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What's a Fichu?
January 31, 2007

Fichu, (fee-shoo) from the French, is a triangular cloth halfway between a scarf and a shawl, worn over the shoulders, the ends crossed, or tied together at the breast.

Fichus are dramatic; from Oliver's Nancy to Marion the Librarian, fichus have always graced the shoulders of theatre's leading ladies. In art, we know Edouard Manet's Portrait of a Lady in a Black Fichu.

Fichus make a natural partner for today's fashions, the bare shoulders, and empire waists.

Laurie Cannon knows this. The Tenafly grandmother's website, www.itsafichu.com, features a fichu for everyone, including your dolls.

Laurie didn't always knit for a living. But from childhood, it was her hobby. She was a medical secretary until she was disabled in an accident, and diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, Laurie's fingers began to fly. She is a survivor, and her artistry thrives on her website, designed by her son.

The site features fancy fichus - and some lovely shrugs- made from raw silk, ribbon, cotton, wool blends and linen. Some are dressier, others you'd toss on to walk down the street. There are multi-colored, and solids. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $30 to $75.

There are also hand knit sweaters, pants, and tiny knitted handbags for dolls. They are pink, to symbolize the battle against breast cancer. Laurie's Barbie wears a tiny ribbon as well.

If you are living with breast cancer, or know someone who is, Laurie wants to give you - or that person - one of her full-sized pink fichus. Contact her through the website.

So now, the fichu isn't just a scarf. It's like getting a hug from an old friend, just when you need it most.


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