Uniforms Saturday, Jun 7 2008 

Miss Barbara admits:
I’m writing to prattle on about how utterly wonderful uniforms are. We all love a nurse in a crisp white uniform, and what blonde’s knees don’t tremble at the sight of an aviatrix in dress uniform or a sailor pette all decked out in her lovely white and blue? We know the joys of seeing pettes in uniforms, but have we ever stopped to think about why uniforms are so thrilling? I think it might be because when we see a girl in a uniform, we see first her archetype and her function, and then we notice the girl underneath, all the more attractive for being a bit hidden by these greater and grander things. We love those girls who give themselves over to their functions because we know that by doing so, they are helping build the civilization to which we belong. Though I personally don’t wear a nurse’s or sailor’s uniform, I do often think of my hat, gloves, makeup, and up-to-date clothes as my Aristasian uniform, which I wear very proudly, of course!

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The Glory of Satin Saturday, Apr 19 2008 

Anita here again, pettes, with a little disquisition on satin, which no one has ever said is a completely innocent fabric! Chiffon and lace connote fragility, daintiness, vulnerability, but satin … well satin is what is known as a sensuous fabric, both to wear and to behold, and nowhere is satin more sensuously used than in Trent.

Now, satin is a special type of weave, one that has more warps than fillings on its surface, which is what causes its sheen. It can be woven from silk, rayon or even cotton. Silk satin is the finest and most expensive, although rayon satin is almost as good. Because of its reflective properties, satin makes a girl look larger than she is, so it is worn to greatest advantage by very slim pettes.

Satin did not really come into its own as the fabric for elegant evening wear until Mlle. Madelaine Vionnet of Western Vintesse invented the bias cut. Bias cut fabrics are cut across the grain, you see, which allows a garment to fall in a smooth, flowing vertical drape, and to be rather easily manipulated into clingy, slinky gowns of transcendent grace and elegance. Bias cutting is relatively wasteful of fabric, however, as a pattern must be laid diagonally across the bolt, but it produces garments that are so deliciously fluid that pettes are willing to pay a bit extra.

Take the stunning black ciré satin gown above, as worn by Ursula Jeans in Noelle Coward’s latest film, Cavalcade, which has just been released and is showing right now in local theaters all over Trent. The low, revealing bodice clings enticingly, as does the skirt down to the knees, where it is released into glistening folds which drape to the feet and spread over the floor. Daringly black and ultra-slinky, modesty is maintained by a delicate bow of tiny diamonds applied to the decolletage, echoed by the jewels on the bracelets and on the scarlet red feathered fan.

To the right is Mary Lou Dix in a rather plain gown of pale lavender bias-cut satin. Its lines are almost severely simple and classic, yet its impact is in no way lessened thereby. On the contrary, the gown’s utter simplicity displays Miss Dix’s perfect figure without interposing the least distraction.

But bias-cut satin drapes so beautifully that even when the design is complex and unusual, a woman’s figure cannot be easily concealed.

Look at Miss Carole Lombard in this close-fitting evening gown of black satin. The skirt appears twisted in a large, draped bow just above the knees, trailing off into a narrow train, echoed by a twisted halter held in place about neck and shoulders by a large diamond clip. At the risk of trying your patience, dearest pettes, let me finally show you Miss Lombard in the same dress, now covered with an unusual three-quarter-length cape of black satin, broadly banded in black monkey fur which falls outward in sprays.

Once again, girls, the quiet, self-possessed air of these women is not at all unusual in Trent. You will easily find see it in studio stills from the province such as these. You won’t find any blank stares, nor any hint of hostile or indifferent alienation either, as I understand is quite common among models in the place called the Pit: Trentish women are always connected to everything around them not despite, but because of their self-possession.

Kadorian hair styles Sunday, Apr 6 2008 

Miss Norma, our Kadorian fashion expert, declares:
Today we must take up a fashion matter I have flagrantly neglected: hair styles! (I do tend to get carried away with millinery matters, but then, I can’t help myself, hats are so grand!) Hair style has become more important now than ever, because for the first time in almost a decade there is a sea-change in the offing. The flowing shoulder-length styles of Eastern Kadoria, with their smooth, neatly contained masses of hair, sometimes further defined by a hairnet, are now giving way to light, fresh, shorter, almost fluffy styles from Western Kadoria – a brand-new look! If you want to be turned into the prettiest girl at Miss Barbara’s party, you might consider booking an appointment this afternoon at your local coiffeuse to try out one of these new hair-do’s.

