If this week turns out to be completely in memoriam don't be surprised or disappointed. As mentioned in yesterday's post, last week's conversation with Will and Jennifer has set me off on a path looking at those decorators who died, many of them of AIDS, in the 1980s and early 1990s - the connective tissue, as it were, between the generation of Albert Hadley, Mrs Henry Parish, Billy Baldwin, et al, and the generation working today.
Before their early deaths, they were highly regarded and feted as the best of their generation (see yesterday's post) and Gary Hager was one of them. Apprenticed at Parish-Hadley, as were many who survived in a comfortable middle age, Gary Hager alas did not survive to grow into the kind of maturity demonstrated, for example, by David Kleinberg, another Parish-Hadley alumnus.
AIDS was the red line drawn through late 20th century history; a line marking of the beginning of a catastrophe of immense proportions, and many did not cross that line. The loss to our industry and to society at large is immeasurable and if we are to see our profession as having some sociological significance, then those designers are a forgotten generation whose importance needs to be recognized. They are forgotten in the sense that their work is recorded in the interior design magazines and books of the late 20th century yet their lives and their passing, at best, is to be found in scattered obituaries, but the history that includes them is still to be written.
Photos by George Chinsee, from Manhattan Style, John Esten & Rose Bennett Gilbert, Little, Brown & Company, 1990.