Saturday, 28 December 2013

Best of British

Greetings to our world wide multi denominational readership! Wherever you may be and in whomsoever your faith is placed, we hope this finds you as bright and crisp as the blue skies over London today. These few days are the waiting room between seasonal festivities where we flick through the magazine of the past year before being called into the next with some nervous anticipation.

Some people are wading through the next few days, awaiting with nervous anticipation the next wave of weather. Months ago, the hot summer delivered unto us quite respectably sized olives on the little trees of Bedlam and they have clung on in defiance of this week's storms that shook them roughly. We hope the year was kind to you and yours, that you weathered all inc. inclement squalls, and that this finds you replete from the fruits (and nuts) of your table.

We chose the rejected runt Christmas tree at the back of the yard that nobody else wanted, with a bent top that gave it a questioning air and allowed our fairy to list drunkenly:

One of the best gifts we could have wished for came wrapped in newspaper on December 9th, when the righteous Daily Mail chose six companies to represent the "Best of British" - the criteria being that you have to be making in Britain using British suppliers. We found ourselves proudly filling a sandwich between John Smedley
and John Lobb
two long revered institutions of distinguished dressing.

Makers of fine, in all senses, knitwear, John Smedley was established in 1784 in Derbyshire where they still produce today. They are a Royal Warrant holder, as is John Lobb, the company that bears the name of the lame Cornish farm boy who walked to London to learn the trade of bootmaking. He cashed in during the Australian gold rush by making boots with hollow heels for stashing nuggets and returned to London to open his shop in 1866 from whence the company has shod assorted Kings and maestros ever since.

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has the second highest readership in the UK and the most online IN THE WORLD, thanks to the siren lure of the "sidebar of shame" - made up disgustingly largely, or shockingly skinnily, of celebs in bikinis - that scrolls down and yet downer to Hell. Here's the link:

And for those who still prefer inky fingers, here's the paper:

So what company to keep, and we are most grateful to Liz Jones and her researcher Dawn. The article was intended as a riposte to Jeremy Hackett's comments in The Times that his company can't get their clothes made in Britain due to the textile industry being "decimated".
The first point to make would be that it isn't Jeremy's company any more, he is but an amiable figurehead. We have enjoyed his personal company on many occasions, he is a style standard bearer for South London, and we hope we betray no confidence when we say his eye glistened - or was it the candlelight? - when we told him we do indeed make everything here. He professed the wish that he still had the authority in the company that bears his name to buy a factory here. Well, we are but microscopic and not so flush, but had we the resources available to Hackett the corporation, and a mere six week lead time, we could ask Huddersfield Fine Worsted to weave anything we liked that was not in their available stock; we could commandeer the Cooper Stollbrand factory in Manchester to roll out ready-to-wear for us; and we would have busted a gut to stop James Grove buttons going bust and be helping the saint who is trying to re-establish them:

Many thanks also to Madame Sasha Slater, doyenne of class, who had our scarves elevated to Harper's Bazaar's Christmas gift guide, in the luxury section in between the Aston Martin hamper and a Mulberry dress:

A cause of much shrieking celebration was the milestone of the Millennial Bedlamite - Nick Johannessen was the 1000th person to "like" our page on Facebook! We know he is a man of taste from his blog and to his credit he can now add the Duffle Bag we are sending to Norway as a prize :

If you haven't yet made your own mark of approval, then help roll us on and upwards here:

Remember, that's the place to catch up with creations and commissions on a daily basis while postings here have slipped to monthly editions. Below is a gallery of the winter season's clients - a better bunch we could not wish for, and many, many thanks to all who climbed the stairs to Bedlam this year.

My brain is getting fatigued, the body having to work so hard to get through surfeit calories that the mind is sluggish. I had wanted to write a well considered round up of the year as digestif but perhaps these recent pictures will do it better. While we still hope in time to make a widely accessible branch of Bedlam, the joy of creating clothes for wildly diverse, fabulously interesting, individual characters that we have the privilege of getting to know, is so hugely rewarding that we only hope some of the satisfaction transmits.

