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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In Memory of Mimi Weddell

My dear friend Mimi Weddell passed away last week at the age of 94.She was a great inspiration to me and I will cherish my memories of her. I first met Mimi at a screening for the documentary Hat's Off, in San Diego. This was just about a year and a half ago, just as I was planning to move to New York. Seeing Mimi living with so much grace and elegance, walking around in her grand hats and wonderful costumes, made the idea of moving to New York even more exciting. I looked at Mimi with awe, mesmerized by her exquisite taste and witty remarks. I told her and "Hat's Off" film maker Jyll Johnstone, that I would look them up when I moved to the city and help spread the word about her wonderful documentary.

I moved to New York in May of last year and began to work and intern for several fashion designers and showrooms, including Abgail Lorick. When I showed Abigail a clip of Mimi speaking about the importance of illusion, she was immediately struck by this profound and kindred spirit. We knew we had to get Mimi to appear in Lorick's upcoming fashion week presentation, and it was my mission to do so. This was my great opportunity to call Mimi on the phone. I looked her up in the yellow pages, dialed her number, and to my great surprise, that wonderful almost aristocratic voice called out from an answering machine, " This is Mimi Weddell, please leave a message and I will call you back." Mimi had been receiving a lot of phone calls for work and was very selective about who she called back. After a few days with no response and several emails to Jyll Johnstone, I was put into contact with Mimi. I met her at her at her apartment uptown. Her place was filled from floor to ceiling with glorious hats. There were books and paintings, and newspaper clippings in every nook and cranny. Sayings like "Rise above it" were neatly scribbled on scraps of paper, stuck to the refrigerator. I entered the apartment with as much wonder and excitement as I would a cave full of crystals or an Egyptian tomb. Mimi, cigarette in hand,offered me Brandy and cookies.

Mimi was a fantastic storyteller . She would animate her tales with glorious glances and expressive hand motions, almost as if she was performing a grand part in a Broadway play. The world truly was her stage. After appearing in Abigail's presentation and stealing the show, I began to receive inquiries into who this fabulous older woman was. Mimi appeared in major print ads for Burberry, Juicy Couture and Louis Vuitton, and had several small acting roles in shows and films including Sex and The City and Hitch, but was never fully recognized for her outstanding talent as a serious actress and performer. To me she was an icon, both for her style and her inherent wisdom and elegance.

Mimi and I got together several more times over last year. I planned a hat party for the release of Hat's Off to DVD and organized some photo shoots and interviews for foreign press interested in Mimi's wonderful style and vibrant character. Just a few weeks ago I sat with Mimi at a nursing home. She was as beautiful and sharp as ever. She always encouraged me to be creative and told me that I could do great things. Mimi was one of the first people I met in New York and she will remain a cherished part of my memories. Her strength and determination had a profound impact on how I look at life. I feel extremely honored to have spent time and worked with such an incredible woman.

Love and Strength to her family.

33 comments:

tiah said...

I am sorry for your loss. She sounds like one heck of a lady.

That Girl Ang said...

:( RIP Mimi....

She sounds like a wonderful person.

Stephilius said...

I'm so sorry you've lost this dear friend. How lucky you were to have known her. You do her great honor by the loving attention you gave her and in the way you speak - and will speak - of her.

S

samantha ezra. said...

she sounds like an amazing person. sorry for your loss

St├ęphanie said...

Hello ! I am so sad for your friend ...
I want to tell that your blog is fantastic and i love it so much !

Saranga said...

My sympathies and condolences to you and her family.

Stella Dora von Swineburg said...

It sounds like the world lost a true bright star. She was fortunate to have a friend like you.
Tecu'Mish

Glorious Hats said...

A wonderful tribute. Thanks so much, for sharing about Mimi Weddell. Awesome that you had this connection in your life.

ljkc said...

Oh she is fabulous! Beautifully said, I now celebrate her too.

love this site, so inspiring...

xo

clarewbrown said...

WOW!! What a FANTASTIC tribute to an incredibly fashionable and fabulous woman! This is awesome. More people need to have blogs like this. Frankly these "Advanced stylisistas" have more style than most others half their age

thank you for sharing this lovely blog with the world!

