In 2017, Macon & Lesquoy designed the blue embroidered cornflower brooch seen just above (35€).
We once bought vintage plastic hair combs in vibrant blues, reds and whites at a Paris antiques fair, learning from the seller that those dated back to the end of WWII, when they were produced to fête the end of a long voyage into the night.
Then, there are those lovely red poppies worn in the UK in principle on Poppy Day. They are sold by the Royal British Legion to raise funds for the armed forces families. Catherine Duchess of Cambridge was offered one in red crystal, the Buckley brooch (you can see it after the jump)...
If wearing poppies on your lapel is a widely held tradition in the UK, in France, there isn't such wildly popular display of sartorial floral symbolism. Yet, there is a way.
We discovered not long ago that in France, there exists a similar symbol, but which is much less popular and well known, the blue cornflower. It is actually more ancient than the poppy symbol, but it has mostly gone out of fashion. The blue flower symbolizes the end of WWI. "Bleuet" or "cornflower" was the name given to soldiers enrolled beginning in 1917, who had not experienced wearing the red pants of the early uniforms wearing the new blue ones in the "bleue horizon" (Horizon Blue) shade. Yes, it is all very much about fashion choices during wartime.
Two women were behind this idea: Charlotte Malleterre, the daughter of the commander of the Hôtel National des Invalides, and Suzanne Leenhardt, who were both working as nurses there. They created a workshop in 1925 to allow invalids of war to feel a zest for life once again, hopefully, by encouraging them to create cornflowers made out of fabric, which were then sold to raise money for the military.
Calling the Hôtel National des Invalides to ask where one could buy them, we were told that they lack volunteers to hawk them in the streets of Paris in the days leading up to the celebration of May 8th or Victory-in-d'Europe Day. Otherwise, they would love to be more present. Even tobacco sellers (buralistes in French) say they are not interested in carrying the Bleuet-de-France pins, a shame really.
Other than on Remembrance Day, volunteers usually raise V-E Day funds from May 2 until May 8, that is tomorrow - and also from November 3 to November 11. Because of this, your best bet is to find them on May 8th, for instance, near the Arc de Triomphe, where the ceremonies are held. You can also buy them anytime on their site at bleuetdefrance.fr
Their cornflower range is not as developed as the one existing for the poppy symbol (update: in 2017, this has changed.) But that simple cornflower flower made out of textile is utterly lovely in its simplicity. (in 2017, you can check out this catalogue).
The poppy range is absolutely darling despite symbolizing the blood spilled on the battefields. Poppies also represent the triumph of life over death in their capacity to grow unshackled - like the French cornflowers - both wild. Poppies you can find at poppyshop.org.uk
On whichever side of the Channel you are around those dates, you can celebrate the end of global wars for Europe in particular with pops of color and floral symbols of life.