The veneration of holy relics has probably always been with us… but these days, the bits and pieces of the saints seem to have been supplanted by the paraphernalia of departed pop icons.
One of the vestments of the blessed Jimi of Hendrix was unveiled in London this week, to the delight of dedicated followers of Sixties fashion. The double-breasted, florally embroidered bespoke jacket, made in 1967 by Dandie Fashions, is in far better shape than its erstwhile owner. It doesn’t just look supercool – it also looks brand new.
It’s on loan for six months to the Handel & Hendrix museum from the Museum of Pop Culture, in Seattle, Hendrix’s birthplace.
The jacket isn’t only part of the Hendrix myth; its story has many strands. Dandie Fashions was founded in 1966 by John Crittle (the Australian designer who became the absent and forgotten father of Darcey Bussell) and Tara Browne (the Guinness heir who fatally ‘didn’t notice that the lights had changed’, 'blew his mind out in a car’ and inspired John Lennon’s first verse for A Day in the Life).
The Beatles invested in Dandie’s King’s Road shop and renamed it Apple Tailoring in 1968, with Lennon appearing at the relaunch. But like a fair amount of the Beatles’ 'anti-capitalist’ Apple business endeavours, it didn’t do well.
At least before the shop closed, Hendrix had managed to get himself one of the smartest jackets in Swinging London.
+ Handel & Hendrix is at 25 Brook Street, London W1; www.handelhendrix.org