With the D-Day 70th anniversary celebrations just past and the post-WWII Paris souvenir handkerchief below settling into its new home, I find myself with some nagging questions about it:
As you can see, it bears a Galeries Lafayette tag and depicts a young woman being courted by two uniformed GIs who present their hearts to her like nosegays (and it looks as though she may be clutching a previous floral offering to her chest). The hankie has two text captions on it, the identifying phrase “Souvenir de Paris” and the question/answer “Which? Both!!”
Jonathan Walford, author of “Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look”, kindly deciphered the hankie for me a few weeks back, explaining that the English text on it, together with the woman’s Phrygian cap and the French flag colors (red, white and blue) of her outfit, suggest that it would have been marketed to souvenir-hunting American soldiers at the end of the war. It does indeed seem to capture the jubilant mood of post-liberation Paris. But…
Who was the intended recipient of this slighly quirky bit of printed silk? The GI’s mother, sister or sweetheart, like other WWII–era souvenir hankies (often embroidered or printed with the helpful designation “mother”, “sister”, or “sweetheart”, like these examples from the Handkerchief Heroes blog)?