May 17, 2020

Ten years on, the story behind my 2010 painting of Zandra Rhodes!

Dame Zandra Rhodes stars in the new series of The Real Marigold Hotel on BBC One, alongside her actress friend Britt Ekland and Duncan Bannatyne, amongst others. She is my fashion designer contemporary and recently revealed to Trinny Woodall that she sleeps in her makeup. I love that.

Back in the year 2010, I was commissioned to paint Zandra's portrait - life sized! - for a BBC television documentary called Inside Out (of which more later, in a separate story!). Creative and bohemian, Zandra is famous for her love of pink. Even her Fashion & Textile Museum in London is orange and pink. Naturally, for our sittings, she wore a beautiful hand-painted tunic of her own design, colour-matched to her pink hair, with jewellery by her dear friend Andrew Logan, whose work has also never gone out of fashion.

I loved painting Zandra, especially the rich textiles, fab jewellery and even her boots! She was delighted with her portrait, and I also created a canvas replica for her, albeit in a slightly more manageable size. 

She wrote: “It is fantastic and all the wonderful memories it brings back! A million thank yous! I love your idea of decorating the frame! I am working out ideas where it can have pride of place in my apartment.”

I have loads more stories about my life in art & fashion right here on my blog. 

Also in Stories

June Furlong
RIP June Furlong, Liverpool's most famous life model

November 04, 2022

A loving tribute to June, life model and friend of John Lennon and Helen Anderson, who died in 2020. My reflections of some of the funniest moments of our time together with John in our art classes.


My Lennon cap: made to last!
My Lennon cap: made to last!

November 03, 2022

These John Lennon caps are made to last! Helen Anderson's original design, originally created in 1964, worn here by the Beatle in 1975, still with the Ferrari pin he stuck into it when he passed his driving test and bought a powder blue convertible.


Jude Southerland Kessler and Lanea Stagg interview Helen Anderson about her life and her memories of The Beatles, John Lennon and Cynthia Lennon
Interview with Helen Anderson about John Lennon

November 02, 2022

For the inside story on John Lennon and loads of memories from fashion designer Helen Anderson - Lennon's friend and of course the designer of his famous leather cap - listen to this great interview with Jude Southerland Kessler.


How to measure your head for my leather cap

sketch of John Lennon by Helen Anderson 


A message from Helen about sizing: 
Hats are a bit like jackets and dresses: sizes are supposed to be universal but may vary from one manufacturer to another. I can’t guarantee you a perfect fit, but I can do my best to help.

My cap is available in 4 sizes: Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (XL). It’s an investment piece, so I encourage you also to invest three minutes to find the perfect fit.

Don’t just guess your size!
John Lennon’s head measured 23.5 inches. He was a size XL (big brain!). Here's how I measured it, back in 1964 - and how you can measure yours now.
  1. Don’t panic if you don’t have a tailor’s tape measure handy. You can also use a length of string or ribbon, and then measure it against a ruler.
  2. Place the string or tape around your head about 3mm above your ear, across the mid-forehead, completely circling your head. Hold the tape firmly, but not super-tightly.
  3. I’d like you to measure your head exactly where the cap will sit. If your measurement falls between sizes, choose the next size up.
Remember: If you have big hair, you’ll probably need the next size up!



You will need to tell me your size at the time you order.


If you are in such a hurry to get hold of a cap that you don’t have time to measure your head, you could also check the size of another hat that fits: hat sizes are universal… in theory. Don’t see your size? Have a special request?

Email Me!