As Paris — and the world — continued to reel from the fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday, designers reacted to the blaze and shared their memories of the famed landmark, the center of the City of Light.
Ralph Lauren: “We always remember where we were when tragedies occur like yesterday’s devastating fire in the cathedral of Notre-Dame. I was in a design meeting when one of my French team members uttered a cry and said, ‘Notre-Dame is in flames.’ We watched together on her iPhone as that towering spire, a landmark of Paris for centuries, collapsed. It was difficult to return to work thinking of all our friends and colleagues in Paris and in France who have suffered this loss so personally. Our thoughts are with them and our strong belief that Notre-Dame will rise from the ashes and continue to inspire not only the strong faith and resiliency of the French people, but all of us from around the world who have been touched by the beauty and history of that remarkable edifice.”
Diane von Furstenberg: “Watching it burn yesterday was heartbreaking.
“But it is standing and will be rebuilt.
“Notre-Dame de Paris is Paris.
“It is also the Victor Hugo book ‘Notre-Dame de Paris.’ Quasimodo…Esmeralda..the love story.
When I visited Notre-Dame the first time I looked for Quasimodo and for the last 30 years that I have an apartment nearby, I still think of Quasimodo when I walk by.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri: “I will never forget the images of Notre-Dame de Paris in flames.
We are citizens of our time, but we need points of reference that are both part of our collective memories and our personal histories. These are eternal monuments that speak to our history as human beings, but are also linked to our emotions. Today there is great sadness, partly relieved by the enormous worldwide mobilization around this great monument of our civilization.”
Alessandro Michele: “As many others, I, too, have a souvenir photo of a trip to Paris. It’s a photo that portrays me, my sister and my mother in front of Notre-Dame. Crossing through Paris you always see Notre-Dame. I am deeply saddened by what has happened. While it was difficult to watch those terrible images, I was glued for hours in front of the television on Monday evening.
“Notre-Dame is the symbol of Paris, a symbol of resistance, because in all these centuries it has survived the attacks of history, It has many times been attacked, robbed, destroyed. However, every time it was born again, more magnificent than before.
“I hope it will be the same this time.”
Marc Jacobs: “I made my first trip to Paris when I was 17 years old. I fell completely in love with the city and felt that I should have been born there — that’s how at home I felt. Like every lucky first-timer, I spent days and days just walking around Paris and made my rounds, seeing every great site and monument. Notre-Dame was one of many symbols of Paris and such a strong and majestic one. Yesterday’s news was horrible. The site of her burning was actually painful. I’m very happy and proud that Mr. [Bernard] Arnault and LVMH have stood up and offered such generous support to restore this great beauty.”
Jonathan Anderson: “I could see the flame and smoke from my office in Paris. The city has become a bit like my second home and I was so sad to see such destruction of a Parisian icon. The Paris skyline wont be the same again.”
Josie Natori: “What can I say….Paris and Notre-Dame go hand in hand in my mind and soul. Considering Paris as my second home.…I can’t count the number of times bringing guests to Notre-Dame was a must. Getting to Notre-Dame was always a goal for Ken and I in our walks along the Seine from our home and back with lunch in between. Going to mass at Notre-Dame was always special through the years. I will miss viewing the spire from far away and look forward to seeing the rebuilding of this historic monument sooner than soon!”
Pierpaolo Piccioli: “Notre-Dame’s fire makes our soul ache, our consciousness tremble.
My second metaphorical home is a few blocks away from that inestimable good.
A great part of my medieval imaginary world is kept between those walls and no fire will be able to destroy it, ever. I wish Our Lady will come back to shine, as quick as a phoenix, as majestic as a dream. My heart is with her now.”
Tommy Hilfiger: “I was shocked and saddened by the news. I could not believe such a precious cultural treasure was destroyed. It is comforting to know that generous business leaders in France and elsewhere will rebuild this historic monument. People will never forget this devastating fire in 2019.”
Donna Karan: “My memory of that extraordinary place starts when I first saw it, when we did the French and the Americans at Versailles. The memories of being in Paris, this young girl from New York, and seeing the majesty of Paris. I always loved seeing that building when going along the river. What always amazed me about Paris, and still does, is the light, and the ancientness of it and the sophistication. It looks more beautiful every year. When I look at Paris I see the past and the present. The past shines on continuously, something that will last forever. That’s how I see Paris.
I have great love and passion for all the people of Paris. I love the fact that both Kering and LVMH have [stepped up]. It’s beautiful, and I celebrate that.”
Riccardo Tisci: “I am so deeply saddened by the devastating fire that took place at Notre-Dame, a place of breathtaking beauty, history and religious significance.
“I hold so many precious memories of Notre-Dame from my time living and working in Paris, including spending mass there this past Christmas Eve surrounded by my family and friends. It was one of the most beautiful and poignant moments in my life and is a memory I will cherish forever.
“I send all my support and prayers to all those impacted and those dedicating their time and efforts to rebuilding this exceptional monument.”
Michael Kors: “Notre-Dame Cathedral is an incredibly transportive place for me. It’s one of the few spots in the world where you feel a sense of calm even in a huge crowd. Back in the Eighties, when I was in my 20s, we would be very ‘Funny Face’ and go directly to Notre-Dame after checking into our hotel in Paris. It’s rare when an iconic building feels like an old friend.”
Vera Wang: “Although I have visited the cathedral on numerous occasions (and I am not of the Catholic faith), my most fond memory was of my daughter Cecilia, aged nine, climbing to the top of one of the front towers in 90 degree weather with her father and a friend. Notre-Dame was a place of sanctuary, majesty, but also fun for a young child.”
Narciso Rodriguez: “What an unimaginable tragedy. I had to disconnect because the footage I was seeing was so upsetting.
“While working in Paris, I walked past and visited Notre-Dame often and grew to cherish her as much as the citizens there do. I am hopeful that all will be restored, and this will become part of her great history.”
Wes Gordon, Carolina Herrera: “My mother took me to Paris for the first time when I was in middle school. The very first thing we did was walk to the Île de la Cité to visit Notre Dame. Ever since that day, I would visit every time I was in town.”
Tory Burch and Pierre-Yves Roussel: “The fire at Notre-Dame is heartbreaking on so many levels. The cathedral has been a witness to history and a symbol of timeless beauty, peace and permanence. It makes us all think about the essence of time…This event has touched the world — there is consolation in knowing that it will be rebuilt for future generations. Notre dame à jamais la plus belle…”
Zac Posen: “As I child I was mesmerized by the multicolored light beams projecting on the floor of the cathedral, I would try to move my face and feel the color changes.”
Joseph Altuzarra: “It was heartbreaking to see images of Notre-Dame burning. Notre-Dame was a constant in my life growing up in Paris. It was a part of the history we studied, and of the literature we read. It was the landmark my friends and I would choose to use to decide where to meet to hang out, and I’ve visited it countless times. I have no doubt it will rise back up, and continue to symbolize the poetry and beauty of Paris!”