The Power Shift

How do you roll up the Vietnam War, the civil rights marches, the youthful and modern presidency of John F. Kennedy, the voice of Martin Luther King, the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, the landing on the moon, Twiggy, the liberation of women, and above all the magic of the Beatles into one thing? For me the answer lies in the Museum of London in a simple short black and white polka-dotted mini dress with a diagonal line across it;  the faces of the Beatles on one side, and a guitar on the other. 

The power of this dress lies in its simplicity, its lack of fussiness, and its revolutionary length – all of which defined a generation.  The generation that was born at the end of World War II, came of age with the uselessness of the Vietnam War, spent their college years marching for equal rights for all, refused to dress like their parents, or listen to their parents music – this generation perhaps made the world a better place for future generations more than any generation before or since then.

It was a simple shift dress, the kind that is worn by a young girl – it defied the hold of Paris couture houses and rose from the streets where the young people marched and demanded a better life for the rest of us.  It was a dress that an unskilled young girl could have stitched together – but it made the most skilled designers in the world sit up and take notice.  The shift was shifting power – from the couture houses to the street tailors, from the upper classes to the middle classes, from the elite to the masses, from Harvard to Greensboro state college, from Oxford to Liverpool, and for the first time, in tiny amounts, from men to women.

A sense of gratitude washed over me as I stood in front of this dress, and the generation that wore it – they made it possible for me to be in control of the length of my hemline – and of my future. 

Beatles Dress.4

This is a guest post from Tara Sawhney who is studying in London for one semester.  This was a vignette she wrote after a visit to the Museum of London.

Lychees in London

In the first week of August, my family and I went to London to drop my sister to college and squeeze in a family vacation in what really has to be considered the heartbeat of the world. Every nook and cranny of that city is bursting with life – and with diversity – a true microcosm.  One of the places I enjoyed the most in this trip was Borough’s Market.  A market has existed in the place since at least 1014 -so it’s over 1000 years old – which is a difficult concept for a girl from Orlando to put her head around – by comparison Disney has existed in Orlando since 1971 – not quite 50 years yet!! According to Conde Nast Traveler, “London’s oldest market is a warren of smoking street food, old-school fruit-and-veg shops and the finest pubs, bars and restaurants.”



There were sizzling stalls of North Indian, South Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Thai cuisines; there were bakeries to salivate over for days; butchers, fishmongers – a seemingly endless parade of stalls.  One of my favorite stalls was an old fashioned fresh fruits and vegetables stall -something that had perhaps remained unchanged over hundreds of years. The place was simply bursting with color – and freshness.  It was such an absolute delight to see the store – and to meet its very happy and friendly owner Michael.  Of course I bought lychees from this very proper English greengrocer – and that pretty much is what London’s all about!!