LYDIA STROHL

author | journalist | television & podcasts | web design

The Costume Maker, in pictures

There is little in The Costume Maker that is not true, in some form or another. In fact, a Hollywood costume designer recently told me there are celebrated designers — Lily Fonda, Ruth Morley — who share elements of the past I’ve fictionalized. Below, the images that inspired my characters.

     THE SUITCASE

Government-issue military cases served as protection for such treasures as photos and letters from loved ones. In The Costume Maker, a granddaughter locks her memories up in just such a hand-me-down case — but is she hiding her past from the world, or from herself?

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          In the ’70s, LONDON

was becoming a truly cosmopolitan city for the first time, as the legacy of the collapse of the British Empire wore the face of immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, reshaping whole post codes. Tit for tat. A hard-working, multi-cultural, post imperial target for anti-immigration white working-class anger, the clash heard ‘round the world. This was the London welcoming the Eliot family from New Jersey.      ~from The Costume Maker

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     PARIS, 1945

Arriving in France after the war had been like walking into the sun. Elsewhere in Europe, people scuttled about wearing wool sweaters in July, no joy to be found. But liberated from Nazi rule, Parisians danced, sang, even kissed in the streets. ~ from The Costume Maker

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IN RUINS

The RAF had spared little. Berlin’s great Bahnhof had been badly bombed, burned out walls barely containing piles of ruined brick. Streets were littered with charred carcasses of automobiles, grand limestone facades crumbled like breadcrumbs. Telephone wires lay jumbled in gullies that had once been wide promenades. 

~from The Costume Maker                  MORE>

 

BERLIN

<-1938

           1945->

 

Though seven years and a lifetime had passed, Willi had known the way from the train station to the elegant brownstone on Leipziger Strasse. She grasped Opa’s suitcase as she walked the streets she had once skipped down holding his hand. Rubble trembled and fell around her, turning to dust. Though it was July, Berliners were dressed for winter, layered in all their clothes as though they didn’t trust leaving them in their cupboards. Or they had none.

~from The Costume Maker                  MORE>