Simon's purple velvet party jacket with silk lining custom printed by Dan & Louise Hatley with Bedlam's signature handcuffs

A cape for the castle ramparts in John G. Hardy "Alsport" tweed with scarlet silk crepe lining and secret zippy pocket just visible

Jamie Poulton in the "Dolf" jacket from the Hell for Leather Autumn / Winter 2013 collection

Moritz at the first fitting for his wool / mohair suit

We really do love our clients

Cool Cat Jake in his "Joat", made from John G. Hardy "Alsport" tweed

Steve's three-piece suit in Holland & Sherry "Peacock" tweed with mussel shell buttons 

Steve, monumentally magnificent in his suit.

We were proud to make Robert Peel's winter wedding suit (below). He has become a dear friend, a client who came with us from the old shop. No greater compliment can a man pay his tailor. His great great (great?) grandpappy, whose name he bears, introduced, amongst other things while holding office as one of our better Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers, the modern police force - put the raggle taggle key stone vigilantes in a smart uniform and gave them an identity: "The Peelers" or "Bobbies"!

Robert was an early adopter of Bedlam, from the old shop. He paid us the highest compliment by asking us to make his winter wedding suit. CONGRATULATIONS!!

Robert chose a 100% wool John G. Hardy Worsted Alsport in a charcoal grey with joyful flecks of colour and a silver lining. We went for mussel shell buttons - one set of cuff buttons will have the rough side out, the other arm will present the smooth. For such is married life!
On one cuff the mussel shell buttons are rough side out, the other smooth, for such is married life!

And the last bit of sewing we shall share for now, the party hats we made for our Shareholders' Agreements, a document prepared for our Founding Fathers and Mothers. As the year closed we added one more to their number, my friend the legend, Nile Rodgers, and we are honoured by his faith, as we are by the continuing support of our other scaffolders, and everyone that entrusts us with getting them best dressed and, not least, anyone who gives this chattering blog their attention in times of myriad options and calls on such.
Thank you all.
Our very best wishes for a happy and healthy 2014,
Caroline & Mark

Wishing you health & happiness - waheyyy!!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Press Junket

We've had something of a flurry of press by our standards -  firstly Nile Rodgers, this weekend honoured at French GQ magazine's "Men of the Year" award in Paris -
heaped props upon us when he was interviewed regarding his personal style:

The section relevant to us, for those of you too busy to click, runs a little sumting like this:

"On some level, with certain tailors, I have a love affair with the bespoke process. There's this label Earl of Bedlam, a new line coming up here in London. Their rap is that they use nothing but the finest English fabrics. I have some wonderful woollen suits. Even their T-shirts are extraordinary: there are a couple of shots of a three piece white suit [founder] Mark Wesley made for me in a magazine called Jocks & Nerds. He's making some stuff for me now..."

This was followed by the  British edition of GQ deeming our cape "Winter's Must Have" in their October edition:

Then came a feature in Women's Wear Daily, the pre-eminent trade paper for the rag trade You need a subscription to access it online but we shall circumvent that protocol for you:

LONDON — The meeting of Earl of Bedlam’s cofounders Caroline Butler and Mark Wesley, as Butler tells it, was almost inevitable. When she was working in media in the U.S..., she met John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s former live-in psychic. “It was about a year before I met Mark that ...she told me that I would meet a man in France; he’d have a son and gray hair. Then, 2009, I met a single dad [living in the South of France] whose hair, when he took off his hat, was gray.”

She set up Earl of Bedlam with Goldsmith College-trained Wesley in 2010, naming the label after the infamous Bethlehem asylum that once stood nearby as a tribute to the local landmark that was also known as “Bedlam.”

Initially, they specialized in purely bespoke men’s wear, providing “classics that have stood the test of time but giving them a modern, relevant, contemporary and witty twist,” said Butler. “All our clothes have stories, there are eccentric touches but we never impose anything alien on a client; it’s about waking up the most fashionable person you can be. At 20 paces, one of our suits might look like classic killer boardroom attire but, up close, you can see bias-cut panels and quirky details.”

At the end of 2012, and wanting to expand from bespoke into ready-to-wear, Butler was telling Baron Sweerts de Landas Wyborg of their search for investors to grow the business. The Baron, or Dolph, offered his financial support. They pulled the rtw collection together in just a few weeks, earning it the title "Hell for Leather" for the rapid pace in which it was created, and for the leather and equestrian details it featured.

