Christy Minstrel (scarf fan, aficionado and stylist) encourages scarf lovers and others to visit the source of so many silky squares – “Vera Paints A Scarf” at The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC and yes, there will be ladybugs.
Click the pics to read all about it and get tickets.
STYLE NOTE: A scarf, with sunglasses and lipstick can constitute a satisfying and time saving Full Drag.
After a long absence from blogging.. (maybe that’s a good thing for you dear readers?)…. I’m back with my usual musings, random rambling thoughts, and (derailed) train-of-thought, objectless observations.
Let’s consider the state of modern advertising.
We are constantly bombarded with ads everywhere; from television, radio, Facebook, Instagram and a plethora of other media platforms. Hey, I get it, they all gotta make a buck. (who doesn’t?). My issue is with the way that they advertise. The current template for ads is dull, dull, dull. It’s formulaic stuff with crap about “families” which prominently feature smart-ass, precocious children, and dim witted adults (à la the Disney Channel). Everything is all about portraying inclusivity, and unchallenging normality. It’s all very safe and there is a presiding feeling of sameness. As for the music? Gone are the days of catchy little jingles. Those have been replaced by background music; a mix of uninteresting mainstream pop pablum.
Music is viewed by advertising agencies as an important “background feature” in advertising because of its wide use and ability to enhance viewer “arousal and affect”. Say what? I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine who (if anyone) is being “aroused” by the pedestrian choices of mainstream music paired up with various products. Evidently, the prevailing theory of the huge global advertising/marketing agencies is:
“The value of articulating popular music to a product is seen as very important; especially to advertisers competing with products similar, if not identical, in use-value”.
……blah, blah, blah. Tell me how linking McDonalds Mighty Wings with the song “Lip Read” in a television commercial is selling more chicken? The annoyance of these kinds of songs is now making me annoyed with the products in the ads that feature those irritating interchangeable tracks. If you’re not old enough to remember the golden age of advertising (and chances are that you’re not) you have no idea just how FUN it was. No. Seriously.
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.”
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
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.
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.