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Saturday, August 5, 2017

If history were recorded by fashion writers, Part II: the women.

In December of 2015, this blog speculated as to how fashion writers would have covered some of the more prominent figures in history. How would they have covered some of the more prominent women? What would they have emphasized?

A girl's simply gotta have her extensions, and if her boyfriend has matching hair, why not go for it? Our gal Delilah doesn't believe that men should have all the power! And she expresses her own power the way every woman wants to -- with a heavy gold armband and bracelet to match her sumptuous necklace and earrings. Those eleven hundred pieces of silver she'll be paid by the Philistines for Samson's hair will certainly pay for a lot more bling! You go girl!

Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, looks absolutely stunning in her royal regalia! Mary's ornate pendant set in 14 karat gold, the matching belt, the tiara set back on her head, and the embroidery of her dress, all speak to the kind of sumptuousness we want to associate with royalty. Small wonder she wanted to cleanse England of that dowdy, "plain and simple" Protestant way of dress -- which is far more pretentious in its own way. Our beloved Queen was so assiduous in this task there's even a stylish drink named after her that's popular to this day: the Bloody Mary!

Does Lucrezia look stunning in this diaphanous dress? Is the pope Catholic?!! Her viper pendant, and the dagger/cross must both be Borgia family symbols. (Whose blood is that dripping from the dagger?) Yet the flowery motif on her headdress somehow evokes both a nun and a wood nymph. Or is that nightshade depicted? It's no surprise that even while giving birth to ten children she caught the eye of so many men during all three of her marriages! Lucrezia is rumored to have a hollow ring from which she slips poison into drinks -- but there is no evidence of that here! How do those ugly rumors get started?

Countess Elizabeth comes from a very noble family: one uncle is Andrew Bonaventura Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania; another is Stephen Bathory, Prince of Transylvania! Elizabeth's blood red dress is set off beautifully by white sleeves, which symbolize the purity of her heart. It all accentuates her tiny waist and preternaturally youthful skin! Local girls wanted desperately to emulate the countess, and many have flocked to their heroine. Their transformation must have been complete, because many have never even been recognized again!

Our Empress Catherine is a great lover of all things equine! And she looks tres chic in that riding coat, her tricorne perched at a jaunty angle, and stylishly baggy pantaloons! No wonder they call her The Great! There's simply no other word for how our favorite equestrienne looks sitting side saddle, astride a horse -- or in any position with a horse!

Marie has caused a revolution in French fashion with her hair done up in pouf style, decorated with a panache (spray of feather plumes)! And check out that daring d├ęcolletage, which accentuates her slender, delicate neck. You can't put that kind of style on the chopping block! Some wags may call her Madame Deficit, but why worry about a silly little thing like that? Marie spends lavishly on herself because she deserves it -- she's worth it! And the French people agree! Our darling Marie proves, once and for all, that you can have your cake and eat it too!

At first glance it might look as if our Lizzie has taken a whack at fashion with that plain shirt, but if you look closely, you'll see that the ruffles on the front of her blouse are artfully arranged. And those dark colors are only fitting given that she is probably still mourning her parents, whose tragic murders remain unsolved. Poor Lizzie! Note that her dress is quite modest, covering everything right up to the top of her neck, as befits a well brought up young lady of the Victorian era. (No man will get a peek at that body!) We certainly have no axe to grind with her clothing choices!

Ilse isn't held prisoner to passing trends, but prefers the timeless simplicity of a summer dress. It takes concentration to look that good without becoming camp! Ms. Koch knows that looking like just another frumpy hausfrau would be a crime against humanity. Frau Koch's husband Karl Otto looks resplendent as well in his sharply tailored uniform and well polished jackboots. Her neatly appointed house is undoubtedly perfectly decorated, right down to the lampshades! And look at that dog -- what a humongous bitch!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wears a tradiitonal African headdress, a traditional African necklace, along with traditional African sunglasses. As befits the wife of Nelson Mandela, she has great concern for the masses, generously providing for many of them to be necklaced as well. As the great lady said, "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country!" Winnie, don't forget your beautiful headdresses and designer sunglasses too!

From the time she married Baby Doc (top), Michele Duvalier has looked every inch the stylish voodoo queen! Who couldn't she cast a spell over with that headdress? Below, Michele wears one of her many fur coats she needed to stay warm through those cold Haiti winters! You can be sure they're custom made -- there's no pret-a-porter for the lady from Port au Prince! Whether she's encouraging her husband to resurrect the Tontons Macoutes, or abscond with the national treasury, our stylish Santeria knows how to dress for success!