The collection, which riffs heavily on traditional English men’s classics, is made entirely from British fabrics and manufactured in the U.K. It is stocked at Any Old Iron in New York’s Lower East Side, and at the Buccleuch & Queensberry Arms Hotel, which is owned by the Baron’s family, on the Scottish Borders. Their London shop is visited by appointment: “Buying a piece of bespoke clothing is not like popping out to buy a pint of milk,” said Butler. “It’s a significant commitment... When people reach the top of the [studio] stairs, we know they’re serious.”

The brand is soon to launch a collection of silk scarves with “hand-rolled hems by a lady in Hull,” featuring the likenesses of Zelda Fitzgerald, Errol Flynn and Clara Bow, among others. The scarves, said Butler, are proof that “out of any crappy situation, one can find something good.” In September last year, Butler helped to save the life of a stabbing victim who, she said, “collapsed almost on our doorstep.” Months later, when she was called as witness on the trial, she was bemoaning the fact that the brand had been denied the rights to use artwork created by one of Bedlam’s inmates on the scarves to a fellow witness, Scottish-born artist Anna McNeil, who offered to provide the artwork instead. 


As regular readers well know, the "others" referred to above are Keith Richards and Syd Barrett and so delighted are they / their representatives with the scarves that they are now approved, endorsed and official, bearing their respective marks to prove it:

So it took a while, but anything worth having is worth waiting for eh?

And a different sort of press appearance is our first ever print ad in "The House" magazine. It occurred to us a while ago that we had a captive audience of suit wearers a stone's throw across The Thames in the Palace of Westminster, and most of them could do with a hand when it comes to getting dressed. 

The smell of roast chicken is wafting across the Kennington Road to entice me back home on this chilly Sunday evening, so I shall wrap this edition and hit the printing press presently. But we'll conclude with another media darling, Mr Clifford Price, aka Goldie, who invited us to the opening of his art exhibition at the Mead Carney gallery on Dover Street, Mayfair. Had we a stash of cash for acquiring art, Mr Wesley was adamant that we would have bought one, which he didn't say to G, he said it to me. So it was not idle sycophancy.

Mr Wesley, Mr Whitmore (his old pal at whose club Goldie will be playing on Jan 2nd), his daughter Daysie and H

Me and Goldie and Mr Whitmore. I'm wearing our handcuff motif silk scarf around my neck.
Right, the chef's getting grumpy that dinner will spoil, so I must hasten home. Good night.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Season of Lists and yellow t-shirtfulness

This might be something of a random compendium of a round up as I got my panic on noticing it is a month since the last posting. Still, if I get in the zone a themed thread may emerge. In our last edition, you will recall, we featured the yellow "God Save the Queen" bee-shirt.

We made them specifically for Apple Day at the Roots & Shoots eco centre at the other end of our road that also houses the London Beekeepers' Association. Local events such as these are an opportunity to introduce ourselves to our neighbours and remind those that have not come good on promises to stop by! We take along our swatch books and this time included the shirting material (Lancashire cottons) to promote our new bespoke shirt service. One of our first customers announced that it was the finest shirt he has ever had made and that female admirers had flocked to compliment him on his uncommonly well turned out demeanour. We were proud and delighted to be told.

On this gloriously sunny day, one gentleman paused by our table and wagged a doomy finger, intoning as he did, "You've given yourself a thankless task, up against the internet!"
I pointed out that ours was a personal, bespoke service and he countered that HIS shirts were bespoke, delivered to his door and on time. With confidence I parried that we too delivered, if required, to the door, and on time. "But I pay £30 a shirt!" came his coup de grace.
"Well done," I conceded, "and I'm sure the children of the East are grateful for your business. Should you ever wish to give work to your local community then you know where to find us."
I had been standing up for sometime in the full sun without refreshment by that point so in retrospect it was lucky that was all I said.

