It was love at first sight when I saw this postage stamp that inspired me for making my last framework "Parisienne" (you can view it here), and start chasing the story behind it than.
Pierre Gandon (French illustrator and engraver of postage stamps) engraved this French stamp that dated 1955. One of his artwork is “Lady and the Unicorn” that I wrote its story before. (Read it here) While we looking at our beautiful stamp and thinking that: “What could be this stamp about ?” the word that's in the bottom comes to help: “Ganterie”. Not too hard to guess, it means "Gloves". Well than what could be the reason that France published this postage stamp for the sake of a pair of glove?
We go back to 15th century for understand this. Our story begins in Saint-Junien, in the mid-west region of France. Saint-Junien, near the Vienne River, has made that livestock the main source of income for the people of the region, because of high quality of the river's water and plentifulness of the land. Livestock also brings with it the craft of leather processing; and the first gloves are produced here by processing leather.
Glove production becomes industrializing; and La Ganterie de Saint-Junien (Saint-Junien Glove factory) was established. Gloves produced with special techniques here find a high value as luxury consumer goods, and this attitude on gloves does not change over time. Wearing gloves in Europe and America becomes a sign that you are middle or upper class, after all, it is so important that your hands are not damaged by the sun, isn't it? :)
Many luxury fashion houses (such as Hermès, Dior, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint-Laurent, Kenzo, Inès de La Fressange) also work with the Saint-Junien glove factory. But, competition and changes in consumption patterns have caused a number of setbacks for the French glove-making industry, born in the Middle Ages in the heart of livestock-rearing regions. Almost a century old, the Ganterie de Saint-Junien, situated on the banks of the River Vienne, is the oldest glove factory in France. Acquired by Hermès in 1998, it has been given a new lease of life and employed old workers here. Since 2008, the glove making craft in Saint-Junien has been included in France's intangible cultural heritage inventory.
The scene on this stamp is, this charming pose of the model wearing the glove that fitting to an evening dress, in the shining Concorde Square at the beginning of the Champs-Elysées Street, that known with the chic venues of Paris. The another postage stamp that themed jewels in my framework is from the series about luxury industrial products of France in 1954. (Other members of the series are stamps printed on tapestries, porcelain, perfumery, bookbinding.) It is said that this glove stamp, which was issued a year later, was also printed with such a beautiful drawing, regretting that it was not included in the luxury consumer industry products in 1954.
P.S.: What I read in many sources is that the glove has started to be used as one of the symbols of preserving purity; and in this way it became a luxury consumer product, especially in the 19th century. The fact that it has become "a must have piece" for playing snowballs today makes the glove's magical journey a bit funny and a little heartbreaking :)