Summer Readiness!

Spring is in the air!

(or is that just the smell of all the rotting piles of fish, fly covered duck parts, and the abundance of mushy, blackened, mouldy fruits and vegetables cascading out of the garbage bins on every corner of China Town after a long hot weekend?)

ANYWAY, I digress (yet again)… SPRING…or something…is in the air! And we all know what that means. There is something sinister lurking just after Labour Day…. SUMMER. It’s that dreaded perennial season that inflicts self loathing, acute body dysmorphia, and humiliation upon most of the population. Every year it’s just as reliable as when Puxasutawney Phil comes peeking out of his burrow. It’s just as predictable as October bringing us Halloween. And of course the arrival of Halloween means attending parties where once more you hear the reoccurring theme of everybody’s costume. The description of said theme is naturally:

“I’m a Sexy ______”

(you can fill in that above blank with anything from “kitten”, “nurse”, “pirate”, “baby”, “homeless man”, “burn victim” through to “cadaver”)

But..back to our topic…

Yes, SUMMER is coming. The season whose high temperatures, and societal expectations demand that we wear less coverings over our pale, flabby bodies. Those same bodies that have been safely camouflaged all through autumn and winter by cashmere sweaters, silk lined woollen trousers, fashionable boots, hand knitted scarves, glamorous drama coats (à la Çomme de Garçon) and a vast variety of garments created from beautiful tactile fabrics. (le sigh)

Summer, on the other hand is the season, that to me, demands that I wear clothing and bathing suits that exacerbate the genetic betrayal that is my legacy.

I know a lot of people say: “You should just join a gym and start working out! You’ll get such a high from it!”, or “Take a Spin Class, it’s so much fun!”, and

“I’m on a really fun ______team, you should come and play with us!”

I have attempted all of those activities, and believe me when I tell you that I totally went at it half-heartedly, and gave it the best half-arsed effort that I kinda tried to muster. Going to the gym, and especially trying out a Spin Class made me completely anxious, self conscious and nauseous. Being around all those muscular, toned young people made me feel like a giant albino squid, thrown out of the ocean, and onto a beach. I was flopping about uncoordinated and exposed. All that my squid self desperately wanted to do was to find some way back into that ocean water again, and then squirt out a huge cloud of black ink in which to hide myself, and cower. In other words, as far as gyms? I’d rather wear fire as a hat.

After all of those experiences I have decided that I already get plenty of exercise from chain smoking, driving a stick-shift, wandering through the streets aimlessly every weekend, and lying in bed and complaining.

However, I did recently unearth a long forgotten ancient VHS tape!

(yes I DO do still own a VCR. I use it to view all of the old videos that I never got around to converting to DVD’s twenty years ago…and yes DVD’s still exist too. Not everything is on Netflix baby)

So this afore mentioned tape is an old eighties work-out tape was designed especially for men. I have been watching it and copying all the movements for weeks, but I am still not looking like any of the men on the tape. Then I realised that maybe the point isn’t looking like those men, but rather to just like looking at them.

Enjoy!

Zazous: What punk culture meant in World War II France


Long hair, baggy suits, sunglasses, cynicism—deadly style

Quiff hairdo, pencil mustache, baggy suit? Yeah, the boy’s a zazou. (Albert Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty)

Why is it always the long-haired freaks who cause trouble?

Well, for the zazous, a rebellious youth subculture in World War II-era France, long hair was a literal form of protest. A 1942 government decree asked that all barbershops collect and donate hair to the war effort, to be manufactured into slippers and sweaters. The rebellious zazous refused, and grew their locks long.

During those years, the country’s conservative Vichy regime and its prime minister Philippe Pétain were collaborating with the occupying Nazis to impress strict morality laws on a youth population it deemed lazy and dissident.

In protest of Vichy ideology and enforced austerity, zazou followers challenged the image of an obedient, gender-normative, homogenized French citizenry. When the government imposed fabric rations, zazou men wore long, billowy jackets to their knees, gathered trousers, and tiny moustaches. They carried “Chamberlain” umbrellas even on sunny days, a parody of English style. Women wore jackets with wide shoulders, short skirts, bold lipstick, and bleached Hollywood-style hair.

1: Zazou woman in typical attire. 2: A young zazou playing records on his gramophone, during World War II. (Albert Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

Like their counterpart swing kids in Germany, zazous were fixtures in the jazz scene, which had originated in the African-American community and spread across the world by mid-century. In fact, zazou probably got its name from a song called “Zah Zuh Zahby” by Cab Calloway, a Harlem jazz musician. Apart from the jazz clubs and cinemas, zazous frequented two main cafes in Paris, the Pam Pam cafe on the Champs-Élysées and the Boul’Mich on the Boulevard Saint-Michel. They drank fruit juice or beer with a shot of grenadine syrup, and were particularly fond of grated carrot salad.

Cab Calloway and the American zoot suit influenced the zazou aesthetic. (20th Century Fox)

“To be a zazou meant you had to have time, leisure, and money to spend on [this type of protest],” says Sarah Fishman, associate dean of undergraduate studies at the University of Houston. Zazous were typically educated, wealthy and between the ages of 17 and 20.

