear."
And this, my dears, is not a wrap. It’s a beginning.