One bad apple didn't spoil Apple Day though, as everyone else was friendliness personified. Oh, actually, there was one lady d'un certain age, who ruffled everything on the table before commenting she had seen our poster in the coffee shop and thought, "Ooh what a terrible name! Fancy choosing that!"
I remarked that it has worked well for us, once heard not forgotten.
"I'm sure it isn't!" she harrumphed. "Who would want to be associated with madness?!"
Some terse explanation about free thinking and creative imagination was offered through clenched teeth. In the week that saw the rumpus about Asda and Tesco withdrawing their "Mental Patient" Hallowe'en costumes it did behove some explanation more than usual. Aside from the association we are proud to have, there is the issue that if Elton John chose to call his clothing line, say, "Big Poof Designs" or Jay Z launched, er, "Nigga Ragz", no one could say nicht about it, so the same applies with "Earl of Bedlam". You can't take offence on behalf of the party appropriating the questionable term with due authority. Is that sufficiently comprehensible?

Back to the shirt heckler. It still seems that people disable their basic mathematics when buying clothes. Or anything for that matter. Since being involved in the chain of production I cannot understand why a pint of milk doesn't cost £73.00. Perhaps without EU subsidies it would. The universe gave the consumer a brusque shoulder shake when the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed the week Primark (one of the brands that used it) announced its climb-on-climb record profits.

The article above was written in June, at which point Top Shop had not joined those signing up to the Accord for safe working conditions. Disappointingly, this list of names posted last week shows they are still yet to join up, but you can see those who have:

Another recent over sight of the chain was to forget to ask Rihanna if she minded having her face on their t-shirt. She did.
The ruling in her favour was returned the same day we finally - you know we like to draw out our stories - heard back from Keith Richards to say we had the blessing of the Stone to proceed with our silk scarf. Patience and good manners (and some cracking connections, thank you to Bill & Marcela Curbishley and Scott Rodger) won the day. The law aside, it does just seem good manners to ask.

Sample of Keith's silk pocket square. The border will be more scarlet than orange, now we are allowed to make more.

Correspondence ensued between our camps regarding terms, and what seemed like a casual enquiry regarding a copyright line. Did we have one? Might as well, I thought, and replied, yes, we could add that to the design, thinking (oh simple girl!) they meant "(c)Earl of Bedlam". The deal memo duly arrived with the copyright line spelt out - "(c)2013 Keith Richards".
And we are happy to grant that. More than happy. Thrilled and relieved!

This last week I had the great pleasure of being treated to Eggs Benedict at the Royal Garden Hotel at a very grown up (and very early) breakfast meeting with Norman Perry, the man who oversees licensing for Pink Floyd. Not only did we get their OK for scarf Syd but they would like to offer it on their website. Norman asked about fulfilment of orders. I was ready with my answer, saying we'd talked over whether people would be prepared, in this age of instant gratification, to go back to the old school "Allow 28 days for delivery" terms. We, and Mr Perry, decided that they would.

Syd below Zelda with a strip of the Clink Street Gaoler's handcuffs

Syd Barrett atop Mr Wesley

If something is worth having, it should be worth waiting for and that is also crucial to the understanding that these are limited edition works of art, involving a team of skilled people. Namely:

Anna Mcneil created the original paintings which in turn were photographed by Ben Amure
Those images were then given their borders and text by Mr Wesley before being sent to
Dan and Louise Hatley in Sussex
The roll of silk then comes to us before being sent to Nicola in Hull who hand rolls the hems.
We met Nicola at the Best of Britannia exhibition in London two weeks ago, at the Age of Reason stand - generous as ever, they shared their golden contact with us. Funny how you picture people, I imagined an elderly lady sewing scarves and pocket squares, not the strapping young blond that greeted us.

So that's a chain of talented artists working on the finest materials, and hence a 90 x 90cm silk crepe "Fool'ard" costs £250; a 60 x 60 cm neckerchief costs £120; and a 30 x 30 cm pocket square can be yours for £50.

If we're spared, check back tomorrow for more of last month's news.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

"God Save the Queen!" - getting shirty about the Plight of the Bumblebee

Mr Wesley took a sojourn in the South of France to see l'il Ocean and his mum and dad, slap bang in a spate of searing temperatures. Unable to do much outside he was watching telly in the cool interior one morning and found himself progressively more and more in a funk as items about fracking, elephant poaching and the plight of the bumblebee followed one upon the other. And so he came up with a rather clever  idea for a "God Save the Queen" bee-shirt.