As shown in this photo, the future for short hair is a gentle winging away from the face. Hair is cut two-and-a-half to three inches all over the head and scalloped upwards into soft feminine waves at the sides. This is an easy and versatile style, which takes almost no time to care for, so it is ideal for a pette-on-the-go. Bracelet of pearls, pink Italian coral and gold, with buttons and earrings to match.

But you long-haired pettes needn’t despair, Western Kadoria has something for you, too, which might make you the prettiest one at the party! The new fashion for longer hair lies in silken-smooth, close-to-the-head arrangements highlighted (and held in place) by veiling, combs, jewels or flowers. This pette wears smooth bangs with low waves brushing back to a cluster of curls held in place with ribbon and combs. (Glistening locks, courtesy of regular shampooing, of course!) Note the lovely little bouquet of bachlorette’s buttons at the shoulder!

Last is a more traditional Western Kadorie style for hair of middle length. Again, sides are scalloped upwards in soft, close-to-the-head waves. Here a yard of 15-inch mauve veiling goes over the head and ties in back. Hold in place with pretty hatpins. Nice on dancing dates, but I would not wear this style to a party where there is any hope, er, I mean danger of rough brunettes – one might be a target! Stay on the qui vive,, pettes, brunettes can be powerfully moved by hairstyles, and I have heard quite a bit about Miss Barbara’s cocktail parties!!

Aesthetics of Pettes in Space Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

Miss Amalya Corinthian asked:
Having just finished reading the latest installment of The Princess and the Captain, I would like very much to reproduce the elegant curlicues with which the blondes and brunettes on the unfamiliar planet adorned their eyes. The problem is, I don’t want it to look terribly unnatural. I’ve tried a bit with eyeliner, but that seems to clump together too much. Any ideas? I want it to be really subtle, but elegant and feminine.

Princess Mushroom replied:
What sort of eyeliner do you use? In my view the best eyeliner for all purposes, but certainly the only type for “temple-style” eyes as described in The Princess and the Captain is liquid eyeliner.

I wear liquid eyeliner almost every day of my life. Girls sometimes ask how I manage to get it on so neatly. Actually it is not very hard. Anyone who knows me will confirm that I am an absolute g’doinker in the handicraft department. If I can do it, you can – believe me. Just set aside a little time – and some cleansing pads – for practice and you will soon be doing it beautifully.

I have never gone in for curlicues, but I do use a long extended stroke beyond the lower-lid lining which might be called “modified temple-style”.

People may differ on this but my personal experience leads me to say make sure you get liquid eyeliner with a brush. I have tried various brands (including some very expensive ones) that use pointy felt-tip-type applicators and I simply cannot manage them. A brush puts on the liner neatly without disturbing the skin (which causes smudges).

It does not need to be an expensive brand. The one I use most of the time comes at two shillings from a local street market. It is cheap, strikingly black, easy to apply and I love it to pieces.

Good luck!

Here is the passage which inspired Miss Corinthian:
Almost instinctively, raiAntala fell into step with the three youngsters as they marched to the café. It was down a cobbled side-street — a curious place with tinted windows and a pink-and-pale-blue neon sign. The design of everything was strange, and yet it reminded raiAntala of a dozen coffee bars she had haunted in Quirinelle. The strong rhythmic beat of the music that could be heard several doors away was very unlike Quirrie rock and roll, and yet had a certain decided kinship to it.

They entered a darkish room filled with a curious scented smoke. Tables and chairs in gleaming chrome were occupied by groups of brunettes, often dressed in black and with hair swept off their faces and rolled up into a coif with a spray of hair stiffened to stand up like a plume. Among blondes the fashion seemed to be for various shades of a pink lip-enamel lined with red. Among both sexes, heavy “temple-style” eyeliner seemed to be in fashion, often with cute curlicues emerging from the corners. Several customers were in school uniforms and were more conservatively coiffed and painted.

You can start reading The Princess and the Captain here.

An Art-Neo Palace Friday, Feb 22 2008 

Following the article on Art Neo in Aristasia, here is an account of a visit to Eltham Palace, London, a fine example of Art Neo in Telluria.

Yesterday I went with two brunettes to what may be the finest private Art-Neo house in the world – certainly the finest to be located in a mediaeval palace!

You really must see for yourself. Take a virtual tour; and don’t on any account omit the Dining Room or Virginia Courtauld’s bedroom. This is Art-Neo splendour at its finest. (Once there, if the movie doesn’t rotate for you, click and drag within the picture to turn it at will).

In the dining room, the ceiling is “gilded” with aluminium leaf – how terribly modern! and in the panorama the fireplace does not come across in its true splendour, so it is worth finding a close-up of that.

