07 September, 2007
What Does It All Mean
"The Long Weekend" is a nickname for the period in England between The Great War and World War II. It's a reference to Robert Graves' book of the same name. This book deals not only with the more frivilous subjects of fashion, theatre and sports, but with the changing politics, social mores, science and religion of the early decades of the twentieth century. After the devastation of The Great War, people seemed determined to kick up their heels and enjoy life. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!" But the Great Depression in the US and the growing spectre of Nationalism in Europe cast a shadow over that frivolity by the mid- to late 1930s.
It's entirely true that I was raised on Agatha Christie novels and have read far too much P.G. Wodehouse for it not to show in my writing style. I think Cary Grant is the epitome of what a man should be and Ginger Rogers is the most beautiful, talented and funny woman I've ever seen. I think men should have eighteen suits, each supremely fitting for a specific ocassion, and that everyone should dress for dinner. I think hats should be worn when outside and nothing looks quite as good as a perfect finger wave.
I am a clothing historian by profession, so I spend a lot of my time dressed up in the clothing of other eras. But I don't actually want to live in the Middle Ages or Renaissance or Early Colonial Period. Do I want to go back to the 1930s in England? No! I want to live in a Wodehouse vignette or a Christie novel. I wouldn't even mind a little mystery now and then.
This may sound like Luddite delusion, but really it's not. I live in a high tech world where my business depends on my ability to use Computer Assisted Drafting software, print on industrial ink-jet plotters, and maintain an e-commerce website. I'm not going to throw that over. I don't want to travel back in time because I know all too well the realities of that time period. It was not the world we see in the novels I love so well. I don't want to live in a world before penicillin where people still contracted life-long illnesses like polio. I don't want to live in a world where my word as a woman was somehow less. I don't want to be either a daughter or a wife but not a person of my own.
But that doesn't stop me from loving the clothes, the style, the attitude...
This blog is my self-indulgent foray into living a life of style and refinement. It's about dressing up and paddling along the canal, possibly with a silly gentleman crooning to his own ukelele playing. It's about wearing plus-fours on the golf links and playing a round with wooden clubs. It's about crossing the Atlantic by ship and taking a trip on the Orient Express. It's about dining and dancing and having a laugh.
Won't you join me?