It goes without saying that fashion is one of the most creative and unique ways of self-expression we have today, going back into time, it’s really quite interesting to know where most of today’s trends spring from, some origins are weird, insensitive even and some of them are just downright absurd, like the “Pubic hairs for souvenirs trend of the Victorian era” …. Here’s my list of five funny and absurd fashion facts from way back in time
- First on our list and the most amusing for me is the “High Heels”. Today women use these platforms for a variety of aesthetically pleasing reasons, to add height, give an oomph to a lady’s walk aka elegance and my personal favorite, provide a much-needed lift to the derriere. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that High heels were originally designed by men for men, and not just any men, but the Manliest of them all, Soldiers for Christ sake! High heels were first designed and worn by Persian horseback soldiers sometime around the tenth century, the elongated heels were designed to keep the rider’s foot from slipping out of the stirrup and falling in battle. Due to the elevated presence, it graced its wearers with, other men of high social status caught on to the trend with time and women eventually followed suit.
“Nope, this doesn’t feel weird at all, Onward Patriots!! Onward!!”
Now I know the high heels of that era didn’t look anything like what we have today but for some reason I’m having cringe-worthy visions of our present day Soldiers in dainty little stilettoes.
- Leotards/ Bodysuits was first designed and worn by a man. Well, this is another fashion item that men beat the ladies to, actually a particular man named Jules Leotard. A French acrobatic performer and aerialist from the late 17th century who developed the art of the trapeze designed the leotard for, yes you guessed right, comfort but then also specifically to show off his toned muscles and more targeted areas of “endowments.”
“are you not entertained?…no, not you Sir!”
Apparently, the outfit impressed so many women, that it became a known fact that if you took a lady to watch him perform, you were most probably going back home alone. *somewhere in my head, Kiss Daniel is crooning “no be you I carry come, but na you I go carry go”*.
Not surprising at all, this clever, stylish fella and his smooth ways also inspired the song “The daring man on the flying trapeze” by George Leybourne in which the singer laments about his girl been stolen by the man in question.
“Ladies, ladies, ladies, you’re welcome”
Jules himself was known to call the garment the “maillot”, which is a general French term for tight fitting clothing. It wasn’t called the “Leotard” until 1886, years after his death and from it evolved other styles including what we now know as the “bodysuit”.
Now ladies, you know I’m always on your side but before you go flaunting that stunning bodysuit you just copped from your savings account (P.S You should take a look at “smart money woman” by Arese), remember to give a silent applause to “Mr-Steal-Yo-Girl-In-A-Freaking-Body-con-and-then-assist-in-the-era-of-slayage-to-come-aka-21stCentury ok?”
- Did You know that the bikini was once declared a SIN by the Vatican?
Disclaimer: I honestly don’t mean to aggravate any one or offend religious beliefs,I am merely sharing some fun fashion facts from history ok? Mind-blowing ones if I might add so here goes.
Modern Day bikini was introduced by French engineer Louis Reard around the mid-1940s, borrowing the name for his design from the “Bikini Atoll”, a place where post-war testing on atomic bombs happened, I’m guessing this was inspired by the similar “atomic” effects this two-piece “atrocity” must have caused when initially introduced.
Now let’s take our minds of the question of “what an Engineer in post war times was doing inventing sexy clothing for women” for a while and on to the fact that after its modern debut, these beauties were banned in Belgium, Spain, Italy and Australia and actually declared a sin by the Vatican for obvious reasons of female modesty and some other ambiguous misogynistic ideals. eventually the hype calmed down and with it the tension and frivolous laws surrounding it.
“excuse me ma’am but this is a warrant to measure you for indecent exposure at a freaking beach?”
Please don’t tell the Pope but personally, I think that ban was a sin against all banging “summer bodies” of that era that was deprived their spotlight moments.
- Space suit worn by the “first Man on the moon” was manufactured by a bra manufacturer. Speaking of professionals inventing from way outside their areas of interest, the apollo suits in which Neil Armstrong and his pilot Buzz Idrin landed on the moon with on the 20th of July 1969 incorporated a blend of high end craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. To ensure that this special suit fit the precise measurements, they were crafted with very careful attention to detail by expert seamstresses with each suit costing 100,000usd, which is almost 700,000usd today. One of the challenges experienced was containing the pressure necessary to support life while maintaining enough flexibility to enable the astronauts move about freely, enter our super heroes, Engineers who worked in a division of the company that manufactured ‘Playtex bras and girdles”, and understood the mechanics of rubber garments. They invented a bellows-like joint called a “convolute” that solved the motion problem and enabled the space suits to function properly.
“started as a bra and now we here, aye!”
From saving not-so-perky boobs to not-so-weightless astronauts, I daresay these designers are heroes In their own right, and in Armstrong’s own words, or at least some part of it “its true beauty however, was that it worked” of course he meant the whole suit.. the bra aesthetics bit inclusive.
- Young Victorian men used to Keep locks of their lovers’ pubic hair as souvenirs
Nah fam, I didn’t stutter, pubic hair souvenirs were an actual thing during the 19th century Victorian era. *shivers and place hands protectively over my groin area*. Apparently, it was customary to collect pubic hair of lovers and keep as a memento, and also as a way to keep track of past lovers in case one forgot. whatever happened to recording facts on scrolls et al.
Well for some reason I’m somewhat assured my African Ancestors didn’t play such expensive games, like Sis, what if Emeka wanted to use your destiny to appease Amadioha gaddammit!. *I’m just saying*
“soooo Lady Elizabeth, last night was wonderful, I shall now proceed to store this piece of “pubic follical evidenc”r, ….”for reference? Memory? Imagination? What `Sir John, what?”
Meanwhile if you’re ever in Scotland and this sort of thing interests you to check out, the Museum of St Andre University has a snuff box full of one of King George IV’s mistress’ pubic hair. What a way to imprint your name in the sands of time eh?
I’ll like to take a moment of gratitude for all the bizarre fashion traditions left behind on the way to civilization, my lady parts says thank you too.