Coquette: Shanghai: Grandmother

Coquette: Fashion + digital style by natalie zee drieu

In 2006 Natalie bloggs about the inspiration her Shanghai grandmother has provided her with http://coquette.blogs.com/coquette/2006/03/ma_grandmre_mon.html & has created a superb Flikr set of old portraits http://www.flickr.com/photos/natzee/178446203/

Amy Wang: Shanghai c.1930: Copyright Natalie Zee Drieu

Amy Wang: Shanghai c.1930: Copyright Natalie Zee Drieu

Natalie writes 29 March 2006 in her Coquette blog Ma Grand-mère, Mon Inspiration: “This is a picture of my grandmother, my inspiration, Amy Wang. Taken in Shanghai in the late 1930’s, my grandmother was a Shanghai society girl as well a as fashion designer. In this photo above she used the photographer’s cigarette for effect (she didn’t smoke). She was beautiful and I would like to think that I got my artistic/design sense from her. Weirdly enough, I have her hands. All the clothes she wore, she designed and made herself. She also made matching clothes for her sisters. They were the talk of the town in Shanghai back then. I love the whole era of the 30’s and 40’s and she really epitomized the time with her life and these pictures. My grandmother died of tuberculosis at 33 (my age now) so I never got to know her. But I feel like I do from all her photographs and stories from my dad. To me, she is my inspiration. (So I have added a new category here for that.) I hope these photos can inspire you from an era and time long gone by but magical nonetheless.”

These old portraits reminds me of my own grandmother – a Russian from Shanghai (!)

Portrait of a Lady: Xenia Vladimirovna: Shanghai 1930: Russian

Portrait of a Lady: Xenia Vladimirovna: Shanghai 1930: Russian

Portrait of a Lady: Xenia Vladimirovna: Shanghai 1930: Russian

Portrait of a Lady: Xenia Vladimirovna: Shanghai 1930: Russian

June 30, 2006

Shanghai 1930

Grandma1-1
“I added more photos of my grandmother up in my flickr Shanghai 1930 set. Thank you to all who have commented on the first post I did back in March on her. She was an amazing stylish and talented woman.”

Grandma2
“Here’s my grandmother in her wedding dress which she designed. I am in awe of her veil and the train. It must have been amazing. Unfortunately, this is the only photo we have of the wedding. There’s none of my grandpa whatsoever. I think her family in Shanghai has the rest and I hope one day I can go back and see the rest of these memories.”

Grandma3
“This is my grandmother and my dad who must have been about five. As a kid looking at this photo, I used to make fun of my dad that he was wearing a dress. He informs me it’s shorts but who knows. Apparently, my grandmother would make a lot of more dress up outfits for my dad. But my dad being a boy would always go out and come home with the outfits completely muddy and dirty. He said he got in trouble a lot for that.”

Grandma4
“Grandma walking the family dog. My dad STILL misses this dog.”

Grandma5
“Posing on a rock in a park somewhere. I love the color tinting treatment on this photo. I’m sure it must have been so novel at the time.”

Dad

“This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad as a kid. It reminds me of myself. He’s totally busy doing his thing climbing and seems a bit annoyed his mom wants to take yet another picture. Note the familly dog in the corner who’s around. This dog followed my dad around everywhere. So cute.” Text by Natalie Zee Drieu

More photos here: Shanghai 1930

I have started to dream again about my grandmother Xenia, the Yu Yuan Gardens, Shanghai & Russian Jazz orchestra leader grandfather Sergei : these pictures bring my memories of them alive once more.

Sergei Ermolaeff permission to drive an automobile in the French Concession: Shanghai

Sergei Ermolaeff permission to drive an automobile in the French Concession: Shanghai

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