I have some fun, old sewing books I like to flip through on occasion -- sometimes for laughs. Take for instance the following discussion about the absurdity of various fashion trends, from Fabrics and Dress by Rathbone and Tarple, 1937. Hang in there with me. There's a good laugh coming.
First up is the fabulous headdress above, a la Marie Antoinette -- Watch out madame, you're tipping starboard!
"Regardless of how reasonable or sane the inspiration for a fashion may be, the style sometimes is carried to extreme, with grotesque and absurd results. We can glance through books on historic costume and pick out many "follies" which have grown out of sensible fashions. Outstanding among the freaks of fashion has been the headdress made popular by Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Royal Dictator of Fashion..." And the book goes on to discuss the fabulous hair-do above. (I say go for it, Bjork. I liked your cheeky swan dress.)
The next folly of fashion on the table are poulaines, medieval shoes with liripipe toes. (This seriously takes me back to my History of Costume class my Freshman year in college. How in the world did I recall the term, poulaines?)
"Shoes with long toes were another absurdity of fashion to which we often point with ridicule... richer and more eminent personages wore shoes with tips a foot long and princes two feet (Fig. 4)" And so forth."Another recent fashion, which will probably seem as absurd as many of these when it becomes long out-of-date, is the very short skirt of 1928-1929, which was about three inches above the knee (Fig. 7) When worn with extremely high heels, it made the expanse of the legs much longer than the length of the skirt..."
eyes, look away.
What woman would want her legs to look longer by wearing a short not-that-short skirt? Just the most absurd idea in fashion ever -- the extremely short skirt of 1928-1929 -- clearly as absurd as the pirate hat and the carrot shoe. It will never last.
I do love my old books.
Regarding poulaines: "Such shoes
proved a hazard among the French Crusaders at the Battle
of Nicopolis (1396) when they had to cut off the tips in order to
run away." Isaac Asimov, Isaac
Asimov's Book of Facts, 1979.
don't repeat themselves -- for good reason.