Sweet Liberty (And the One That Got Away)

Welcome to episode 2 of my hair journey (for those that read my last “Hair to Eternity” post.)  In the first week after my breast cancer diagnosis, I’ll admit I went into a bit of a frantic panic.  I immediately made a list of everything I’d need to obtain to prepare for my chemo travels.

Walgreens Drugstore. Check.

Brenda Kay’s Wig Shop. Check.

Powell’s Books. Check.

Whole Foods.  Check.

I also decided I’d need some quality headgear.  My mother-in-law Linda was on the case right away and sent me some fab cotton hats that are a perfect fit and stylish too.

But I’ve always been a bit of an accessory fiend, and scarves were something I coveted from an early age.  Especially when they were worn in that retro Audrey Hepburn/Jackie Kennedy style (along with the oversize shades of course). If there was one time in my life that I should be able to rock a sweet scarf it was now.

So the quest began.

New eBay and PayPal Accounts?  Check.

The challenge was that I’d never quite cracked the eBay thing before.  I’d attempt to bid on some funky chandeliers or rusty soda fountain stools and invariably lose out in the last five minutes.  But now eBay was my hunting ground and I was on a mission.

My prey was square Liberty of London (LoL) silk scarves.  Preferably vintage and big enough to tie around my wiggy noggin but not too big that it could be used as a toga (22” to 32” is my window).  Hand-rolled edges if possible and most important, the LoL mark that I have come to treasure.

I knew Target and the rest of the world had already caught on to the drool-worthy Liberty of London design sensibility.  But I like to think I was a tad bit ahead of the curve compared to most Americans.

My worlds intersecting on a Dunk. Perfect.

Big sis Erika and I on the streets of London.

I had been intrigued by Liberty fabrics for years and finally had the chance to visit the store in London late last year. I spent about half a day getting lost amongst the treasures tucked into the store’s multiple floors, which are connected by old wooden stairs.  They wore a rich patina of history and influence. This store had soul and I loved it.

And now I’d found a way to bring a little piece of that storied brand into my own life.

Once I got started, it became an all-consuming passion.  I was bidding on Liberty scarves from all over the world.  (For some reason Canada was a hot spot). I had at least six in play all the time and I found myself getting up at 5 am just to try to outbid my opponents at the last minute.

Oh yes, this girl learned some new eBay strategies and won more than she lost!

My favorite conquests?  Two scarves that are oldish but appear never to have been worn.  One has the coveted Liberty “Hera” peacock feather design (originally introduced in 1876) and the other is still in its original envelope with enclosed pamphlet.

"Hera" Peacock design. I think from only the '80's. Not really vintage but I'm still enamored.

Complete with original sales envelope.

Today, I’m rotating them all and coordinating outfits as best as possible. I mostly stick to solid apparel.  Patterns are hard to coordinate with a peacock print!

I think I look pretty groovy but the other morning I got a reality check from my daughter Hadley.  I had tried on some way cool new sunglasses (thanks Sharona and Manny!) and asked her what she thought.

“Mom, you look like…” (Audrey? Nicole Richie perhaps?)

“… umm, a store mannequin.  You know, the bald head with scarf and glasses and all.”

Nothing like a 10 year old to put you in your place. :-)

There was one beauty of a scarf that got away.  And it was my sole buying exception to my Liberty habit.  It was a vintage Peter Max “love” scarf that just sung to me.  Loud and funky, with a beautiful womanly shape adorning the design, I had to have it.  It screamed 1968, the year it was created and the year I was born. I felt it would be a wonderful, spirited flag to wave through all of this madness.  I gave it my all and twenty-six bids later at an all-time high for me of $135, I lost out in the early morning to a nemesis named n**n(21).  I was crushed.  Later I looked online and discovered a similar scarf going for $275.

Oh, it was a sad day.

As for now, my Liberty passion continues, but I have decided that I might need to take a second mortgage to fuel my scarf desire, so I’ve slowed down a bit (I think I single-handedly drove up the market for vintage Liberty of London scarves).

My collection. Thanks to my husband Dan for the closet display.

Stay tuned for the yet-unwritten “Hair Chronicles Part 3” where I’ll probably greet summer with my bad, bald self.  The wig is getting old.  Between you and me, what once felt like armor now feels like a costume or camouflage…

But worry not.  For now I am comforted by the loud-but-happy silk and sassy beacons tied atop my head.

Color me Liberated.  Thank you, London.

