Savannah is a city at once bold and delicate. Lush flowers and vines lounge across ornate wrought iron gates and red brick facades, a brilliantly restored downtown is constantly bustling with visitors, and Southern hospitality exudes from every storefront. Here, no one seems to be in a rush, just as everyone seems to want to luxuriate in history. Yet there is no stepping back in time in this gothic Southern city, no stubborn refusal of innovation; instead, all eras of American history meld together in the span of one city block.
This juxtaposition of strength and delicacy—in the architecture and its flourishes, in the people and their creativity, in the landscape and its legacy—is the driving force behind our Savannah Collection and our desire to share stories of present and past women’s contributions to Savannah. We believe Savannah is the perfect city to highlight the impact of powerful, creative women, as both the city and our collection embody the strength inherent in femininity.
As a women-led company, AIMEE LACALLE is captivated not only by Savannah’s beauty, with its stately oaks draped in Spanish moss, charming town squares, and well-preserved historical architecture, but also by its plethora of trailblazing women—women who helped establish the vision and energy of Savannah from its founding as a colony in 1733 to today, as well as those who are impacting the city currently, in its communities of artists, students, and culture creators. The motifs in the Savannah Collection are named in honor of six influential women in Savannah’s history, and the stories we are excited to share with you in our lookbook and website showcase the contributions of current creatives in the city.
A character in John Berendt’s 1994 best-selling novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil warns, “You mustn’t be taken in by the moonlight and magnolias. There’s more to Savannah than that.” It’s true that Savannah is an elegant city, brimming with romance and charm, but it is also a city that looks to the future, designing inventive solutions to problems.
Take, for example, the revitalization of the downtown that occurred in recent decades, as Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD for short, purchased and renovated historic buildings to serve as classrooms, art studios, student housing, and more. Founded by Paula Wallace (née Rowan) and Richard Rowan in 1978, and now one of the top art schools in the nation, SCAD has renovated dozens of buildings throughout downtown Savannah—buildings which originally served as a bank, a jail and police department, a nunnery, a railroad complex, an armory, a meat packing plant, a department store, a theater, a hospital, a synagogue, and elementary schools. Some of these buildings sat vacant for decades, languishing in disrepair, until SCAD stepped in to help.
Now, Savannah’s downtown is a top tourist destination. SCAD draws thousands of creative students each year, pursuing their dreams and the latest cutting-edge approaches to their art, bringing a youthful vibrancy to the city. New restaurants and boutique hotels are popping up left and right. Yet the city—known previously as “Garden City” and the “Hostess City”—has maintained its quaint Southern charm. Savannahians are friendly and warm, their food buttery and comforting, their drinks strong and traditional. The character of the city and its Lowcountry surroundings, such as Beaufort, South Carolina and the network of islands dotting the Atlantic Ocean, remains intact, due perhaps to the way its history—the bones of the architecture and the communities—runs so close to the surface. Savannah exists on a human scale, and pays her respects to those who came before her with honor and grace.
It is this grace, this dedication to handling history with caring hands, this strength and vision that AIMEE LACALLE aims to evoke through the patterns and colors of the Savannah Collection, in honor of the mysterious elegance of this romantic garden city.