Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

I torture myself unnecessarily with choosing prize-winners for my dopey contests; ‘unnecessarily’ because obviously it’s not the Man Booker Prize, the Acadamy Awards or the Nobel Peace Prize yet I appreciate immensely the thought, effort, wit and panache involved every time. So while I might set these things to play around with I might avoid placing myself in these excrutiating judgemental positions.

Having said that, I do at least owe a final podium for Bargain Basement Part I and Part II. The quality was as high and heroic as ever; and to be honest I can’t slip a cigarette paper between Simon and The Imaginary Reviewer … please accept my humble offer of a Big Fish each. And for consistent excellence both here and at Bored Neoclassical Guy, a long overdue Splendid Award for Eric.


Now, back to frivolity today.

Don’t ask me why but I was watching one of those fashion design competitions. The remit in this particular episode was to design an outfit for a model and a matching ensemble for a pet dog — not, of course, a Bull Mastiff, or an Elk Hound, or a Doberman Pinscher (something that still bears at least a passing resemblance to its lupine ancestry); but one of those pocket-sized numbers that fits in a handbag or bicycle basket or haversack. The sort of pooch that might even get squeezed into a bottle or a vase for all I know.

dog bag web

What struck me and intrigued me more than the fashion, though, was the interchangeability of the names of the models and the dogs.

There is a theory called ‘nominative determinism’ which states that one’s name can go some way to dictating one’s choice of career and so forth. Clearly it does not always work, or my surname — Davenport — would consign me to life as a useful desk or a comfy sofa.

The lavatory ballcock was invented by a gentleman called Thomas Crapper. It is widely believed that he invented the flushing toilet itself and that his name was the root of the word ‘crap’ and ‘crapper’; but in fact those highly useful words preceded him. So perhaps his future was prenatally and preternaturally written in, er, well, you know.

The same theory accounts for the late Keith Moon’s little-known secondary career as an astronomer, and Dorothy Parker’s as a garage valet.

So perhaps an exotic name (or at least a canine-sounding name, wierdly) at birth steers some people towards a modelling career. As long as they are also tall, I suppose.

So here’s a mixed-up list of the names of the models and the dogs from that show — all genuine, and an equal number of each. The game (not contest!) is to decide which is model and which is dog:

Lyndsay; Toni; Pepito; Molly; Danielle; Chanel; Camilla; Clarissa; Sparkle; Morgan; Nazri; Jia; Lil’A; Marilinda; Carly; Sophia; Javi; Patty Cake; Talulah; Katia; Katie; Flex.


Carly? Toni? Pepito? Flex? C’m’ere, girl!


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Given that the last post was lengthy to say the least, let’s take a breather today. A sorbet between stodgier courses, if you like.

Mind you, I’m not sure how light, fluffy and refreshing a paragraph or two about Goths is going to be.

I don’t generally associate Goths with interior design but that’s very narrow-minded of me. I should imagine they cheerily wield a roller, brush and paint thinners along with the best of us. Well, perhaps not cheerily. And I imagine not with a tin of Magnolia satin or Pale Aubergine eggshell.

Here’s an appropriately moody bedroom design that’s fetched up in ‘The Sims’:

goth angel teen bedroom

It’s the “Gothic Teen Angel Bedroom”. Perfect for that Gothic Teen Angel in your life. Nice and sombre, isn’t it?

Here’s a black-and-blood-red number that would fulfill its underworldly brief if it were not for one thing. Can you spot what it is?

goth bedroom

That’s right — too much light. There are windows, for goodness’ sake, affording a generous view of a perfectly agreeable looking balcony and garden.  Even if that is a mist of drizzle I espy, the atmosphere is nowhere near sufficiently chthonic.

To achieve an appropriate level of stygian gloom, we need those curtains dragged across. Or how about a tasteful pair like this? Spotted on ebay:

goth curtains 2

A perfect combination of red, black and grey, and of grinning skulls and corrupted roses. They are, of course, The Drapes of Goth.

Come on, you knew that was coming.

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slothThe three-toed sloth is a curious creature: an arboreal mammal; the only member of the genus Bradypus; and one of the faster beasts of the order Pilosa, zipping around at a giddy rate of 0.15 mph.

