Kibbo Kift Leader John Hargrave addresses the Althing (annual camp), 1923
Who were the Kibbo Kift?
Were they the pacifist and feminist version of the Boy Scouts? Were they banker-bashing radicals or performance artists? Were they, as some accused, secretly fascists, communists, or connected to the Ku Klux Klan? Now, for the first time in decades, this extraordinary and visionary social movement of the 1920s and 30s is back in the London spotlight.
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This whole thing started a few years ago when a wedding dress came up at auction. Not being a wedding dress swooner I could nevertheless think of quite a few (entirely rational) reasons why the museum should acquire this particular example. For one thing it was made by Victor Stiebel, one of my favourite London couturiers. Secondly, we do not have enough of his creations (one never does) and they do not come up at auction very often. The dress also had an intriguing mystery inscription. We will get to that in a moment. Read the full post
Apologies for taking a while to continue with the Cole Porter song (have a quick look here, if you want to know what this is about). I did not want to start this post with a known unknown but it seems I might have to. Good news first: while waiting for inspiration I read a sentence in a novel published in 1927 that made me sit uncharacteristically upright. These two lines of the second verse suddenly made so much more sense:
Oh, I know it’s hard to waken
But your side-car has been shaken …
I originally thought that ‘side-car’ referred to a ‘one-wheeled device attached to the side of a motorcycle’ (thanks, wikipedia) or other similar vehicle, which was waiting to take the awakened daughter to her restaurant. Of course it actually refers to a cocktail ‘invented’ in the early 1920s. The ingredients – Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice – do indeed have to be mixed in a shaker and I shall certainly try one at my earliest convenience.
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While rummaging around for objects (okay, while I was carefully perusing the hanging bays) for a project I am working on at the moment , I came upon this Schiaparelli-esque jacket: I love the fabric, an eau de nil damask with a pattern of golden-yellowy flies and particularly how they were made to charge towards each other around some of the seams. Here is a close-up of one of the buttons (the top front button has come off, but thankfully we still have it): The jacket was donated in 1977 together with three evening dresses, which I will check out […]