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She was 28. He was 22. She was a sophisticated society star, inventor and one-time actress. He was a playboy with a lust for literature. Both grossly attractive and from wealthy well-respected Boston families; they met on July 4, 1920. It was love at first sight and Harry declared his love for Caresse within 2 hours of their first encounter. She was married with 2 kids and he was relentless in his pursuit of her. It took Harry 2 weeks and Caresse was his. “He seemed to be more expression and mood, than man,” wrote Caresse, “yet he was the most vivid personality I’ve ever known, electric with rebellion.”
In February 1922 they fled the social shame that their affair brought to Caresse with her children to Paris. ‘It was in Paris that the bon viant couple lived a theatrically mad, bad and bohemian existence with a list of associates and collaborators that reads like a cultural index of the era. With their innate hedonistic penchants they traveled widely and tried pretty much everything. Caresse and Harry were seen to embody the moneyed, decadent glamour of the roaring ’20s and beyond. Opiates, exotic African holidays, flirtations with various faiths, riotous parties, seven-in-a-bed shockers, ominous tattoos, airplane joy-rides, gambling sprees … they did it all.’
Though dilettantes of arts they were, their precedent passion was literature which led them to launch their own publishing house, the Black Sun Press. ‘With the publication house they printed editions by leading modernist writers and commissioned some of the outstanding artists and illustrators of their day such as D .H Lawrence, Archibald MacLeish, Kay Boyle, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Max Ernst and Hart Crane. They made exquisite books using the finest paper and binding that all the Crosbys’ money could buy, and laid out by an obsessively precise old typesetter, Black Sun books were often issued in minuscule numbers, with even smaller runs of special deluxe editions.
Today, bar a couple of ageing biographies and a few footnotes, they’re all but forgotten, their once-famous names covered over by layers of history.
. . .
“To fear the terre à terre (the normal); believe that life is ‘futile’ and that passionate memories are the utmost gold; poetry is religion and one should follow every instinct no matter where it led”, Harry Crosby.
Harry and Caresse Ltd. is a concept label born from passion for the ARTS encompassing MUSIC, POETRY, PHOTOGRAPHY, ARCHITECTURE and FASHION; is a concept fashion label which started from humble beginnings of highly crafted leather accessories consisting of fine shoes, bags and lifestyle travel bags, laptop cases and passport wallets. It soon expanded into fine dandy suits for men and a mixture of delicate frocks in luxurious fabrics for women.
Staying true of their homage to Harry and Caresse Crosby, Harry and Caresse Ltd., have adopted the philosophy of only using the finest quality materials in everything they create, from the natural tanneries of their leathers to their selection of leathers from New Zealand to Italy; from their luxurious silks to the varied silk washes to create the finest textures; and from their beautifully thoughtful packaging to the highly regarded boutiques they are stocked in. Harry and Careese Ltd., appreciates the joys of fine quality.
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Peter Lyle, “www.telegraph.co.uk” 12:19PM BST 19 Jun 2009., http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/5549090/The-Crosbys-literatures-most-scandalous-couple.html, (June 3rd, 2011)
To read more about Harry and Caresse; by Peter Lyle writer of The Telegraph UK, click here: