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When I was 18 – Maryse Gaspard

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When I was 18 – Maryse Gaspard

What was it like to come of age at different times, around the world? Four fashion players tell us all about their 18-year-old selves, from cruising round the countryside on mopeds to watching avant-garde movies with friends from art school… First up, Maryse Gaspard, director of couture and brand ambassador for Pierre Cardin, who was 18 in 1965, in Seine et Marne, France.

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Were you more of a good girl or a difficult teenager?

I was a good girl. As I was at boarding school from when I was 14 to 18 years old, I was happy to see my parents at the weekend. There wasn’t much time for mischief.

Was there a particular item of clothing you were never seen without?

A Prince of Wales woolen blazer.

What music did you listen to at the time?

I was influenced by what my older brother listened to, who was a fan of Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. But I also really felt drawn to Françoise Hardy, whose style and attitude fascinated me at the time.

Your teenage style in a few words?

Eccentric, electric, offbeat.

Outside school, how did you spend your days?

I was into fashion from a very young age. I bought magazines that I flipped through at the weekend and got inspired by them, leading me to draw my own designs. I also liked to sew and created my own bags and purses in different materials.

What was your relationship to your siblings?

I’m the youngest of three children, there is a six-year difference between my brother and I and 14 months with my sister. But the fact that I left for boarding school early and started to work at 18 meant that we were never really very close.

How did you organize your social life? Were you part of a group of friends?

At boarding school, you create very unique and privileged relationships with students. I met twin sisters I got very close to, we kept in contact for many years. Like me they loved fashion and we used to meet up from time to time to go shopping. Later, I often travelled to London with my boyfriend. We would go to the trendy places at that time, Portobello, King’s Road… I have always loved this city for its dynamism and avant-garde fashion. I enjoyed going to Biba where I always found a cool item of clothing or accessory that caused a lot of jealousy when I came back to Paris.

Tell us about your biggest act of rebellion.

Leaving my parents’ home very young to go up to Paris and become a model. I was lucky enough to meet Monsieur Pierre Cardin who gave me a shot. We’ve been inseparable ever since. In August 2016 it will be 50 years since I first joined the Cardin house.

What was your greatest ambition at the time?

I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion, and in retrospect I realize that it is a rare thing to have found a career that is so fulfilling, that allowed me to travel the world and meet such varied and fascinating personalities.