Monday, 28 March 2011

Philip V of Spain: Fashion Icon?

King Philip V. of Spain, longest ruling monarch in the modern history of that country. He ruled for forty five  (not uninterrupted) years from the end of the seventeenth century, and through the first half of the eighteenth. But that's not what I want to talk about. No, what I want to talk about is something far more important. That being, his clothes. I mean, look at him--this man is sex in black velvet. (I'm serious, he had something like twelve kids).

My big question today is, why don't men dress like this anymore? This look has gone the way of the codpiece or the cravat --sadly vanished from the realm of men's fashion. Let me outline for you some of the better points of this ensemble, and why we should bring them back:

1. The powdered wig: the eighteenth century's answer to male pattern baldness. Who wouldn't want a man with long, lush locks? The big haired look was brought back to life in the late seventies and the eighties for men, but has since fallen once again out of fashion. Why? Are men simply too lazy to maintain this kind of hair, whether its in a wig or home grown? I think so.

However, bringing back the powdered wig makes good economic sense. One of the biggest problems facing the world today is a burgeoning and impoverished population. Hair is cheap to grow, and easy to harvest. Think of all the starving millions in the third world who could be fed by selling their hair to a booming and wealthy western market.

2. The high square collar: The perfect way to show off the face and hair. Also can double as part of a "disembodied head" halloween costume, as well as provide extra neck support for the wearer.

3. Velvet doublet with cuffed sleeves: As members of modern goth culture know, there are few things more attractive than black velvet. It is soft, rich, and cuddly--not to mention warm, something which I am sure was of great importance to Philip V in Spain. The looseness of the sleeves allow for freedom of movement, while the cuff keeps it in place, preventing accidents with soup or ink pots.  I can see this top being effective evening wear for the modern man -- the very texture of the velvet proving alluring to the opposite sex, while still maintaining much of the sensibility of a dress shirt.

4. The heavy cloak: also highly useful for the Spanish climate. There are an infinite number of things one could do with this piece, were it to be worn as a regular part of the male wardrobe in the twenty first century. Late night at the office? (Or even better, an affair with your secretary?) Who needs a bed? A flick of the wrist, and you have all the comfort of a bear skin rug laid out at your feet. Terrorists on your commuter flight? Not to worry! You have your very own parachute. The end of civilization as we know it? I'd rather have a cloak than a coat, wouldn't you?

5. The ever-so-sexy knee length trousers and stockings: Hubba hubba!  This look allows for those strong, muscular calves to be shown off, while still allowing plenty of room for the boys. Unlike mere shorts, this could be worn in almost any weather, allowing for a year-round display of one of a man's greatest assets: his legs.

6. Dainty shoes: Only insecure men and construction workers need big clunking shoes and boots to cover their feet. Real men, like Philip V, feel secure in something softer and lighter, that allows them to be both nimble and stylish: a real catch at any modern night club, I'm sure.

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