Anonymous said...

How fortunate you were to have spent time with her and know her. I thank you for writing about her and bringing even a small piece of her into my life.
There are too few Mimi's in this world and no one on the horizon who is her measure.
Thank you to Mimi and to you.

Viktor said...

Mimi Weddell had such a passion for life and seemed to have endless energy, enough to inspire the rest of the world.
Her philosophy of life, her common sense approach, her refusal to remain still and stagnant in any way, despite her advanced age, makes her the grand lady of this wonderful blog where I and many others enjoy the almost daily appearance of individuals who despite their age. express joy and creativity in their personal style.

Rose said...

I am very sad. She was so fabulous.

Lolita said...

I'm sorry that you lost your friend and mentor. She sounded like a wonderful person.

Viktoria Berg said...

There was a documentary about Mimi on swedish television only a few weeks ago. I recorded it and saved it on a dvd, it inspired me so much. She was truly amazing!

Sher said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Those pictures here reflect the spirit of her. Especially love the second one. You were lucky to have known her and cherish the memories. (hugs)

skinnyGLASSESgirl said...

R.I.P.. what a great woman she was.

barbara said...

So sad.
What a lady.

J. said...

It's rare that one gets to meet a person of such caliber. Sorry for your loss.

Dr. Ding said...

I am so sorry for your (and the world's) loss. What a magnificent spirit! Thank you for sharing Mimi with us.

thwany said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Petra said...

Isn't it wonderful when your path crosses with someone from a different generation, one that can inspire!
Mimi have done that and will most likely continue to do so thanks to your affection for her!
I saw her in Hats Off on swedish TV and I am totally in love with all the Mimis that are stil out there. Please, there must be some more!?
But no doubt, was Mimi the grandest of them all!

Rosina at Middle Ageless said...

I am also sorry. What a wonderful time you must have spent with this inspiring and truly beautiful woman.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that you got to know her, and that we all got to know a bit about her through your writing. My condolences to you, and to her family. Thanks for helping us know and care.

Anonymous said...

Hi, we passed your article to a friend who writes for the UK's Daily Telegraph - they published a short article about Mimi http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/6269990/Lives-Remembered.html#

Forest City Fashionista said...

I am so sorry to hear of Mimi's passing--she was an inspiration in so many ways, particularly as a style icon. If I live to be as old as she, I can only hope to have a tiny bit of the spirit and style she possessed.
You were very lucky to have known her!

Anonymous said...

I gasped when I saw that Mimi had left us. I say "us" though I never knew her .... but clips from Hats Off, and the unforgettable beauty of her photos made a very deep impression on me. She seemed beyond age in the usual sense. She seemed to have passed into a zone where a person is both ancient and young. And of course, so stylish. I envy you having known her, and I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

Skyla said...

You write about her beautifully. She's incredible. Love this blog, there's so much life, history, inspiration, stories flowing through it-i'm not so scared to get old now.
Thanks

Hanneli said...

So sad! Rest in peace Mimi. I just saw her documentary a few moths ago and she was so inspiring in so many ways. I wish to be as full of life when get old as she was. My condolences to her family, friends and of course you.

The Image Expert said...

Mimi sounds like the epitome of style, elegance and grace. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Jane Barry said...

Good morning from Ireland. What an inspirational friend to have had! I'm sure you will miss her deeply. My grandfather of the same age just passed away last week and will be sadly missed but fondly remembered forever.
I have only just discovered and subscribed to your blog, a commenter on my blog suggested I might like it and she was totally right! I love your ethos and writing style and look forward to reading more. Jane

Jane Barry said...

Good morning from Ireland. What an inspirational friend to have had! I'm sure you will miss her deeply. My grandfather of the same age just passed away last week and will be sadly missed but fondly remembered forever.
I have only just discovered and subscribed to your blog, a commenter on my blog suggested I might like it and she was totally right! I love your ethos and writing style and look forward to reading more. Jane

Lee Ashwood said...

I'm sorry about your friend, she was FIERCE!

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