So sad to read about the world losing Astrid Kirchherr to cancer. This obituary in The Guardian really struck a chord. Many Beatles fans have written, asking if I knew Astrid at all.
Actually, I met her just once. She was in Liverpool to visit Stuart Sutcliffe, shortly after the first Hamburg shows, I guess. Astrid was staying with Cynthia and they came into the canteen at Liverpool College of Art together. Stuart was still legally attending college at that time, whereas reprobate John Lennon had already been moved sideways, by the principal, for bad behaviour!
Astrid was a lovely girl and very gifted artistically. Her photography defined an iconic look for the emerging Beatles. This work was very progressive for the period: she and Stuart were a great match, on a creative as well as a personal level. Their love is palpable in the famous photos and they even looked somewhat alike, with the same high cheekbones. Astrid was very "elfin"; this was the dawn of the Twiggy look and we almost all had short hair in those days, inspired by either Twiggy or Mary Quant.
Cynthia Powell, later Lennon, was incredibly fond of Astrid and saw her often after Stuart died so tragically. I never met her again but read about her from time to time. She never lost those striking looks that mesmerized our dear friend Stuart. So sad. RIP, to a great talent and a beautiful lady, inside and out.
Also in Stories
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.
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?