In April we had a fabulous time with J Smith Esquire, De Beauvoir’s new milliner, whose wonderful creations can be see through the windows of his establishment on Southgate Road. Justin Smith graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in millinery after studying the discipline for 6 years. He started his own label, J Smith Esquire in 2007 following the critical acclaim of his graduation show and since then, alongside designing his own collections, has also collaborated with high end fashion designers and created exquisite pieces for art installations and for television and film.
He brought a wonderful collection of his latest hats and we got the opportunity to try on some beautiful, high end millinery, thank you Justin for being so generous with your time and sharing your knowledge and your amazing hats with us
2018 marks 100 years since some women gained the right to vote. Although the Beast From The East interrupted our week we were very glad to be able to celebrate International Women’s Day with a talk from The Fawcett Society. Angie from East London Fawcett came and gave a very interesting and stimulating talk starting with the origins of the Fawcett Society and the suffragists, led by Millicent Fawcett, and gave us an insight into their current campaigns and research around gender inequality.
We had a lively debate following the talk and also had the opportunity to see for the first time our De Beauvoir WI banner which we then proudly accompanied on the March4Women on Sunday. The banner was then displayed outside the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 8th (International Women’s Day) and appeared on stage at the Royal Festival Hall at Mirth Control alongside Sandy Toksvig and other inspirational women on Sunday 11th March.
What a fabulous start to the year as we welcomed Nicola Whittaker from Fellows Auctioneers. Fellows is a family run firm and Nicola is a sixth generation member of her family to join the business and she began working in the auction house aged 16 in her school holidays. Fellows are based in Birmingham but have an office in Mayfair, London where Nicola now works. Specialising in jewellery and watches, she explained that unlike many other auction houses, they do not put a lower price limit on items they auction. Passionate and informative she took us through a whistlestop tour of the history of jewellery, how changes in society emerged in changing aesthetics, and how things changed further as exploration, excavation and gem cutting equipment developed. She was so generous with her time and her knowledge and spent a further hour with us looking at the treasures members had brought in and giving us information on origin , history and potential value. She also mentioned that that Fellows have open afternoons where anyone can go and peruse the items up for auction so we are thinking we may plan a trip there. If you are interested in coming along email us at email@example.com
Debauchery in De Beauvoir? For our September meeting we enjoyed a hugely entertaining and informative talk from Eleanor Bloom about Georgian London and the culture of gin houses and the darker side of the East End. How the madness associated with gin was due to a blight on the grain and why they really wore those stupendous wigs. We also enjoyed some delicious gin cocktails and a lemon and cucumber cake with gin icing.
Plus Jessie from Solace Women’s Aid told us more about the work they do with women and children fleeing domestic violence and explained how our monthly donations are used in the welcome packs they give every family arriving at the refuges they run across London
We had a great time when we welcomed award winning comedian, journalist and actress Samantha Baines when she came to do her latest stand up show about amazing women who have been ignored by the history books. We wish her the best of luck at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Our May meeting was our AGM where we decided on our new committee and voted on which of the resolutions the national federation will take forward. We also had a talk from Karen Moloney about her experiences of being a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party.
A few crafty pictures from our February meeting where we welcomed Ugandan and English inspired fusion brand AfroRetro: