Lost young men, shady fathers, nameless flâneurs, Modiano’s men float in the city and in their clothes. From one book to the next, they sketch a silhouette and a certain France.

“I am nothing, nothing but a pale silhouette, that evening, on the terrace of a café”. Writer of memory, Patrick Modiano is also the writer of fabrics. Among these, a certain preference for the Prince of Wales: “his hands on the lapels of his jacket, a very loose Prince of Wales”, “a very tall man in a Prince of Wales suit, about thirty, black hair, a thin moustache. I really think it was me.”

Defeated emigrés, his characters hold on to their suits. Such is the case for Harold Howard, “dressed in a garnet turtleneck jumper, a thick tweed jacket and very loose green velvet trousers”, Michel Axter, “wearing thick tortoiseshell spectacles, a red tweed jacket and a pipe”, Stioppa de Djagoriew, “wrapped in a loden cloak”, Freddie Howard de Luz, his “camel hair and green scarf”.

These heavy fabrics mirror the crooks’ fine suits. Brossier, “mackintosh and old Tyrolean hat”, Vietti, “navy blue pinstripe suit”, Van Bever, “herringbone coat, too big for him”, Rachman, “suit folded over his right arm, black briefcase in his left hand, looking like a salesman leaving home for a tour of the provinces”, Mérovée, wearing “a Sunday suit – those narrow-shouldered suits made by a tailor of the time, called Renoma”: “my father”, “the look of a defrocked priest”.

It is however his nameless young narrators for whom clothing most becomes a wall. “One of those old Canadian shearlings you could find at the flea market”; “his civilian suit – a grey flannel”, and a desire to find the right armour: “He would need a coat for winter and, above all, shoes. Yes, shoes with big crepe soles… with crepe soles you can’t fear anything or anyone”. Modiano’s own uniform takes shape: the tall, almost dandy-like young man in the leather coat and silk scarf, black turtleneck and deep V-neck; the well-known writer in the flannel suit and Prince of Wales jacket; the Nobel Prize winner, his knitted polo shirts and his untied scarf.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. 1972

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. 1972.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. Press pictures, 1980s.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. Press pictures. 1980s.

LE TAN, Pierre, art. Paris of my Youth, 1988, p.50.

LE TAN, Pierre, art. Paris of my Youth. 1988.

LE TAN, Pierre, art. Missing Person.

LE TAN, Pierre, art. Missing Person.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. 2014.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. 2014.

11 Sep 1975, Paris, France --- Portrait of Patrick Modiano ©Sophie Bassouls/Leemage

MODIANO, Patrick writer. Paris-France. 11 September 1975.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. December 1969.

MODIANO, Patrick, writer. December 1969.

    « historically done by hand, with a striking visual detail in lighter, brighter fabrics »
    «Writer of memory, Patrick Modiano is also the writer of fabrics.»
    « the aesthetics described as “French Mod”: extensive collars on structured shirts, a bit of flair here and a touch of paisley there. »
    « from being synonymous with rebellion, exemplified within the punk scene and anarchist movements to symbolizing freedom and unity »
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