Lorraine Parish has been an Island fashion presence for nearly three decades, but it was her personal spirit rather than her designer’s eye which last month put her in front of a film crew, shooting the pilot for a television series on baby boomers.
The hour-long Public Broadcasting System (PBS) show, yet untitled, is being edited for broadcast in Boston area. Laurie Donnelly, executive producer of the pilot and for lifestyle entertainment at Boston’s WGBH-TV, is teaming up with AARP magazine to chronicle the lives of boomers today.
The producers found Ms. Parish after she had designed an Academy Awards ceremony dress for Karen Goodman, who is a production associate for the pilot. “Karen and I became friends,” Ms. Parish said. “She spent a lot of time on the Island, but we hadn’t talked for several years. Then she called out of the blue last month.
“WGBH had this idea for a documentary on baby boomers, and Karen asked if I was interested,” she said. That led to an interview with Ms. Donnelly, who said, “We loved Lorraine. We thought she was lively and great.”
So Ms. Parish headed off for a weekend of filming with eight boomers from across the country, each talking about their lives — about children, relationships, about retirement, health and aging.
A qualified flower child, Ms. Parish left her Alabama home after high school, literally dancing across America before globe-trotting her way into a fashion design career in Spain, New York, and finally the Vineyard. Here, Lorraine Parish designs have graced the forms of the famous and not so famous since 1978. Several years ago, Lorraine Parish Home Design came to life as well.
“My initial reaction to our conversation was ‘I’m older than I thought’,” Ms. Parish said. “We’re talking about retirement, entering a different phase of our lives, living longer — that’s just not something I think about, I’m still feeling the European free spirit.”
The filming experience was a chance for reflection and introspection for Ms. Parish. “I noticed how much more comfortable I am with myself today. I felt very open and honest during the filming,” she said.
“I felt honored to be part of it, like I had a certain knowledge that might be worth listening to, that my life experiences kind of add up to who I am today.
“In many ways I feel the same as I did back then,” she said. “I still have this optimistic view, but with more life experience. I don’t have disappointments any more. When I began my career, I thought fame and fortune was the barometer. Now it’s being happy with what you’ve got and how you got there. I’m content with my life.”