To get you in the mood, here's a musical interlude: a novel version of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble-Bee", played on the accordion, which seems a propos as Mark had the idea in France:

Upon his return, we buzzed along to the end of our road to take advice from the good folk at Roots & Shoots there. They teach young people with learning difficulties how to nurture gardens and they also house the London Beekeepers' Association.
We shyly sought out David Perkins who takes care of the wild garden to make sure we were on the right track. We found him occupied with a party of six year olds, schooling them in bee husbandry. He threw a couple of suits at us, told us to get Velcro-ed up and tag along. So there we were covered head to ankle, with gauntlets covering our hands, but not having anticipated this turn of events we were wearing flip flops. You will be relieved to hear our tootsies survived unstung.

Mr Wesley contemplates the weedy pond in the wild garden at Roots & Shoots

It gets warm in there

Mr Wesley entertaining the children whose tour we crashed

Then we headed out to the hives where David Perkins smoked the inhabitants into action.

Back in his office, while the children ate their packed lunches, David approved the graphic and gave us a poster and more information on what we can all do to help reverse the decline in the bee population. Buzzing with excitement we ran back to the yard and got printing:

Extract from the text on the back:

Bombus Bedlamus!  Create asylum for bees: plant more flowers!
“Bumblebees are key factors in our wildlife. If they disappear many of our plants will not bear fruit. I am proud to be associated with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust”. Sir David Attenborough

You can buy the shirt on our e-shop, and these two new styles also:
the Earl's crown (in white, navy or taupe) -

and the newly remixed for Kennington, reprinted classic Bedlam Motorcycle Club -

And in the final burst of exciting shirt-related news, we are delighted to announce that we now offer a bespoke shirt service. Come in for a consultation, be measured up for a pattern and choose from the finest Lancashire cottons. Put your dream shirt together (lady's or gentleman's) with the details you desire - collar, cuff, monogram, all to play with. Reward your wardrobe with beautifully made, British clothes. Do not let another craftsman or bee become extinct in the UK!

For your beach reading, you still have a chance to pick up the August issue of "JazzWise" magazine, with the British jazz quartet Empirical on the cover, dressed by Bedlam.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Rebirth of the website

Here is a postcard from Kennington, where the heat wave has temporarily abated. This missive is dedicated to Lyn, one of our most loyal subscribers, who gave us a nudge the other day, saying it was July 17th since we last posted. How delighted we are that anyone should notice!

Someone who spreads sunshine wherever he goes is our friend Nile Rodgers, by popular consensus "Man of the Year", whose song for Daft Punk, "Get Lucky" has been the global soundtrack to the summer. It was #1 in scores of countries including the UK, US, France and Australia. For readers on Mars who may not have heard it, it goes a little something like this:

GQ magazine did a piece on Nile's personal style and what a thrill to find Bedlam given props by il Maestro! -
In it he made us glow with pride at these words:
"On some level, with certain tailors, I have a love affair with the bespoke process. There's this label Earl of Bedlam, a new line coming up here in London. Their rap is that they use nothing but the finest English [British] fabrics. I have some wonderful woollen suits. Even their T-shirts are extraordinary: there are a couple of shots of a three piece white suit [founder] Mark Wesley made for me in a magazine called Jocks & Nerds. He's making some stuff for me now - he's dying to make clothing for the girls but I don't want him to. We'll ruin them every show. We try and wear something different every performance and I hate to go through bespoke clothing - we sweat this stuff up and it's really not nice."

Generous as ever, he sorted us out for tickets to see him with his band Chic at the O2. We took along our friend and client, Mr Willis, who - factoring in the International Date Line, being born in Sidney, Australia - shares a birthday with Nile as well as a penchant for Bedlam, and also, it would appear, was surely the inspiration for Nile's song "The Greatest Dancer", at least on the evidence of that night:

Mr Willis bought a new shirt with a silver thread for the occasion of meeting Nile, with whom he shares a birthday and a crazy beat

Another of our celebrated musical clients is one's old mate Goldie, who funnily enough ALSO shares a birthday with Nile, so maybe to be born a Virgo is to be predisposed towards Bedlam?  G made it down to the studio a few weeks ago. I met him at Lambeth North tube station and we walked along Hercules Road toward our corner of the Lambeth Walk. I was conscious that a trio of inebriated locals were following so close on our heels that their breath was hot on our necks. So Goldie turned and flashed that famous smile at which point they came over all bashful to ask if he would pose for a picture with them. He complied with grace and I was reminded of how far the kid the Wolverhampton has come and how he possesses that rare common touch whereby my old mum and dad were quite as thrilled pink to see him again as were the tail-gating tinny drinkers.