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  1. YOM
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Are my entries the only ones that get tagged “waiting for moderation”when posted? If so, I understand. I am told by the old one that I often need editing. YOM

  2. YOM
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Your blog and my seeming addiction to it is becoming a problem. Being a confirmed Luddite who refuses to enter the 21st century, I am reduced to following your adventures at the Library. Not a good choice for an old man who blubbers at Hallmark commercials. Way too public.
    Won’t miss it if I can help it.
    Watch out for cobalt blue rays arcing out of Oz when you least expect them! YOM

  3. Robert & Isaac
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I love your use of images in the post. It really makes the whole thing digestible. The irreverence really is cool – slightly off-kilter so very intriguing.

    One thing that is interesting (creepy maybe) is seeing the responses to your posts. You learn so much about a person by their entourage. I cringe sometimes at some of the stuff my family writes on my Facebook profile but, except for one extreme instance when my sister was mad at me, never delete them. It’s part of who we are and, however much we try to build our personal brand, the 21st century marketing tools that we try to employ are wont to slip us up. You can never escape the human element and your people always remind you of who you really are.

    I hope you also had tea in London.

    As a marketer, I’m also interested in how you leverage the various channels to drive traffic. (Slightly tongue-in-cheek here, but not totally). The initial email blast drove a ton of traffic and Facebook posts somewhat but how do you keep the blog front of mind? I know the whole point is for the blog to be cathartic for you but seeing the responses also adds a level of (self-)interest too, right? Like you said, you’re seeing first-hand what it takes to micro-market. So cool.

    Sorry for being a marketing geek.
    I know that’s not the point but it is so gosh-darned interesting!

  4. sarah
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    kerri, i love reading these updates. the scarf display is fabuous. store mannequin??? awesome.

  5. nikki bartlett
    Posted May 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    love, love, love the peacock print!
    american apparel sells vintage scarfs as well.
    and when your lovely locks are back on your head try rocking the scarfs around the neck in a knot/bow. it is a classic but chic look i like to sport when i feel like spicing things up a bit;)
    so great seeing you today, i really needed that!! thanks for your mama advice.
    your beautiful inside and out, a true inspiration to me.
    keep shining. xo

  6. Nancy Olson
    Posted May 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely thing to do, Ms Kerri. Maybe being yo mama and all, you would be into lending one or two of them to me once in a while. Can hardly wait to come and see your display and you in some of those beautiful materials. It will happen very soon after finishing up with my art residency here at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast. Then I will get to spend a few days pampering you and catching up. Hope that I can be of help. I am thinking of you lots today and tomorrow as you prepare for round #3. I am with you all the way sending only uplifting positive , healing thoughts. Clear white light and cobalt blue for healing. Love, Mom

  7. Anna Cornell
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, beautiful collection! And nice display Dan. This is the first I’ve heard of Liberty of London but I totally understand why you are obsessed. They look gorgeous on your head!

  8. Erin Manke
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh! You are so cute in that last picture! I love it! :) If you ever need any ebay tips- I am your woman! You have to bid in the last 3o seconds or so. If you really really love something type in a really high bid (hopefully the other person doesn’t do the same thing- usually not) but then you are pretty much guarranted to win. :) By the way, I really like the display that Dan did- it must be so cheerful to look at all of those pretty fabrics. I recently just got to know the Liberty of London line through Target. I bought a pair of pj’s! Anyway, it is so good to see your smiling face and you look happy and well. So glad you are doing this blog- you are in my thoughts you all the time!

  9. Mindy
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Your sense of humor has me smiling! And you are always beautiful….hair or no hair! Thought of you this weekend in San Diego. We traveled for McQuin’s final Grommett Cup tournament (it’s 8th grade & younger) and his final SOCAL tournament (he is moving to Regency due to attending Mater Dei HS). It was a great weekend….and I cried at the beginning of his very last game! Anyway…they had a fantastic homemade granola. I bought some to bring home hoping either Aunt Debbi or Aunt Kerri could help spastic Mindy that can’t do crap in the kitchen figure out how to make homemade granola!
    And speaking of hair….I have stepped out to the outrageous and have vibrant red hair! My oldest noticed how bad my gray was getting and he doesn’t notice anything! So figured I should do something about it and as long as I was at it, let’s be really outspoken!
    Love you and thinking about you! Mindy, Ken and Hadley & Emma’s Boys

  10. Posted May 3, 2010 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    you have just given me my assignment for the rest of this UK bank holiday. off to liberty of london, then thrift stores, then wherever. my hope: just the right one to adorn your nog before summer is in full tilt. love (and liberty) from london. xowolfe

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