I’ve had an unrelenting craving for fried chicken since Monday. That was when we reported that one of the iconic white suits favoured by Colonel Harland Sanders, the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, will be offered at Heritage Auctions on June 22-23. When writing about an item of clothing has the effect of awakening a longing for fried chicken, that is surely the sign of an incredibly successful trademark.
It is well known that the original Kentucky Fried Chicken Colonel, the brand’s founder Harland Sanders, wore a distinctive white suit and black string tie at every public appearance in the last two decades of his life.
His outfit is as recognisable an element of his character and the KFC brand as his glasses, moustache and goatee, the whole combining to create an American cultural icon who is instantly recognised on fast food outlets the world over.
The charming story behind this suit adds an additional interest.
In his later years, the Colonel chanced upon a house in Louisville, Kentucky, and decided that he wished to buy it. The owners’ polite ‘no’ did not deter him, and he made the Morris family an offer they couldn’t refuse: enough money to build themselves another house next door.
The Colonel had to leave his old house far earlier than the Morris family had time to build another. The solution was simple: to share the Colonel’s new home. So the Colonel and his wife lived side by side with the Morris family, and they became close friends.
The Colonel gifted this suit to a young Mike Morris as a Halloween costume, loaning him his limo and chauffeur to complete the impersonation.
Now this iconic suit belonging to the king of fried chicken, a remarkable piece of American advertising history, will auction for an anticipated $10,000-$15,000.
In the same month as Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding dress is being auctioned off by Christie’s, collectors of the vintage clothing of American legends are truly spoilt.