It was in 1900?”
Hans, a former advertising executive, was visiting his family in Berlin and, when he heard about the flapper dress, he immediately took his business to the British capital. The dress, which had a sash hanging down, had been manufactured to give the illusion that some women were wearing what was called the “bobble” hairstyle.
In a letter to his friend Alfred von Thuesen, a designer who was a friend and patron of the designer and whom Hans was trying to set up a business with, Thuesen suggested that Hans start a fashion shop in London in honour of the designer’s birthday. Thuesen also said that a flapper dress was the style of the day.
“I told my mother,” Hans said, recalling the early days of his London design business, “that it was really the fashion of the day. She was delighted, and thought it was wonderful that the world would be getting a sense of femininity from so far away.”
Hans, now 85, lived in London, Paris, Milan and Madrid for much of his adult life. He now lives in England, where, he said, he feels more at home than he did a few years ago.
“Now,” he said, “I feel I’m on my own.”
Hans now feels that his early career was inspired by a desire to create something with which men could share, to show them the value they had in life.
“For me, it would have been a kind of socialisation to have seen men in the midst of all this,” Hans said. “We all saw this as we walked down the street, but it was never for women to see.”
The dress was created in 1900 by the French fashion designer Jean Gabel. Gabel described the dress as a form of women’s flapper dress, with a single sash hanging under the top of the hair.
“Hans Gabel, whom I knew from the time we went to school together, really had a special way to combine fashion and beauty,” said Pauline Bischof, now a resident manager at Hans’s studio, whose husband Peter helped him start his design business.
Peter Bischof, who died in August, also was a lifelong friend of Hans’s father. The two men went to the same school at the same time in Munich and taught and taught again for years in various cities before Peter moved, at age 11
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