The Times of Malta for July 1 2012
has a wonderful photo. It accompanies
Gildas Le Roux about the Milan Male Spring-Summer 2013 collections:
This made me reflect on Dulux.
In 2014, this company
litres of paint to give the Belgian city of Charleroi a colour
it was named the ugliest city in the world four years earlier.
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?
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
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.
In some lights, the patterns seem to drift on a green sea.
The fastenings look like Chinese characters:
The fabric is embroidered, with people, birds and fruits, as well as
elaborate circular symbols. In some places, these have been worked into
Sometimes these symbols look darker than the surrounding fabric, and sometimes
The embroidery and fastenings are intricate. Here are some close-ups:
Can anybody identify these buttons? They're on a woollen sleeved cape, which my
friend thinks was made in the 70s, maybe by Westfield.
The design on them could be a reef knot.
Or possibly a granny knot, though
as this is considered inferior to a reef,
that seems less likely.
The Times last Wednesday ran an article in Times 2
called "We should pity poor men — women can wear
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.
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.
From some angles, the designs look surreal: segmented biological forms undulating over a blue silk sea. Arp blobs, but with internal structure.
From other angles, they seem like floating islands.
Notice the details of the embroidery.
As a friend said, sometimes the patterns look like
Here’s a cheery design from Unicorn. It’s a 1960s stretchy swimming-top with brightly coloured woven 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.
This is a simple, elegant, somehow calm design. Patterns don’t need to be elaborate to be effective.