Friday, December 31, 2010


For two years now, Ivaan's navy cashmere overcoat has been hanging in the closet.  That overcoat, together with a stylish navy fedora, was Ivaan's standard outer attire for occasions requiring a little je ne sais quoi in the sartorial department:  church, weddings, funerals or an evening at the opera. As overcoats go, it's a classic.

Truthfully, much of Ivaan's style over the years has revolved around items of attire.  In the 1970s he wore a black hat with a wide brim and some rustic looking bells and beads around the crown.  He wore the jeans I've described in an earlier blog.  He once had a pair of red velvet trousers made for himself, inspired apparently by what my father was wearing on the occasion they first met.   He's had two black leather jackets with his classic Ivaan signature in red chenille on the back.  (That's what the lettering on varsity-type leather jackets is called.)  In recent years, he was best known for a brown sheepskin aviator jacket, which he wore winter and summer, claiming that it was like insulation: it kept him at the perfect temperature.  Our nephew, Angus, who is a pilot, now wears this jacket in tribute to his uncle.

Ivaan's shoes were a source of wonder to members of our family.  He collected beautiful, expensive and stylish shoes and several members of our family who share a common shoe size have Ivaan to thank for their best footwear.

But the navy cashmere overcoat hung in the closet, unclaimed, and each time a family member tried it on I was secretly relieved that it didn't fit.  I wasn't ready to give it up.  Around the second anniversary of Ivaan's death, a chance remark by our close friend, Chris Robinson, about one of her daughters-in-law, suddenly woke me up to the destiny of the cashmere overcoat.    Chris has really, really good taste in daughters-in-law.  As a matter of fact, if you have sons of marriageable age, I urge you to consult with Chris about how to influence the most wonderful young women to join your family.

Chris' middle son, Gareth, is married to a drop-dead gorgeous, incredibly talented and utterly fabulous young woman named Meghan.  Among her many talents is the fact that she's a brilliant, inspired and accomplished costume maker.  Need I say more?  One quick email to Meghan - who adored Ivaan - had her and Gareth at my door.  I showed her the coat, told her what I was hoping for, and voila!  Last evening Meghan dropped over with the navy cashmere overcoat, completely taken apart and remade to fit me like a glove.

I love how I look in it.  I feel when I'm wearing it that I'm in Ivaan's warm embrace.   Now, I know that with Meghan's talents, if anyone else asked her to remake a man's overcoat into a woman's, she'd say, "Uh, no."  But this was a labour of love and she has made me (and Ivaan) very, very proud.  Thank you, Meg.  You are a peach.  I will post some photos as soon as I get someone to point a camera in my direction.

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