Every once in a great while the air in Manhattan would take on a quality that immediately, unexpectedly, transported me back to Amsterdam, Holland and the many romantic days and nights I spent there many years ago. In the very, very early morning, the smell of a certain type of freshly brewed coffee would bring me back just as instantly to our family lake house and the wonderful summer breakfasts my grandmother made there
Sounds, smells, images, feelings all have the ability to bring us back to where we have been and the experiences we have had, to other places, other times. Symbols have power! The cross. The circle. The star.
The fleur-de-lis is an ancient symbol with just as much remarkable power, extending from the golden crafts and spectacular artifacts of ancient Egypt to the modern day brilliance and sadness that is New Orleans. Joan of Arc rode into battle under a banner emblazoned with a fleur-de-lis. It has been on coats of arms of European royalty for centuries. It is on the city flag of the City of New Orleans, reminding of that city’s rich heritage and French connection.
The fleur-de-lis is a popular symbol for women’s and men’s accessories, and can be found in any fashion season on fabrics, clothing, handbags, and other personal items. It is an historic and elegant emblem with a timeless design character that has carried it from the handiwork of yesterday’s Mesopotamian crafts to the refined minimalist art world of modern day Japan. Its lifeline is quite extraordinary.
Practicality and art combine in a fleur-de-lis eyeglass holder. You can also get a pillbox key chain, with a beautiful fleur-de-lis symbol set against a black oval pill container lid. A compact mirror with the fleur-de-lis design is a charming handbag accessory. Or, a clever home accessory for a guest bathroom.
Scarves have for long taken sophistication and artistic quality from the fleur-de-lis symbol. Silk or polyester scarves in black and white or gold and white and utilizing the fleur-de-lis emblem in the fabric design are especially handsome with a stylish coat or dress. And, in today’s offbeat fashion environment, where casual and formal meet and mate, these fleur-de-lis scarves even look terrific over a blouse or T-shirt and jeans.
The interesting desirability of the fleur-de-lis symbol doesn’t ignore the fact that it is suitable for all ages. The lily-design is as delightful on a child’s outfit as on a haute couture ensemble for adults. Even the elderly take to this familiar symbol, cherishing their own memories and attachments to the sign while enjoying its presence in their current wardrobe.
And while we are talking about market share, let’s not forget men’s wear and the fleur- de-lis. This is a dynamic sign for ties, opening up many artistic avenues to designers while still expressing an historic factor in the tie itself. And, amazingly, even as it fits women’s wear so well, the fleur-de-lis just as easily crosses over and becomes a strong men’s fashion symbol without the slightest compromise.
Jewelry is perhaps the ideal showcase for this famous symbol. New Orleans is the focus of attention in a stretch fleur-de-lis bracelet that, among other things, has the famous unifying words for the City engraved on its links: love, faith, strength. Bangle fleur-de-lis bracelets and an interesting fleur-de-lis magnetic bracelet, all in silver-tone, are additional pieces that raise up the emblem for continuing appreciation. A faux wood link bracelet in dark brown with ivory-colored fleurs-de-lis all around is a more casual design, as is another bangle-like faux wood bracelet with both fleur-de-lis and heart designs.
A very attractive fleur-de-lis pin in an antiqued ribbed design is available in either silver or gold plate. It makes an ideal pin for a suit or a blouse and is just light enough to be wearable on almost any material.
Necklaces with the fleur-de-lis design are numerous: some are simple chains; others are embellished with gemstones or other jewelry favorites. An unusual necklace has two fleur-de-lis emblems, like small charms, hanging from two different lengths of chain. In silver-tone, the necklace also has matching fleur-de-lis earrings, which you can buy with the necklace as a set, or separately.
No matter how you express it, the fleur-de-lis is a spectacular emblem, for men, women, children, even grandparents. Some think of it as the quintessential Gallic symbol while others see it as having more global, ancient connections. To some, it is the essential museum-level expression of art and aristocracy. To others, it is just a comfortable, good-looking design form. As a symbol, it brings up myriad pictures, memories, academic excitements. It is universal, but can also be intensely personal. As an example of symbolic art form and treasure it is practically unbeatable!