Yet the zazous were the most visible, the most branded in their displeasure. When the yellow star was forced upon Jews, some zazous wore their own yellow star painted with the word “zazou.” March 27, 1942, was the day the first train of Jews left Paris for Auschwitz, and also the day of the barbershop decree. The Cri du Peuple newspaper ran a drawing of a Vichy youth organization member forcibly cutting a zazou’s hair. They began rounding up the zazous from their cafes and cinemas and beating them in the street.

“They drove the officials crazy. They hated this phenomenon,” says Fishman. The collaborationist newspaper La Gerbe proclaimed on June 25, 1942, “We are having great difficulty in eliminating the venom of Americanism. It has entered our customs, impregnated our civilization. We must devote our utmost efforts against these transgressions of taste and bearing: the decline of critical faculties, the follies of nigger jazz and swing, the contagion of our youth by American cocktail parties.”

In July 1942, French officials mounted the most aggressive expulsion yet, raiding cafes to collect zazous and send them to work camps in the countryside. Another Vichy-symphathizing paper, Gringoire, celebrated that the police had stomped “the perverted kids and idle little girls who haunt the cafes and brasseries of the Champs-Élysées and the Latin quarter who have adopted the slogan: A swing France in a zazou Europe.”

Depictions of zazou in the pro-Vichy newspaper, Gringoire.

As zazous escaped underground, the lore around them only grew. It was difficult, after all, for authorities to distinguish between a political uprising and a mere commercial trend. It’s partly why showbusiness loved the group’s subversive message. Singer Andrex released “Y’a des zazous” in 1944:

Up until now a man could be black or white or yellow or red and that’s all,

But a new race was born, it’s the Zazous.

A false collar up to the jaws with a jacket down to the knees,

Hair down the back,

That’s the Zazou, that’s the Zazou.

There are Zazous in my neighborhood

I’m half there myself

And one of these days,

You’ll all be Zazous like them,

Because the Zazou is contagious.

It’s difficult to say when zazou culture truly died out, but historians estimate it began when Germany imposed forced labor in France between 1942 and 1943. Says Fishman, “That’s the point where you don’t want to call attention to yourself as an able-bodied young man.”

Though the zazou movement ultimately dissipated, it helped establish what youth counterculture could look like—fashionable freaks with a message.

Remember Resist? ( Oh I’m sorry, does making a joke normalize it? )

I don’t want to normalize ANYTHING.

Vintage graphic t’s are all the rage in Japan. Ask any sales associate at Goodwill and they’ll tell you they come in early and buy ’em all. Well you know what? I’m happy for them. No I’m not. I couldn’t care less who buys what when Goodwill opens. I don’t even know what time that would be but I am willing to bet it’s fifteen minutes after they say it is  in NYC. I’m going to stop myself right there.

RESIST T-SHIRTS ARE AVAILABLE NOW FROM NEW CULT ICON.

GET THEM HERE

or click the pics and get ’em. This is a CLICK AND GIT situation.

Safe Looks For Summer Swimming

Please be careful out there. A well fitting silicone swim cap can save thousands over the outrageous cost of back alley eye jobs by Brazilian doctors in Queens. Let the duct tape youre hiding underneath be your secret.

A frosted lip in sherbert keeps this scorching summer look icy cool.

billyandjoshswincaps2

 

Forgetting About Your Own Blog

is no excuse for not posting for weeks and weeks but it happened. If you’d like to remind me to post something in the future or if you would like to request a topic or to ask me anything almost at all – hey – feel free…

auntalice AT gmail DOT com

Let your fingers do the walking and be assured – every email will be read by me or one of my staff. FYI – I like to discuss and blog about things that are; a little tired, really old, a future possibility, completely ridiculous, often underrated and of course those things that are invisible such as music, fragrance and spirits (not the kind that take a water back.) Also, I enjoy blogging about topics that involve the visible spectrum and everything that happens therein. I’m very sorry but I have to request that there be no inquiries regarding the subjects of the ultra-violet nor the infra-red at this time. Things beyond the spectrum will be permitted as topics of inquiry and or suggestions for posts sometime in the future, however at this moment I am unable to care about and therefore blog about colors that nobody can see.  note: The topic of fluorescence is fine.

Ok, so, that said, what about Horst P. Horst and his summer beauty shot for Vogue? Have you seen it yet? Are you familiar with Horst P. Horst and Vogue 1939? No? Well you are now…

Vogue-1939-Horst_P_Horst1

H. kept this one REAL simple – huh? Blast her with the brightest tungsten ya got and pay no mind to the beat up edge of that box. Inspiring.

Thanks, Horst.

Prototyping

Juuuuust prototyping. Don’t get excited. Perfecting a new design can take years of experimentation and testing. Yes they work on the beaches of Long Island, but will they perform on a Carribean beach in exactly the same way? – so the it’s off to Bahamas for more testing. Its exhausting. We dont do it for ourselves – we do it for you. We do it all for you. 

   
   
BillyBeyondEyewear

“We’re not exactly real”