Goldie in our "Harry" jacket, softest nubuck suede shooting jacket with biker zip sleeves

Happiness is seeing your old mates

Goldie in the "Tectonic" suit

"Don't wrap it, I'll wear it home" - G in the Ventile mac he chose, with Mr Wesley holding the new rolls of Ventile

Afterwards, G popped in to see Ma & Pa Butler , to their rosy delight
So clients celebrated and otherwise are now collated in galleries on our lovely new website, same address as it ever was,
We are so happy with how it looks and must give heaps and heaps of thanks to Henry Dinkel and Sophie Sweerts for making it happen and to our assorted photographers and models who donated time and talent in enormous measure. Ben Amure , Danny Lowe and our New York star both sides of the lens, Jeffrey Mellor aka Redboy

It behoves us to give big retrospective props to friend since time began, Chrissey Sullivan, who so kindly made our first website / holding page that showed Hogarth's famous scene where the Rake has "Progressed" to Bedlam. It also bore one of my favourite quotes, from Nathaniel Lee, playwright and one time real life resident of Bedlam:
"They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me."
It served us well, and we shall always be grateful to Chrissey for constructing that for us.

I'm a little deconstructed, under the weather with some summer lurgy so am going to have an early dinner which Mr Wesley is about to serve (he is extremely handy with a stove) and get myself to bed, but the next post will be tomorrow - can Lyn keep up?! - to update you on our new shirts. Until then Bedlamites.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Rock'n'Roll Royalty

Regular readers will be aware of the beneficent avuncular role our main clothier Huddersfield Fine Worsted plays in our life these days. So when HM the Queen decided a jolly way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation was to invite all the Royal Warrant Holders - suppliers of goods to the Royal Household - to the gardens of Buckingham Palace, they invited us to ride through the gates on their coat tails. So on Thursday July 12th we first rode the bus over the bridge then walked across St. James' Park to the big house on the far side of the lake.

It was blazing hot as we walked around the gardens and chatted with folk from other companies, from Walker's Shortbread to Bentley Cars. We introduced ourselves to James from Lock & Co., the hatters of St. James and he said, "I know Earl of Bedlam!" 

We reminded him that we had posted a picture to their Facebook page of Rollo wearing one of our Tectonic suits, styled with a vintage shellacked coke of theirs, and he exclaimed that he had liked it very much. So that was worth the bus fare on its own.

Next we nosed around the beautiful Bentleys and noticed a familiar set of tools - including a fork, that I imagined someone had inadvertently left out after lunch. Noel Thompson, their master craftsman from Crewe, explained that Bentley invented a fancy machine to make the holes for the leather steering wheel covers to be stitched together, as the slightest bit too tight or slack can cause blisters for the driver. But it never got it as correct and comfortable for the human hand to hold as a human hand and the tines of a fork! Then he let me have a go at stitching it myself and presented me with a piece of their lovely leather embossed with the winged "B".

I got to have a go (and yes, it's been a while since I had my blond swoosh roots done)

Me and Noel with one I made earlier

My feet were on fire by the end of the afternoon, I could have done with soaking them in the little stream that feeds the huge lake in the Queen's back garden, or getting a lift home in one of the spare old cars that were left lying around all over the place like Steptoe's yard.

Then at 4.30pm we all had to troop out in order to return again a few hours later for the concert. I asked a policeman if we could just climb a tree and hide there til showtime. "We will find you Ma'am," he assured me.
Once home - luckily only the other side of Westminster Bridge - I could barely contemplate putting my shoes back on but anaesthetised with a glass of wine, I did and I was glad of it. It was a beautiful evening. Chris Evans was filming the One Show live and we presented him with a business card, saying we considered he goes rather well with our company name. He scrutinised it and laughed, "LOVE IT!!"

Dame Kyrie Te Kanawa sang the National Anthem - not in my key - but wearing my kinda pink. People were politely enthusiastic during the concert, we had to wait to the following night to let our hair down.