If a predator threatens, then it can accelerate to a positively breakneck 15 feet per minute; it strikes me that it would have to be a peculiarly slow predator, however, to be unable to match this singularly unimpressive turn of speed: a legless tortoise, perhaps, or a snail dragging a dead llama back to its lair.

They have lairs, OK?

In fact, it seems that the sloth’s main predators are the harpy eagle and the jaguar. Good luck with that, then, my Phyllophagan friend.

Nearly every mammal has seven cervical vertebrae in its neck: the human,  the elephant,  the pygmy marmoset,  even the giraffe – which just has really long ones. The manatee and, funnily enough, the  two-toed sloth have only a paltry six, so don’t buy them a turtle-neck sweater for Christmas. Presumably, though, you can get on with wrapping one for that special turtle in your life.

The three-toed sloth is so fortunate as to have nine vertebrae. So a scarf might be a nice gift. One imagines that the flexibility of such a neck would facilitate the ability of the sloth to gather its diet of leaves without having to move too far, which I suppose is quite an important consideration for a creature that prefers simply to dangle from a favourite branch.

These leaves can prove hard to digest, so the sloth has an enormous multi-compartmentalized stomach in which symbiotic bacteria cozily set up home and fitfully aid the the digestive process, like an unenthusiastic live-in housekeeper lazily pushing a vacuum cleaner around your apartment. This whole intestinal mechanism can take more than one month to complete; no surprise, then, that a replete three-toed sloth owes two-thirds of its body weight to undigested foodstuffs; and that when visiting the forests of Central and South America it is advisable always to wear a sturdy hat and to not look up. greensloth

The sloth and the bacterium seem to enjoy a close understanding, for a couple of species of cyanobacteria creep about in the former’s fur. Even given that cyanobacteria can be found in pretty much any environment, from oceans to deserts, mammalian fur is an amusingly and endearingly odd place to find it, but this symbiosis benefits the sloth by turning its pelt a leafy green colour and lending it a handy camouflage. Just as well when your top speed would embarrass a consumptive lugworm.

“But why, G Henry”, I choose to imagine people enquiring, “why all this guff about three-toed sloths?”

“What”, they might add, “is that all about?”

Well, they have been slightly in the news recently for another semi-symbiotic relationship with the ‘super’ models who posed for the 2010 Pirelli calendar.

I cede to nobody in my admiration for the photographers who are invited every year to exercise their imaginations in pursuit of fantastical and visionary images to promote the sales of vulcanized rubber. And to tell you what date it is.

This year the responsibility lies with Terry Richards, who seems to have persuaded his bosomy pals that a live three-toed sloth can serve as an enormous hairy brassiere:

sloth bra 455 width
sloth brassieres

At least I assume that they are alive, unless sloth fur (with head attached) is the latest must-have on-trend fashion, in which case we’ll be hearing from PETA.

They seem so vacant and move so slowly that it’s hard to tell; but the silly grins on their faces imply that they are at least conscious, and disturbingly happy with proceedings. The models, I mean.

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The splendid dandyism.net website has posted this marvellous picture of a number of young men at Sunday School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1941.


They invite us to suggest which of these fellows is the dandy, notwithstanding the fact that should they be transported to the 21st century they would surely all be considered dandies.

However, if it’s not the chap leaning idly against the wall in the background, or, as one commentor shrewdly suggests, the one missing from the picture because he is still abed after the previous night’s rakish adventures, then it must be owner of the slicked-back hair, the plaid tie and the surprising sock. And not necessarily because of those attributes; more because, while his companions understandably look racked with boredom, the emotion he is exhibiting is clearly ennui.

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From 1970s Germany, one must assume.

I use the words ‘dancing’, ‘fashion’ and even ‘soccer’ advisedly here, and probably wrongly. But the beard is real; for the full insanity I advise you to wait at least for the man with the beard.

Now ready yourself for Tanzen! Fußball! Kleidung! Und ein Bart!

By the way, if anybody knows a more appropriate German word for ‘fashion’ than ‘Kleidung’, which is really ‘clothes’, I think, then I’d be delighted to know. My German ist nicht gut.

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