The palace itself is the most glorious marriage of rich tradition with up-to-the minute Art-Neo and we visited on the perfect day, gloriously sunny in early autumn when the great willows are still green and trailing into the moat, and yet there are also golden, yellow and red leaves of Autumn to be seen.

In the tea-room the waitresses are uniformed like Trentish maids and we had egg mayonnaise sandwiches followed by scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam with green tea for the orientally inclined and Earl Grey for the less so.

For those of us who are considering Art-Neo for the style of our own hestia, here is an example of the style at its very finest.

Art Neo in Aristasia Pura Sunday, Feb 17 2008 

Art Neo is often regarded as equivalent to Tellurian Art Deco, but it resembles only those parts of Art Deco that are theatrical, feminine and sound. It also includes some elements of what is usually termed Art Nouveau. The term is also applied much
more broadly than Art Deco – for example, Trentish dance-band music is termed “Art-Neo music”.

Art Neo is considered as primarily the art of Novaria which has spread to other provinces: notably neighbouring Vintesse and Trent. Art Neo is not merely an aesthetic style but an applied aesthetic philosophy.

Art Neo in Telluria has been called a “blind aesthetic” because while it provides a counter to the aesthetics of deformism it, unlike them, has no underlying philosophy. It was a healthy aesthetic reaction against the Cult of Ugliness, but it was no more than an instinctive reflex.

In Aristasia, conversely, Art Neo is a deliberate and conscious attempt to adapt traditional aesthetic and spiritual values to the exigencies of a machine age. Art Neo, with its recurring solar motifs and uplifting quality, is a fully considered attempt to come to terms with the “problem of the machine” and bring a machine-dominated world into conformity with the eternal Principles of tradition.

This is possible because technics in Aristasia, rather than growing out of a revolutionary rationalist and anti-traditionalist movement (such as the 17th-century “Enlightenment” in Telluria) have always been seen as the legitimate, if in some respects distant, descendant of traditional Spirit-centred science.

As in Telluria, images and forms from traditional cultures play an important role in Art-Neo style. While in Telluria this is a mere “playing” with traditional forms, albeit frequently with an instinctive feeling for their remythologising depth, in Aristasia this is done with a conscious intention of maintaining and restoring links with tradition and keeping modern culture well-rooted in the sacred and nourishing Ancestral soil.

From Art Neo in the Encyclopaedia Chelouranya

The Mysterious Veil Friday, Jul 27 2007 

The Mysterious AccessoryMiss Nicola wrote:

I have just found this delightful picture of the Quirinelle actress Romy Schneider – some pettes might remember her from the film Mädchen in Uniform. I was quite taken aback by this and felt that I simply had to share it. There is something about a veil that is so mysterious, I never quite manage to pull it off myself.

Miss Gillian commented:

What a glorious veiled lady. Yes, I feel a veil is the most mysterious accessory too – in fact when you called it in your popup “The Mysterious Accessory” I found myself almost taken aback to hear it referred to as an accessory at all. Gloves are an accessory and a charming one. So are handbags. But a veil seems something almost too secret and sacred, too magical and mysterious to be an accessory. Something that marks out a woman as a strange and beautiful Creature Apart.

Well, I know it is an accessory, but does anyone know what I mean – or am I just being silly without even being a blonde?

Miss Barbara had a different point of view:

Jinky VeilMiss Gillian, darling – there is nothing silly in a brunette’s being captivated by the mystery and magic of a veil. Brunettes can be romantics too, you know. And should be in my opinion.

So I hope no one will think me iconoclastic if I demonstrate that veils are not always mysterious and shiveracious, but can sometimes be quite jinky. Not normally, I grant you, but here is a picture I found that captures the veil in its lighter mood.

I hope you all like it as much as I do, and if it gives one girl the courage to try a veil, I shall not have sent it in vain.

For I should just love to meet one of you in a veil.

And umm – does anyone have any thoughts on the subject of kissing through a veil. I confess the idea thrills me.

blush

A Millinery Primer Part 3: More Hats Wednesday, Jul 4 2007 


Miss Norma continues:

No more attempts at philosophy this time, Darlings, I’ll cut right to the chase. So here is Marissa, our own high fashion model, wearing the ne plus ultra of floral hats – why, she seems to be carrying her very own meadow of June flowers about with her! (By the way, the diamonds are real! The Duchess of Alba keeps rooms at the Warwick, and she is in Bermuda for the week, so she lent Marissa a few of her diamonds in exchange for a credit under the photo.) Next time I shall show you some fall hats – which employ mainly fabrics, feathers and furs rather than flowers.