There are often extended pauses 

between blogs as I generally await the conclusion to some project or escapade in order to post the full story in one chunk. You will know if you dip into our Facebook page that we are in the process of launching our first series of silk scarves and pocket squares. And if you didn't already, please be persuaded to give our page a thumbs up "Like":

While we have been engaged in the artwork and trying to get clearances from the chosen subjects where required, we took on a charming new client, Miss. Curbishley. We are making her a trouser suit for school. 

As I wrote on our Facebook page, she is, as you can see above, a beautiful girl born into an environment of some cool privilege. This might, you could be forgiven for expecting, have engendered a sense of entitlement and a certain aloof reserve. However her heart is as warm as her face is lovely and much credit for this must of course go to her mum and dad. Bill, her papa, is a legendary figure in the music and film world. He manages The Who and Judas Priest and used to look after Jimmy Page & Robert Plant . He produced those peaks of British cinema -"Tommy", "Quadrophenia" and "McVicar". His latest film project, "The Railway Man", stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. 

And the enthusiasm and support of her mummy has thoroughly refreshed and reinvigorated our spirits. When we showed her the artwork for the scarves, Marcela helped the project along by pre-ordering a sumptuously large Clara Bow, as indeed did Madame Randolfi-Favel, head knitwear designer at Prada. When I mentioned we were still trying to get Keith Richards' blessing on his portrait in order to proceed she not only offered me a ticket for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park but said they would take on presenting it on our behalf. In my fevered imagination I pictured Bill getting backstage just as they were about to go on, Keith going "Wow, that's cool man", putting it round his neck and amblin' out to the roar of the crowd. Well. It didn't quite go like that. But take it on trust that we are sat with baited breath on some word back this week. Which is a diversion from my usual whole-book-not chapters blogging technique, but if we're suffering in the heat of suspense then you can jolly well join us in it.

So there was I on that beautiful evening last Saturday, hair down, hippie dress on, in the posh pen at the front of the stage, feeling thirty years younger in the company of my youthful companions - Miss. Curbishley and her two pals - when a chap in the crowd handed me a cold beer and a compliment, as the only woman who had co-ordinated her eye colour with her dress - red (no, cornflower blue). My cup, or my beer bottle anyway, did bubble over at that point. Then he added, "Are you their chaperone?" 
Bubble burst.
But the beer tasted so good that I merely smiled benignly.

In the course of the Hunt for The Keef we found ourselves a few months back at the private view of Ronnie Wood's exhibition at his gallery on Bruton Street, Mayfair 
A nice man made conversation with us, we figured he mustn't know anybody, so we kept him company for a while. Watching the BBC coverage of Glastonbury the other week, we shrieked and pointed at the screen, for there he was on stage, one-time member of the band returned, Mick Taylor. 

On another day we were on Savile Row to collect fabric from Holland & Sherry (for Ms. Curbishley's suit indeed). In the little lift on the way back down I ran through our Priority To-do list for the day, top of which was "Find Keef". The lift doors opened and there was Ronnie Wood waiting to get in as we got out. I am not normally stunned or mute but I returned his friendly grin with a slack jaw. And then he was gone.

Not Keith
Swinging with the Stones in Hyde Park
Here's some pix of our quarry:

My lovely chaperones. NOT the other way round. And not, obviously, Keith.

KEITH!!! Was the flash of red our scarf??!! No.

Mick Jagger walking over the crowd but if it's not Keith walking toward me then it's not helpful

Not Keith, but Ronnie. Surprisingly fine painter as well, but not Keith.

Keith looked like he was having a good time, and I certainly was

Not only is it Keith but it is SMILEY Keith (we had worried he didn't look too chipper at Glastonbury)

Not only Keith, but Keith with our pal Mick Taylor

Attention seeker

Keith and Charlie, who also look surprisingly happy, possibly as this may be their last gig and he won't have to tour 
What it is we're trying to get to him, Anna McNeil's beautiful portrait that we commissioned, printed on silk satin crepe, as yet unhemmed in this picture

So we hope to have the full and concluded story of our first series of silk scarves, Les Fool'ards de Bedlam, wrapped up and posted soon. Don't go wandering off now!