Friday, 12 July 2013
AN APRON FOR EVERY JOB
I confess that all aprons and workwear have a special appeal to me and in France they come in a wide variety of material, size and shape both for men and women. Many are for a specific job and to me, are a sort of link with the daily work and lives of past generations. My collection includes a lot of indigo linen, straight long aprons for cooks and gardeners, with a large semi-circular pocket in front; women's everyday cream linen and hemp on a waistband, usually with a neat cross-stitch initial and two pockets; then the housemaids' and waitress' whitest lawn with bibs, frills and bow ties, and pretty circular pockets. Butchers and chefs had strong hemp wrapover styles with one side higher, or doubled front, for protection from knives and hot dishes. The women in Brittany wore little black gathered satin cotton ones over their button-up overall black dresses and there are still hundreds of the cheap and cheerful printed cotton overalls worn before the last war around - worth gathering for an archive of pretty 1930.s patterns. Almost all trades had their distinctive protective workwear and aprons and one of the grandest is the wine sommelier's from a good restaurant who had a black linen one with leather belt, and pockets for the corkscrews and napkin.