Oh, yes, and also a delightfully airy summer bonnet, set off with gay ribbons, that is actually called Fountain of Youth! Just like my favorite cocktail – an equal mixture of gin, vermouth and sugar syrup. (No kidding!)

Oh, but why keep you waiting for the Fountain of Youth? I see some liquid ones are already being set on their tray, so I suppose there is no better time to show you the eponymous hat. So here it is, too! The model’s name is Sydney.

Miss Kresha reminisces:
The floral hat (pictured above) reminded me of the time when mother took me to her favorite dress and millinery shop and bought me my own first hat. Even though it looked nothing like the one pictured, it still invoked my memory. I was fourteen, aflush with anticipation and nervous. I must have tried on thirty hats, from pillbox to extravagantly costumed styles. It was then that mother stepped in and directed my attention to a wide brimmed straw in navy. A white polka-dot navy scarf and a navy polka-dot scarf were haphazardly twisted around the flat crown. The ends separated at the rear and then formed an opposing bow at the rear. Walking out of Malina’s shop with my hat box swinging from my fingertips was an act of shouting to the world … “I, Kresha Matay, am a woman!!!”

For Part 1 see A Millinery Primer

At the Opera Friday, Jun 29 2007 

Miss Barbara asks for advice:
Dears, I have a serious question to pose. I am going to the opera this Saturday and I just bought a lovely black velvet dress to wear with long black gloves and black velvet pumps and sheer black stockings. My dilemma, and I hope more experienced brunettes out there or perhaps a particularly savvy blonde will be able to rescue me, is: what kind of purse should I carry? I found the most perfect clutch with beaded off-white pearls and silver, but with a black dress? I just don’t know. What do you pettes suggest? Anxiously awaiting your advice.

Miss Olyvya answers:
Oh, Miss Barbara, I hope I have caught you before you left for your opera! The purse problem is simple, darling, it just has to be black, of course, black with silver is fine. Big beads, little beads, heavy satin, even velvet — all will do quite nicely as long as it’s black. And small.

Miss Violetta dreams:
I have always wanted to wear a dramatic hat, voluminous cape, and black satin Chinese-style gown. My long black hair would be elegantly drawn up into a tight bun; long earrings, perhaps black opal (my birthstone) would just graze the middle of my neck. I would enter the lobby of the opera house – all eyes turn to examine this glamorous, mysterious, imposing woman. Perhaps my hat has a bit of netting over the front, just enough to make my facial expressions enigmatic. I have a box all to myself, high-powered binoculars (plated with mother-of-pearl) on a pince-nez. Perhaps I am watching “Gotterdammerung”, losing myself in the heavenly cries of the Rhinemaidens. In an ideal world, all bodies of water would be inhabited by nymphs and mermaids, forever combing their lustrous hair, forever luring travelers into their watery paradise.

A Millinery Primer Part 2: Feminine Glory Sunday, Jun 24 2007 

Miss Norma continues:
Please gather around for the next little lesson in millinery lore. We have already seen how hats are an essential feminine garment, as perfectly feminine as, say, frothy, lacy, silky undies, but with this obvious difference: a hat is an outie, that is, always displayed, worn to be seen, plumage, really, not some delicate secret, soft as eider down, known only to a girl herself (and felt by her always) but glimpsed by others only on the rarest of chances. So if hats are not silky and lacy and frothy and downy-soft (though they sometimes may be), just why, then, are they so very feminine? 

Now being a philosopherette is not an employment prerequisite for a Kadorie junior fashion editrix, so I can make no claims to any particular sagacity, yet it seems to me that hats allow Maid to display, nay, flaunt her essential feminine links to beauty, fecundity, gracefulness … indeed, to the most exalted other-than-Maid aspects of Dea’s creations. So Maid appropriates the most beautiful, not-Maid manifestations of the manifest world – feathers, flowers and fruit, and fur – which for this very reason have found their way into the milliner’s art, so that they might adorn and embellish, indeed crown, the head and brow of Dea’s finest creation – Maid herself. When a girl wears a fine hat she is glorifying Dea by wreathing Her finest creation in the subservient beauty of flowers, feathers and fruit – indeed, Maid would adorn her hats with butterfly wings, too, were they sufficiently durable.

But too many words, not enough pictures, pettes, so here are some proofs from the session Stephanie G. shot today on the hotel veranda, after the sun had gone behind the wall, so that the light would be softer. Please take note of the long, soft, green gloves (how can you miss ’em?)

For Part 1 see A Millinery Primer

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