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Blog 10 - Buttons

It’s not an obvious title for a blog about a scarf but these buttons are the size of tea plates! Six of them to be exact. So which memory does this long dramatic muffler bring to mind? It will be far back, as the scarf is vintage, probably from the Seventies. I can hardly believe I have not featured this designer before, having written so many blogs featuring many of the other big designer names..

The French designer Ted Lapidus did his apprenticeship under Christian Dior and then set up his own house in 1951 in Paris. By the Sixties he was putting Twiggy in a unisex trouser suit, designing a white suit for John Lennon and a decade later designing my patriotic red, white and blue button scarf.

So what memory do I have associated with buttons going far back? My next photo is certainly not a trendy one, but shows an old fashioned biscuit tin with a little girl dressed as a Highland dancer. This belonged to my late mother in law who kept her spare buttons in it. When my young daughters had a sleep over at Grandma’s house, they would all get into bed together on waking early, sing All Things Bright and Beautiful, eat custard cream biscuits and then the big treat on rising……being allowed to sort out Grandma’s button box. I still have it today and this grand old lady, born in Victorian times, would be pleased to know I still use her buttons.

A more recent memory was from my visit, before galleries and museums were closed, to the Watts Gallery in deepest Surrey. It is always a pleasure to revisit this lovely part of the country. I particularly enjoy seeing the huge equestrian sculpture titled Physical Energy by George Frederic Watts and marvel at its size, grandeur and strength. The finished piece stands in Kensington Gardens and brings back memories of dog walks there. Nice to remember fondly two dogs back. I wonder how I got there from buttons! Oh yes, I bought two hand crafted ceramic buttons at the Watts Gallery on my last visit. Ceramics tie in well with the nearby Chapel designed by his wife Mary who set up a local home industry making tiles to decorate this incredible chapel, so much part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Having remembered these hand made buttons, I must now set myself a goal to use them. The Arts and Crafts Movement was very much a cottage industry, so maybe it would be fitting if I sew each of them on a mask of recycled silk, my latest hobby and hopefully something useful in the present ongoing battle.

Having wandered around the decades, even back a century, I will now bring you bang up to date…. I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber on TV the other day, very upset his Cinderella show has come to a standstill. It seems such a long time ago I was sitting in Richmond Theatre watching the pantomime with the same title. It was January 2020 when I started coughing in the middle of a stalls row and could not stop. I felt I was choking to death. I could not appreciate the singing of Buttons, Cinderella’s pretty costumes or boo at the Wicked Fairy, Jo Brand. Did I have undiagnosed Covid then? Who knows? I do hope Lloyd Webber gets his show into a real theatre with an audience but I somehow doubt if he has written a part for Buttons.

So today I will wear my red, white and blue French scarf, try to be positive about Brexit, and be grateful I have many French and Italian scarves bought long ago before we had to worry about tariffs, trade deals and uncaring folks not wearing a mask.

There, I must push no more buttons.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 10.

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