“Ibelepeebees” & Other Animals
A passion for all things “Steiff”
One of the first words I ever uttered at 2 years old was “Ibelepeebee” (ee-buh-la-pee-bee) while pointing to a baby giraffe in the African bush… What it meant, I can only surmise… I probably referred to its endless, seemingly fragile, skinny legs and beautiful gentle eyes with enormous lashes.
Photograph by BoredPanda
My mother immediately ordered an addition to my stuffed animal collection: a giraffe…only a German made “Steiff” animal would do and she was right, they still sleep on my bed and are loyal companions in my dream life. My original word “Ibelepeebee” is now also code amongst my lady friends if we spot an interesting man, so beware!
A spread in Italian Vogue, illustrating a “wild print” theme (more about that in a later post). The giraffe wears a tiny paper hat, how magical!
If you want to be up close and personal with Ibelepeebee’s, just go and stay at the fantastic Giraffe Manor in Kenya!
My first and most faithful companion, a cuddly rabbit, was called “Sungura”, Swahili for rabbit. Once Sungora “broke” a leg and my father and mother disappeared into the garden shed to “operate” on him while I paced around like a worried mother, luckily the operation was successful! When we came back to Holland from Kenia, my mother crocheted him a hat, with 2 holes for his ears (it looks quite like a Rastafari hat, very cool) and large woolly socks. Sungura also had the problem that his pants were always falling down, quite indecent, but the hole in the back of his pants for his tail saved us from total catastrophe!
The big conundrum was that the “Steiff” animals were identified by the label and button in their ear… as a child you were dying to take this off, but that was strictly forbidden by my mother, who early on understood the power of authenticity and brand identity, now these original animals are worth so much more if they sport the famous “Knopf im Ohr” label…but I would never sell mine for all the gold in the world!