A Dulux Challenge

The Times of Malta for July 1 2012 has a wonderful photo. It accompanies a report by Gildas Le Roux about the Milan Male Spring-Summer 2013 collections:
Screenshot of the 'Times of Malta's report on the Milan Male Spring-Summer 2013 collections, showing Salvatore Ferragamo spring/summer 2013 menswear collection

This made me reflect on Dulux. In 2014, this company donated 15,000 litres of paint to give the Belgian city of Charleroi a colour makeover, after it was named the ugliest city in the world four years earlier. This was part of Dulux's "Let's Colour" campaign, in which Dulux, saying its mission was to "add colour to people's lives", donated paint to local communities and public bodies around the world. Wouldn't it be nice if Dulux would do this for clothes as well as paint?

Agnès b. Blue with Yellow Bubbles

The sunlight is at its most intense, so this seems a good time to show off some brilliant yellow, made all the more vivid by contrasting it with blue. Like the Cyrillic-lettered top on my last-but-one post, the garment here is from Unicorn. Also like that top, it's slightly too short for me, otherwise I'd have bought it to cheer up the oncoming winter. It's an Agnès b. cropped jacket, made from a blue backing containing densely packed raised yellow bubbles. When viewed in the sunlight, the result is dazzling.

Agnes b blue cropped jacket with yellow bubbles

Agnes b blue cropped jacket with yellow bubbles, showing detail of bubbles

Agnes b blue cropped jacket with yellow bubbles, showing detail of bubbles

Chinese Green

In Chinese Red, I featured a red silk Chinese top. I've worn this a lot: it's light, easy to carry, is a striking vivid red without being garish, combines well with lots of other colours, is reversible should I want a different design, and can be worn under or over other layers. Now here's another high-quality silk top, but green rather than red. Like the red one, it's from Unicorn.

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

Though the top is easy to wear, it's not easy to photograph. The silk is shiny, and in strong direct light, the fabric looks washed out. These photos, taken in the diffuse light of a library, are more like what I see.

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

In some lights, the patterns seem to drift on a green sea.

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

The fastenings look like Chinese characters:

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

The fabric is embroidered, with people, birds and fruits, as well as elaborate circular symbols. In some places, these have been worked into the pockets:

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

Sometimes these symbols look darker than the surrounding fabric, and sometimes lighter:

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

Green embroidered silk Chinese top

The embroidery and fastenings are intricate. Here are some close-ups:

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Green embroidered silk Chinese top, detail of embroidery

Бжоһєд Cyrillic Silver-Grey Top

This top from Unicorn was slightly too short for me, otherwise I'd have bought it for the unusualness of its design: a pattern of silver Cyrillic and Early-Cyrillic lettering on a background of black stars and lines. The garment is asymmetric: the point at the bottom front isn't quite central, and the right-hand side of the waist is slightly higher than the left.

Grey top with Cyrillic lettering

Grey top with Cyrillic lettering, showing details of lettering

Grey top with Cyrillic lettering, showing details of lettering

Most of the writing on the top is pieces of alphabet. However, there are larger letters running down the left-hand side. These look like "БЖРОҺЄД" except that the Є is shaped like an ε, and the top of another letter is just visible after the Д.
Grey top with Cyrillic lettering, showing possible name As this is the only writing on the garment, I did wonder whether it was the maker's name. Unfortunately, the label has been cut off.

Benetti Purple-Blue Blend

Here's a vivid shirt in shades of purple and blue with a pattern like dewdrops on blue grass. I bought it in Aachen in 2001. I can't remember where, other than that it was in a sale in a shop in a side street off one of the long main shopping streets. There were several hung together on a rack, and I should have bought a spare. But this one has survived very well.

Benetti purple-blue-blend shirt

Benetti purple-blue-blend shirt

Benetti purple-blue-blend shirt

Benetti purple-blue-blend shirt

That these lovely shirts were in a sale suggests chromophobia amongst the Aachener and Aachenerinnen. Chromophobia now also afflicts Benetti. There is still a company of this name — albeit with a different design of label — but its shirts are bland.

Anna Murphy, Shake My Hand

The Times last Wednesday ran an article in Times 2 called "We should pity poor men — women can wear any colour".
Scan of 'Times 2' fashion article for 6 June 2018, with the title 'We should pity poor men — women can wear any colour'

In it, the fashion editor Anna Murphy writes:

I received a letter from a reader in response to something I wrote about trousers, verboten for women until remarkably recently. In the first paragraph, the reader told me they were a fan of skirts. "I hate trousers because of the way they compress my nether regions." In the second they revealed themselves to be "a bloke" and, in so doing, to have the narrative pacing of Dashiell Hammett.

"I am not trans," our anonymous reader went on to say. "I have no desire to be a woman. Women's clothes are FUN. Men's aren't. Why should we be denied this? Clothes do not have gender — people do."

Let's pity poor men their wardrobe limitations and hope for their sakes that this changes, while in the meantime enjoying our lack of them. Let's wear our red suit and pink top. Let's tell another woman how good she looks when she does. And if a man does, let's go up and shake his hand.

As I've shown in this blog, you can find men's clothes that ARE fun. And you can find men's trousers that don't compress your nether regions. I'll write about this in another post, but Indian and "Eastern" shops are a good place to look, so is "Fez", and so are online suppliers such as Fantazia.

After seeing Anna's article, I sent her a tweet inviting her to shake my hand. But perhaps she won't take up my invitation. Because The Times hardly ever writes about clothes for men. When it does, the clothes are drab. And it always writes about new clothes. Never vintage. And never ever ever foreign styles such as the Moroccan and their wonderful colours. Her paper's words belie her pity.

Chinese Blue


The four photo-posts before this have all been of pieces of clothing that aren’t mine. But here’s another that is, a blue Chinese embroidered silk top.

Blue Chinese silk top
Blue Chinese silk top
Blue Chinese silk top
Blue Chinese silk top
Blue Chinese silk top

 

From some angles, the designs look surreal: segmented biological forms undulating over a blue silk sea. Arp blobs, but with internal structure.

Blue Chinese silk top

Blue Chinese silk top

 

From other angles, they seem like floating islands.

Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching

 

Notice the details of the embroidery.

Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching
Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching
Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching
Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching

 

As a friend said, sometimes the patterns look like
a dream:

Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching
Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching
Blue Chinese silk top, showing detail of embroidery stitching

Four Embroidered 1980s Flowers

I’ve flowers today, from Unicorn. They’re on a 1980s panelled elastane corset-top, embroidered with stems, buds, leaves, and four flowers. White patches on the petals give an effect of light shining onto them; and white threads radiating from the centres of the biggest flowers look like bright rays against the red underneath.


'80s flower-embroidered corset top


'80s flower-embroidered corset top, showing flowers


'80s flower-embroidered corset top, showing one flower

This is a simple, elegant, somehow calm design. Patterns don’t need to be elaborate to be effective.