We cannot outrun history’s arrow. d’Artagnan and his boon companions the Three Musketeers learned that over 5,000-odd pages of Alexandre Dumas’ rambling historical fiction. History’s arrow? I should have said history’s cannonball, since that is what ended the real d’Artagnan’s life at the siege of Maastricht, an inevitability Dumas had to write into the life of his invented d’Artagnan, at the very end of the last Musketeers romance, The Man in the Iron Mask.
An old, old joke about a bunch of chauvinist French scientists at a convention. The keynote speaker cautiously begins by announcing that there is only a small difference between the male and female bodies, only to be drowned out by a heartfelt Gallic “Vive la différence!” Something of the visceral, uncouth and unreconstructed gusto of that cheer comes to me whenever I think of the differences the seasons impose on our clothing, particularly in tailoring.
I have to hand it to my friend Hari Sakka, a member of long standing of the Pairov Institute, for reminding me of the ridiculous list of baseball player names made up in an attempt to sound American for a 1990s Japanese video game. Among them, Willie Dustice, Sleve McDichael (which itself sounds like one of the nine billion names of Dave Ryder) and Bobson Dugnutt.
Most books on dandies attempt to suggest they are all of many conflicting concepts of the word, so that the very least of the dandies they feature is not just an eccentric who fetishizes dressing well, but also, supposedly, a political revolutionary, an intellectual incendiary, and a retrograde elegant gentleman to (champagne-polished) boot. Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, by Shantrelle P. Lewis, is not one of those books.
The theme of sustainability and ethical consumption has now reached the #menswear magazine and blogging world. In brief, it manifests as a call to buy better and to buy local. This is laudable – it’s harder and harder to avoid shocking headlines like the one about the 15 largest ships in the world (all or almost all container ships that move the world’s merchandise around) emitting more nitrogen and sulfur than all of the world’s cars combined. However, as with so many other aspects of clothing, complications lurk under the surface
Catching up with an old colleague last week, I noticed that this intense, brilliant force of nature, who has dedicated years of her life unflinchingly working to combat some of humanity’s most sordid problems, was wearing novelty Christmas pants. That morning, her steely eye must have picked out in her closet the trousers with printed Christmas trees, candy canes, and wrapped presents, and her acetylene-acute mind would have deemed them good.