Monday, January 23, 2006

What To Bring To Hell?

This does not represent a hound of hell, but is a Persian Great Dane with a black coat. While undeniably handsome and functional, it is not what I meant when I told Google "black great coat". Read on.

I understand the essence of what Shangri Law was getting at with the question for the 3rd Carnival of the Couture: what are the critical items you'd need should you find yourself stranded at a lifelong party on La Isla Superfantástica? However, the thought of a lifelong party on a tropical island gave me such a headache that I couldn't raise myself from the settee to post until now.

Half of my joy in parties is the post-mortem on the ride home, or during the search for pre-dawn infusions of theraputic grease. It is here, in the comparing of notes and anecdotes that the ultimate value and ranking of the party is judged and confirmed. In the scenario above, where there is no chance to withdraw for idle defamation and speculation, no way to ditch the too-chemically-altered and too-boring without daring shark-infested seas, this blogger perceives a horror more akin to Dante's Inferno than paradise.

But that, of course, was not the point of Las Dulcinea, Retrosessuale, and Zapatotista. It is my defective, trifling nature to be so distracted by such considerations. Onto the fashion question. Being of an epidermal extraction antagonistic to sunshine and a personal temperament inclined to swelter without any external assistance, medical-grade sunscreen, sunglasses, and a shady place to drowse between dawn and sunset would be crucial. However, even these aren't necessarily elements of Fashion, merely Survival. And which two agendas could be in greater opposition?

With that in mind, I give you what seems like a contrarian choice for this locale, but is in fact the ultimate item of partygoing fabulousness: the black greatcoat.

It must have enough sweep to carve dramatic entrances and exits with the inky eloquence of a master calligrapher's brushstroke. Such capacity will also allow for inner concealment of better-grade liquor, long-barrel weaponry, pooch packs, or whatever else you wish. The fit of the collar and shoulders must be perfect, balanced from front to back by tailoring or ornamentation, thereby distributing the weight of even heavy material such that it prevents the ugliness of slippage and also fatigue to the wearer. The material and workmanship must, of course, be of impeccable quality and in harmony with the style. This is eternity after all, and precociousness will pall before beauty.

Whether the black sable of a Czarina, the matte clericalism of Neo's Matrix frock, the boiled woolen cloak of druid, or a leather trench evocative of the Weimar Republic, each choice is a uniform, an armor, a calling card of style and personality. A black greatcoat also has terrific sex appeal, its opening is an invitation to intimacy, and the garments beneath it are either enhanced or made optional by contrast and mood.

As for functionality, you can roll it up to use as a lumbar pillow, cozy under it during chilly evenings or visits to the wine cellar, lay upon it on a sandy beach, cower under it in the shadows to find much-needed solitude, and even use it to smother, bind, or gag annoying fellow travelers. With a good shaking and airing, none of this will impair the excellent line and fit of a top-quality garment. Furthermore, such substantial materials resist damage by and protect wearers from assaults with cheese spreaders and shards of crystal, and the deep color camoflages the stains of spilled blood and thrown liquor that must inevitably result from such contempt-inducing familarity.

Surely, there has never been such a miracle of fashion and function, so universal and yet so expressive as the black greatcoat. If I am doomed to an inescapable eternity with the kind of people who think an endless, tropical party sounds like a wonderful idea, let this item alone be my everpresent companion.

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