Nobody can rock a unicolor pantsuit like our gal Hillary! Whether you're hiding a pay to play "donation" from a dictator or just a pair of thunder thighs, pantsuits are the way to go! Note the cut of her pants, which allow for the ease of movement you need while bravely dodging sniper fire in Bosnia! Like the LGBT warrior she is, Hillary looks stunning in all the colors of the rainbow: Blood of Gaddafi Red, Prison Jumpsuit Orange, Goldman Sachs Gold, Color of Money Green, Benghazi Blue, Personal Server Purple, and Nothing to Hide Navy. No wonder she screams so much at her Secret Service detail: those dreary bores always dress in the same old dark suits! I am woman, hear me roar -- or cackle!


Anonymous said...

Out of all the women mentioned, my guess is that Delilah was physically the best looking of them all, having a wonderfully charming, sensuous personality (although her actual character proved her to be deceptively devious).

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
Delilah was a Biblical character, so who knows how true that story is. The rest of the people mentioned were historical figures, and with a number of them, it's hard to tell from the old time paintings. Mary I was obviously not attractive. Lucrezia Borgia was thought at the time to be extremely attractive, and was also said to have great physical grace, so that painting may not have done her justice. Elizabeth Bathory, who knows.

I saw several portraits of Catherine the Great, she seemed to be sort of middling, though a number of the pictures were of her when she was older, so that might not be quite fair. I did feel a little bad writing about her, of all of the women I mentioned here she was by far the best, character-wise -- not a high bar considering who else I chose -- and she was evidently on balance a wise and beneficent ruler. On top of that, the story about her and the horse is probably untrue, according to most historians; it was probably just a rumor spread to discredit her by her enemies. Nonetheless, I found it hard to resist.

I can't tell how attractive Marie Antoinette was. Lizzie Borden had a piggish face. Ilse Koch actually was quite pretty when she was young and skinny, though by the time of her trial at the end of WWII she had gotten fat. Winnie Mandela may have been cute when younger, it's hard to tell from her older pictures.

I actually think Michele Duvalier was downright gorgeous though. Coincidentally, after I started to play with this post a couple days ago, I happened to be speaking to a Haitian guy, and I asked him about her. He absolutely despised her, and said that virtually all Haitians feel the same way. I then asked about Baby Doc and Papa Doc, and he wasn't nearly as scathing; in fact he seemed to almost sympathize with Baby Doc for having been married to Michele.

Anonymous said...

Having read about Michele Duvalier, she was a very greedy woman, stealing huge sums of money from Haiti's treasury, affording her a luxurious lifestyle. She's a criminal.

- Susan

Not Dave said...

Having only been recently, within the last two months I suppose, introduced to your blog I found this Part II entertaining though I have yet to read Part I.

Reading about Marie Antoinette reminded me of when Michelle Obama was spending a ton of money on dresses and vacations around the world during the down turned economy. Not to mention lecturing us citizens on how to be proper Americans and eat her cardboard school lunches while dining with royalty - or pigging out at Five Guys as it was her claimed favorite joint if I remember correctly.

I did get a kick out of the Pant Suit Charlatan. She cares for everyone (as long as you're a Clinton and your name is Hillary). I believe she's one-upped the other pant-suit wearers of Chairman Mao and Kim Jong Un by introducing festive colors. She hasn't yet murdered as many as they have, give her time. I hear she's hired campaign folks recently.

- Dave

John Craig said...

Not Dave --
Thank you. Good analogy, Marie and Michelle.

If Hillary thinks she has a chance in 2020, she's delusional.

Anonymous said...

I imagine you're working on a lengthy piece about the google memo? Or would it be a short one, because he addresses the same issues you've already covered?

John Craig said...

Anon --
Actually I haven't been writing as much because my parents recently moved to a retirement home near me, and I've been giving them rides everywhere. The frequency of that should abate in the near future though. Am writing another post about Elizabeth Bathory which I should put up shortly, then will write another relatively short post about the Google memo. There's been a lot written about that already, I'll try to do it from a slightly different angle.

Rona said...

"It takes concentration to look that good without becoming camp!"

I love your fashion reviews John.

John Craig said...

Thank you very much Rona.