Sunday, 10 June 2012

Future Fashions, S.J. Perelman, Pt. 4


some background on the following few quotes: they are from a scenario in which the author reads a vogue magazine (probably circa 1947) which envisions the fashions of the future, AKA the 21st century, AKA now. Interesting to read, and definitely funny both from the perspective of then, and [now.]

" 'These materials,' explains Mr. Teague of his fabrics of the future, 'will be of chemical origin, and many will be either transparent or translucent, with an individual life of their own.' [proliferation of synthetic fibers, anyone?] I hope this last phrase of Mr. Teague's is purely figurative; offhand, the thought of clothes leading an existence independent of their owner is a little on the spooky side. How are you going to remain cool and poised on that future day when you demand hotly of your wife, 'Where in the hell are those pants I threw over the chair last night?' only to get the answer, 'Oh, they went up to Pride's Crossing for the weekend with my girdle. They'll be back Tuesday morning'?"

"They wrap her (the woman of the future) in aluminum foil, woollens interwoven with electric wire, and as yet undiscovered fabrics, to quote . . . 'of microscopic cellular construction made of a contracting and expanding fibre.' What is this awful preoccupation with having your clothes twitch around in a horrid little life of their own? Did I miss something? I have the strange feeling that I have been asleep for twenty years and that everybody is jeering at my unkempt hair and rusty fowling piece." 
woolens interwoven with electric wire
"contracting and expanding fibre."
" ' She may wear in her hair a headlight,' .  . . The least her escort could do under the circumstances is carry an old fashioned stem-winding watch and whistle at the grade crossings."
That last quote predicts raver and steampunk
aesthetic quite nicely, don't you think?

"'These sequins are really . . .traffic reflectors of Lucite, made by the Signal Service Corporation. They are warranted to pick up and reflect the light from an automobile headlight a mile distant,' which certainly ought to prove a boon to the innumerable brides who are members of the united states army signal corps"

sequin belt
"Mr. Dreyfuss provides his miss with a combination electric fan and vanity case, described as follows: 'Nothing coquettish about it, for it will get its current by radio waves through he ether, nad will cool this girl, as well as clip the noses of any unwelcome suitors . . .I do not speak with bitterness, Mr. Dreyfuss, but to clothe a young lady in skin-tight black net and then hand her a gadget for clipping unwelcome suitors' noses is no way to creep into my heart"

Perhaps something like what
Mr. Dreyfuss envisioned 

"Mr. Rohde envisions the man of the twenty-first century in a ski suit. . .whose color can be changed. . .'The gentleman, for example, may start to the office in a rich gun-metal Solo-suit, drab in color, but scintillating with life (there's that same dreadful insistence on the material's moiling and churning"

Not quite what Rohde had envisioned, but UV color
changing t-shirts. 
"On this man's head, Mr. Rohde places an 'Antenna Hat," rather similar in design to the coils of a copper still: 'It snatches the radio and Omega waves out of he ether-here, at last, is man's opportunity to escape from the deadly monotony of the twentieth century male hat' The prospect of having Guy Lombardo playing about your head and ears is enough to stir the pulse of the most apathetic."
Not quite a hat, but the gist is right -- bluetooth
"The feet. . ..are to be encased in nothing more or less than congress gaiters 'with breather pores just large enough for air, but too small for water."

Perelman finishes: 
"For two days now I have been crouching in a corner of this coal bin, enjoying a peace I never thought possible. OF course, the grit gets in your teeth and there is a leak in that pipe overhead, but on the other hand its just a trifle too dark for reading. Why, you couldn't even see your hand before your face, particularly if it were holding a copy of Vogue. And goodness knows, it'll be a long time before its steady enough for that. "

Guess he wouldn't like living now much.

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